Fading Colours? A Synthetic Comparative Case Study of the Impact of 'Colour Revolutions'
44 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 2 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
The “colour revolutions” sparked a wave of optimistic commentaries about democratization in semi-authoritarian states. Today, however, there is considerable debate over whether these “revolutions” produced real reform and what lessons can be drawn for future democratization efforts. We utilize a synthetic control method of comparative case studies to evaluate political and institutional changes following “colour revolutions.” The results show divergent patterns of reform. Serbia experienced the most thorough changes in democratization and control of corruption. Ukraine's revolt increased democratic freedoms, but failed to control corruption. Georgia's protests marginally improved the control of corruption, but did little to improve the political system. Kyrgyzstan appears to have become worse as a result of its revolution. The synthetic comparisons suggest that these divergent outcomes are largely due to influences present well in advance of political upheaval. These findings shed critical light on the sources of cyclical political change in semi-authoritarian countries and the effect of domestic structural factors on democracy promotion.
Keywords: democratization, color revolutions, post-Communist politics, synthetic comparison, comparative case studies
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