Democratic transition is a process, an open end process, the previous experiences of countries that passed by democratization showed the different outcomes of this process; some countries passed by it without any hurdles like Poland and Germany, while others failed in consolidating, these countries went through second phases of social struggle in a trial to correct the mal practices. The colored revolutions countries provide a good example of the latter group.
This chapter has twofold objective; to give brief narrative about each of these revolutions and to discuss its main drivers of change. Since we are discussing the idea of the late phase of a wave; these revolutions occurred 10 years after the first transitions; this wave had its peak on the early 1990s, some countries democratized, while others, after taking some steps on the democratization path, were only able to change from authoritarian to hybrid regimes, they started enjoying more democratic features than before, yet they faced some problems, concurrent with the rise of new actors, all led to the eruption of popular movements starting in 2000.
These countries suffered from internal conditions and external pressures that led to unrest and later revolutions; the political culture and relations with the other countries played a major role in these revolutions as well. In this light, the following shall find out the reasons behind the eruption of these highly acknowledged socio-political movements through analyzing its dynamics and destinies.
I. Mapping the Colored Revolutions
An insight into the Colored Revolutions show that these countries shared some common features that influenced the diffusion process; starting with the geographic proximity which played a major role in creating the domino effect. They shared common historical experience of being part of the Soviet Union and they were newly formed after its collapse, they were expecting to have peace and prosperity as the leaders who took over promised development and democracy. However, they remained unstable, corrupt and ill governed. The police service was marred with corruption cases and thus lost the trust of many citizens. Additionally, the regimes were unable to sustain the economic needs of the civilians which led to recessions and increasing poverty as most citizens were unable to have the basic needs.
Moreover, all of these revolutions were motivated by the existence of an electoral fraud which resulted in a common mode of transition. Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrgyzstan (2005) faced the same predicaments before they ended up with upheavals and unrests; the following briefly analyze each of these cases through providing a historical background, the reasons behind naming them, the course of the events and finally the main drivers of change.
1. Serbia’s Bulldozer Revolution (2000)
October 5, 2000 marks the Bulldozer Revolution that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic from power, this revolution credited with opening the door to other democratic revolutions in the former Soviet republics. Academically it is usually considered the first colored revolution providing the role model for the succeeding ones.
The nationwide protests did not adopt a color or a specific symbol; however, the slogan “Gotov je” (in English: He is finished) did become an aftermath symbol celebrating the completion of the task. It was dubbed “Bulldozer Revolution” as during the day long protests a bulldozer operator fired up its engine and was used to charge the RTS – Radio Television Serbia- building, which had for a decade been a symbol and bastion of Milosevic\’s role.
Serbia witnessed a long history of war and territory changes till its formulation as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia including Serbia and Montenegro on 28 April 1992. Milosevic was Serbia\’s strong brutal man, he governed Serbia from his position as Chairman of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia until 8 May 1989 when he assumed the Presidency of Serbia, he presided over four wars in as little as ten years, including one against the NATO alliance which isolated Serbia internationally.
Furthermore, the internal conditions warned of the revolution, as the country faced a backdrop of national problems experienced during the iron-hand regime of Milosevic who had, through a series of corrupt decisions, maintained power while driving the country into poverty. An essential element of his grasp on power was his control of the Serbian police, a heavily armed force of some 100,000 that was responsible for internal security and which committed serious human rights abuses.
At the time of the revolution, the country was experiencing hyperinflation and an unemployment rate of 40 percent. In addition, the country destabilized from past blood bathed civil wars during the dissolution of the Social Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. There was an extended shortage of goods and services in the nation, the prices of whatever goods and services, which were available, had sky rocketed to unaffordable rates which generated a crisis in the country.
In the wake of the social and political instability Milosevic announced a presidential election in September 2000, leaving only eight weeks for the nation to prepare itself for it. This decision not only sparked intense emotions from the people but it also catapulted them to call for change. By declaring “quick” elections, the ruling government aimed to discourage voters\’ participation hence making way for the government to steal the election. This coupled with Serbia’s volatile social, economic, and political conditions, thus set the precedent for the Bulldozer Revolution to take place.
The events of the revolution started in September 24th with Presidential, local and parliamentary elections for both chambers of the parliament. Milosevic banned international observers from monitoring the elections. On the 25th the DOS – Democratic Opposition Party- opposition coalition – claimed victory in almost all towns in Serbia. Kostunica, the coalition candidate, claimed nearly 2.5million, about 55 percent, putting Milosevic on 1.8 million. Yet Milosevic rejected these results and the regime-controlled Federal Electoral Committee claimed that no candidate had won over 50 percent of the votes and called for a second ballot between Milosevic and Kostunica. This led to mass demonstrations led by Otpor , who had a major role in the eruption and continuity of the protests, starting with the electoral campaigns planning, mass mobilization, use of peaceful tactics and struggle to unite opposition political parties. The peaceful demonstrations broke out with protests ranging from school students walkouts to strikes demanding Milosevic step down.
The protests escalated when Kolubara coal mine, once loyal to Milosevic, went on strike. Their action had potentially huge political and economic impacts and the government entered into fruitless talks with them in an attempt to resolve the issue. This was backed with general strike all over the country. The transportation was blocked, masses went to the streets and their numbers were increasing. The corrupt system was backing Milosevic as Yugoslavia\’s constitutional court cancelled the election results stating that it was held prematurely, Milosevic should serve out his last year in office and call for new elections in 2001.
The situation was heated when the police attacked the Kolubara coal mine, such violence led to more cramming, the protesters burst through police lines and forced them to retreat. Kostunica was welcomed as a hero by the Kolubara strikers. Afterwards, Kostunica stood at the balcony of City hall in Belgrade and addressed the public calling for Milosevic’s resignation. The Revolution ended with Milosevic’s resignation on October 6. Kostunica officially took over power with his ally Zoran Djidjinc as the Prime Minister.
The revolution in Serbia is said to be successful as far as they achieved regime change. Whether the “new leadership” lived up to its ideals is debatable. However differently one may look at the aftermath of the Revolution, it is evident that at least one good thing emerged, in the form of the leadership of Zoran Djidjinc. Charismatic, pragmatic, transformative, and liberal are just some of the words that were used to describe the late Prime Minister of Serbia. To some, the Revolution was successful, while to others, the revolution was successful only for its success to be impeded by the assassination of the Prime Minister. Overall, The Bulldozer Revolution was the epitome of colored revolutions in the world.
2. Georgia’s Rose Revolution (2003)
The Serbian revolution was followed by the 2003 Rose Revolution, its most noticeable feature is the ability of the protestors to keep its peaceful nature, there was no bloodshed, also it was relatively short in time, it spanned only for twenty one days. It was dubbed the Rose Revolution as the protestors were holding roses in their confrontation with the police as a sign of peacefulness.
Georgia shared the same historical experience as Serbia; it was formed after the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. Since then the country faced a lot of instability, the secession left Georgia with a rambling regime, vigorous opposition, interference from some external forces as well as a quest for change from the people.
Georgia was taken over by Eduard Shevardnadze in the spring of 1991. Coming from a rather closed and totalitarian regime, the president promised better governance, democracy and a free market economy. If a country is to develop, there has to be a direct link between social democracy and economic affairs. In this light, the people of Georgia saw a better future for their country. However, it only witnessed a little change.
President Shevardnadze role was very influential in separating Georgia from the Russian attaches. In his tenure he was able to develop Georgia’s social and economic sectors, he placed Georgia in the international platform where the country joined the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the Council of Europe. Democracy and civil society were also enhanced during his presidency, However, the prolonged term in presidency became a hindrance; he was unable to lead progressively as well.
By 2001, the economy of Georgia was deteriorating; water, electricity and infrastructural programs faced slow growth with many cases of impropriety and corruption being recorded, cases of nepotism were high as the president’s family fought to control the economy, there was no reform in the education or justice sectors as well. This halted many economic activities and the citizens started suffering. There was rampant corruption leading to disillusionment of the citizens who were eager for a better life and economic emancipation. The police were incompetent and involved in criminal activities, the media reported cases the police were directly involved in kidnappings along with the lack of any necessary equipment to combat the rising crime. in addition to the incompetence of the army that could not be used in times of war due to poor training. Given this, the civilians lost faith in Shevardnadze progressive leadership and a revolution against him was inevitable.
In the same time, the opposition was getting stronger; there was persistence from Kamra- a newly formed youth group – similar to Otpor- who wanted a change in leadership as well as socioeconomic reforms. The strong opposition, especially Mikheil Saakshvili who was a trained lawyer played a major role in the fight for reform in Georgia, the church, civil rights movements and foreign governments were also instrumental in accelerating the Rose Revolution.
By 2003, the situation in the country was so heated; Shevardnadze\’s popularity was fading, and his re-election was no longer as guaranteed as it had been in 2000. In order to keep him in power his supporters rigged the November 2 election, which was filled with ballot stuffing, bad voter lists, late poll openings, multiple voting among other irregularities. Shevardnadze has been leading in the polls despite the lack of popularity, while his competitor Saakashvili was railing with 18.92 percent; this was not consistent with an exit poll conducted by an NGO and a parallel vote conducted by the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy which led the opposition to protest in front of the parliament building for nine days. The government responded by warning that the opposition victory is threatening the stability of the country.
After more than two weeks of vote counting, it was decided by the Central Election Commission that President Shevardnadze along with his counterpart Abashidze of the Revival party had won the election. The disputed results led people to Tbilisi – the capital – headed by the youth leader Giorgi Kandelaki who was also in charge of the students body Kmara. Demonstrations were staged in the city council as well as at the parliament buildings. The protestors cited electoral malpractices by the Georgian Central Elections Committee. By 20 November, the number of anti-government protestors had gone up to 100,000 and the number had significantly grown by the time parliament was being opened. The opposition leader led a crowd of protestors into the chambers where the president was seating. on the 22nd Shevardnadze tried to seat the new parliament, the opposition tried to win the Speaker of Parliament position thus they disrupted the seating so as to gain more time, that day Shevardnadze left the parliament for security reasons and that was streamed on the Television which indicated his weakness and lack of legitimacy.
Simultaneously with the mass protests, the opposition leaders decided to form a coalition which was supported by the civilians and the West. On the other hand, president Shevardnadze received calls from Putin in order to have a clear understanding of what was going on, this pushed him to converse with the leader of the opposition in order to reach a political solution. However, the opposition coalition, Mikheil Saakshvili, Nino Burhanadze and Zurab Zhvania , reached no deal, instead, they gave the president an option to declare the elections fraud and demand for a fresh election or to resign from power immediately. However, Shevardnadze dismissed their quest. The opposition was uniting; the protests were getting more support and more masses while Shevardnadze was losing his allies.
On November 23, Burjanadze and Saakashvili entered Shevardnadze’s office and came out a little while later with his resignation ending the revolution. Burjanadze, being speaker of parliament, became the acting president, and the elections were held the following January, Mikheil Saakashvili was elected president.
By stepping down, it was clear that the opposition won the battle against Shevardnadze. However, problems for Georgia were still many; another revolution took place in Adjara. Aslan Abashidze was pro Russia and he did not recognize Tbilisi. He was removed and another person who was pro government was elected to his position as Aslan fled to Moscow. Moreover, the country experienced instability even after the ouster of the president and consequent assent to power by Saakashvili.
Saakashvili managed to bring a ray of hope in Georgia after Shevardnadze failure to unite the country. Saakashvili alternatively was young and radical. Although he was blamed for his radical nature, he was able to propel the economy of the country and put an end to corruption in the police and other national institutions.
3. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2004)
The wave continued to comprise Ukraine, sharing the same historical experience with the previous models, Ukraine gained its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and it adopted a “competitive authoritarian regime” allowing for a democracy and market economy, thus, people wanted more freedoms. During this time Ukrainians were impatient while waiting for economic and political transformation.
Ukraine was ruled by president Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, who ruled since 1994, he was said to be involved in many unethical acts and crimes. Among them was the prominent Cassette Scandal of 2000 that ruined his image irreparably and undermined his legitimacy. Prior to it was his involvement in the murder of an opposition journalist named Georgiy Gongadze, the rumors suggested that the President had ordered the killing, though, there was no direct accusation. This murder sparked a movement against Kuchma in 2000 that can be seen as the origin of the Orange Revolution in 2004, The revolution was dubbed the Orange Revolution owing to the color, Orange, that was adopted by the Yushchenko\’s camp as the signifying color of his electoral campaign.
Kuchma\’s system was favoring the businessmen, their wealth and power were increasing, they were called oligarchies as they were exploiting the resources of the country and had a say in politics as well. This was under the supervision of the local government officials who were not elected but appointed by the president, thus, allowed oligarchic groups to create local enclaves headed by their allies. Hence, the people were suffering from corruption and inequality. Furthermore, the regime\’s crimes and Kuchma\’s scandals came to light which made the regime lose its supporters.
In the same time, the opposition was getting stronger, in 2002 with the heated situation in the country, the opposition formed an alliance, later in July 2nd, 2004 “Our Ukraine Party” and “Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc” established the “Force of the People”, a coalition which aimed to stop the destructive process that has, as a result of the incumbent authorities, become a characteristic for Ukraine. The opposition wanted to secure the electoral process from the regime\’s corruption, they were supported by Pora, similar to the previous models; Pora emerged as a youth social movement aiming at changing the regime in a peaceful manner and had their share in uniting the opposition and mobilizing the masses. Pora activists were arrested in October 2004, but the release of many, on what was reported President Kuchma\’s personal order, gave growing confidence to the opposition.
The people favored Viktor Yuschenko, he was a charismatic leader who showed no signs of corruption, he started to have a prominent role in the revolution, especially as he was supported by the youth, the winning card in Ukraine at that time. This new wave of younger people had different views of the main figures in Ukraine; also they had the mobilization power.
Corresponding to the previous models, electoral fraud was the sign of the revolution’s commencement; the election was held in a highly charged atmosphere, with the Yanukovych team and the outgoing president\’s administration using their control of the government and state apparatus for intimidation of Yushchenko and his supporters. Kuchma\’s regime continued its crimes by poisoning Yushchenko , Such act increased the support for Yushchenko.
Both candidates garnered 41 percent each in the preliminary elections. However, the elections in November 21st declared Yonukovych winner with 49.46 percent over Yuschenko’s 46.6 percent. The results were disputed by the opposition, which cited cases of massive vote rigging and intimidation of voters. The opposition called for Supreme Court to annul the election. Henceforth, it was the first eruption of protests.
Rhythmic chants spread through the protests that occupied Kiev\’s Independence Square on the evening of November 22. “Together, we are many! We cannot be defeated!” Such chants signaled the rise of a powerful civic movement, a unified opposition, and a courageous middle class that had come together to stop the electoral fraud.
Over the next days the protests were getting more support and people were joining from all over the country, this was reinforced by the media that streamed the protests. It was gaining the international support given the image of its corrupt rulers, the revolution ended by the victory of the opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko\’s.
The Orange Revolution was unique as it was fueled by the minimal but strong political tensions. Kuchma\’s governance was enough motivation for people to desire a regime change. The opposition unity and the youth network contributed significantly to the occurrence of the Orange Revolution. The success of the Revolution is however questionable since Yuschenko\’s government proved to be a total failure. The consequent government of Yanukovich was a worse failure.
4. Kyrgyzstan’s Tulip Revolution (2005)
The 2005 Tulip revolution in Kyrgyzstan marked the last revolution in the brief era of the Colored Revolutions. This model was slightly different than the previous in experiencing some violence and being relatively fragmented than the others. The revolution took place from the 27th of February till the 11th of April 2005.
Similar to the preceding models Kyrgyzstan shared the same historical experience of being a part of the Soviet Union, it was said to be the most liberal country in Central Asia, yet the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the country turbulent and unready for independence.
Askar Akaev has been in precedency even before the country\’s independence. He was elected the president of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Kirgizia in 1990, after the independence in 1991, 1995 and 2000 he was also elected the president. People started complaining from the increasing corruption and authoritarianism, the electoral fraud led to the eruption of the revolution on 2005. It was dubbed the Tulip revolution as it symbolizes the flower that blossom in the spring; it was a metaphor for the beginning of a new era and a symbol of peaceful movement.
Kyrgyzstan was an epitome of peace and democracy; at least that what spectators thought, however, the Tulip Revolution was a time bomb that took too long to explode. Although Akeav started as a progressive liberal, his attempts at balancing the world powers put him in compromising position. His volatile political games coupled with domestic problems such as the pockets of violence in the South, a slowed down economy and allegations of North dominance which created tension in the country. Concurrently with being in power for long time, Akaev resulted to tyranny and nepotism, this trend of a governance did not augur well with the public. The result of which was massive tension precluding the presidential elections of 2005.
People in Kyrgyzstan were suffering from deteriorating economic and socio-political condition, that was topped with Akaev\’s intension to run for presidency for the fourth time, although this was unconstitutional, the protests started even before the elections day, however, on February 27th after the elections fraudulent results that were inconclusive, opposition groups—mainly led by the People’s Movement of Kyrgyzstan (PMK)—had issued statements and begun protests in many regions outside of the capital, Bishkek, calling for the cancelation of the elections and the resignation of Akaev.
The protests were increasing as the government used violence; they were arresting people, prohibiting gatherings and suppressing the independent media. Violence was faced by more violence, Kyrgyz nationals abroad started protesting in front of Kyrgyzstan\’s embassy in solidarity with the protests at their home town. Hence, they were increasing the international awareness and empathy with the revolution.
On March 13th, when the runoff results came out, the coalition called “For Democracy and Civil Society” reported inconsistencies and electoral violations, thus, the opposition members were relegated. There was no instant reaction to the results and Akaev even claimed on March 16 that, after studying carefully the Orange and Rose revolutions, he had developed an anti-virus to counter the colored revolution disease that was plaguing the post-Soviet space. His claims were premature and they increased the discontent in the country. Such statements made him lose some of his supporters, and increased the fierce of the opposition that controlled most of the country. They were, again, faced by violence, which led to the peak of the protests that spread everywhere across the country. The protesters in Bishkek also occupied the Kyrgyz White House, even as armed troops were beginning to crackdown on March 24 demonstrations, around the same time, popular opposition leader Felix Kulov was released from jail. On March 25th Akeav and his family fled to Moscow and officially resigned the opposition collation People’s Movement of Kyrgyzstan (PMK ) took responsibility of the transition period.
Just like other revolutions, one can conclude that the Tulip Revolution was a success only as far as regime change was concerned. Unfortunately, the change in regime did not improve things for the people. Instead, they only managed to replace one tyrant with another.
From the previous analysis we can infer that there are five common steps that were undertook by all these revolutions, following this mechanism is not only essential for the inauguration of a revolution, but also in its diffusion, these procedures are;
1. Formation of an organized protest movement;
Mostly tend to recruit youth as they are extremely mobile and easily entrained with different bright appeals and slogans.
2. Building a protesters network;
This network emerges from the underground to the streets of major cities at the same time and on cue with the emerging incident.
3. Creating an incident;
Such incident can be any event, shocking society and getting a powerful public outcry.
4. Crafting a scheme of the revolution
This is to help in the mobilization process, the more attractive and creative the scheme is the more political crowd. In these conditions, the mind controlling technologies affect the crowd, introducing new values, imperatives, and reprogramming a person.
5. Raising crucial requirements
On behalf of the crowd, crucial requirements come to those in power using the power of masses, usually this leads to regime change.
In all the cases of the Colored Revolution the same mechanism was applied and it proved to be successful. Furthermore, these same mechanisms were used in the democratic diffusion that was witnessed in later cases as will be shown in our analysis to the Egyptian Revolution. The following will shed light on the main driving forces of these revolutions.
II. Driving Forces
As shown previously, the colored revolutions share a lot of common features; most of the literature tackling this phenomenon provided a single case study or large-N comparisons of global democratic revolutions. As this chapter provides an in depth case-centered comparative analysis it focuses on the detailed scrutiny to these common characteristic in a trial to emphasis how the diffusion occurred among them.
Noting that most of the literatures were highly-electorally focused which is not expanded upon in explaining the diffusion, less emphasis was drawn on the social, cultural and historical factors which explain variation. Scholars like Wolchik and Bunce, Kalandadze and Orenstein proposed comparative detailed case centered analysis, however the main focus was on the domestic factors, particularly, the role of elites while indirectly, but effectively, downplaying the roles of less obvious actors: opposition party influences, the pivotal role of the youth social movements, the extent of involvement among civic and nongovernmental interest groups including the size, support and demographics of actively protesting segments in the given societies, last but not least, the development in the mass communication and its effect on the flow of information which play a major role in formulating the cognition and awareness of masses.
In focusing on only one of these perspectives the linkage between the domestic and external factors were relatively ignored and the original imputes of diffusion were marginalized. The following, on the other hand, sheds light on these factors in one comparative context in a trial to fill the lapse in the previous literatures and to comprise the actors and events that have been obscured during previous analyses
The most notable common characteristic of the Colored Revolutions they are all centered on protest against electoral fraud and involved massive popular mobilization on the part of the opposition in alliance with international forces. These protests were pledged, organized and implemented by youth social movements. The nature of these movements, its birth and dispersion in identical patterns is highly questionable; however, it is patent that these movements were the main instrument of change in all the models, the recipe is always the same, students and youth movements lead the way with fresh faces, attracting others to join them.
a. Otpor Movement
“Otpor – in English-Resistance” was formed in October 1998, by the student veterans of the 1996 protests it was a non-violent opposition group that use only peaceful methods of resistance. During the Bulldozer Revolution it was made clear by one leader of the group, Srdja Popovic, that Otpor had one main goal: to remove Milosevic from power peacefully. Their secondary objectives included free and fair elections, free university, free and independent media.
In February 2000, after the NATO launched a bombing campaign, Otpor held its founding congress, eighty chapters from across the country participated, at this meeting, participants decided on a three-phase plan to overthrow Milosevic: they wanted to bring about early presidential elections, win these elections by calling huge numbers of people to the polls and then change the political system with the momentum of a new political climate. The government attempted repression through censorship, arrests, and violence. Secret police raided Studio B and B-92 Radio, two independent media stations, and took over their programs .
In June 2000, Milosevic passed a law that would allow him to run for another term as president, later in July he moved the election date forward to September 24th , hoping to be reelected before the opposition could gather a unified political campaign against him. Otpor leaders knew that a large voting population would reduce the chances of fraud in the election, thus they started motivating the people to participate. In the same time they met with groups of police and agreed that ally police forces would obey orders, but not execute them against protesters.
The group was able to bring together opposition parties and mobilize the people against the tyranny rule of Milosevic. The group became famous because the opposition parties realized how good it was and so wanted their own youths to infiltrate the organization and help one of the opposition groups in gaining control of the youth group. This made Otpor very famous and its unified message made it even more attractive.
Initially after the overthrow, the youth social movement envisioned its role to be a political ombudsman organization in Serbia. It launched campaigns to hold the new government accountable, pressing for democratic reforms and fighting corruption, as well as insisting on cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY). Otpor went through three different transformations where it was just a civic protest group at first then it became a movement against the Serbian authorities’ policies and finally it became a political party, but soon collapsed after it was unsuccessful in getting into parliament in 2003 elections eventually they merged to be part of the Democratic Party (DS) .
In 2002, some of Otpor members founded the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). This NGO disseminated the lessons learned from their successful nonviolent struggle through scores of trainings and workshops for pro-democracy activists, its efforts were targeted to teach youth from all over the world how to motivate voters, organize movements as well as develop popular actions.
Otpor was the most prominent movement in the Colored Revolutions, not only because they initiated this revolutionary wave and were able to overthrow Milosevic, but also because they spread the non-violent tactics and strategies. Otpor became the role model for the succeeding movements; its members were instrumental in inspiring and providing hands-on training to several other civic youth organizations in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
b. Kmara Movement
The emulative nature of these revolutions is vivid in the multinational linkages that they are connected with. This is apparent in the effect of CANVAS on the succeeding models. The civil society activists from Georgia established links with Otpor, this was exactly six months prior to the Rose Revolution. It took place when they visited Belgrade while on a trip that was financed by the George Soros Foundation. In few days after their return, they had already formed their own Otpor version known as Kmara which meant ‘enough’, comprised of 20 students who were activists but eventually increased to a membership of 3000 individual forming a robust movement.
Otpor didn’t cut its interactions with Kmara, they continued during the period preceding the Rose Revolution. During this period they enlightened them with the non-violent techniques of protesting and resistance; at then, they were perceived as a huge source of inspiration. Kmara together with various other important groups received financial help from the National Democratic Institute.
As a students\’ body, the scale of Kmaras\’ actions were increasingly growing, On April 14, 2003, they made their first major appearance, staging a march of some 200 students from the Tbilisi State University to the State Chancellery, chanting their slogan “kmara” and demanding resignation of the “corrupt government” and President Shevardnadze. Since then, Kmara organized several anti-government actions, drawing criticism from Shevardnadze\’s allies. They were faced by the police forces who tried to separate their protests several times; however, they were well trained on dealing with such situations using their peaceful tactics. Kmara remained at the forefront of the mass rallies following the November 2003 parliamentary election, which was criticized by the opposition, NGOs and international observers. Their well organized and highly mobilized demonstrations led to Shevradnadze resignation.
The Activity of Kmara\’s members didn\’t stop at this stage, in 2005; they worked with their counterparts in Belarus. They were teaching them the tactics of peaceful resistance, two members of Kmara were arrested; yet, Amnesty International condemned the arrest and said that it considers them be prisoners of conscience.
c. Pora Movement
The same scenario repeated In Ukraine, where the youth social movement, Pora means “it\’s time” played a significant role in inaugurating the Orange revolution. Pora was crafted to emulate both the Serbian and Georgian movements. They were able to develop their own course of action in 2004, owing to the influence of Otpor and Kmara, it is evident that 14 of Pora leaders underwent training in CANVAS. Otpor then proceeded to Ukraine to provide hands-on experience to them on how to carry out an efficient protest campaign. Owing to this, there was an observable presence of the Georgian and Serb subjects in Kyiv. Every revolution drew an example from a previous one that might have inspired its participants. These movements also enhanced the rash of emulative deeds. However, all these movements had their own intent, at this particular period, each of these movements had its basis on the local resources and local initiative.
Pora supported the opposition incumbent Viktor Yushchenko in the protests following the disputed 2004 presidential election. All in all, the efforts of these students assisted the country to gain democracy and freedom of speech in the societies. Not surprisingly, this has aroused the anger of the Ukrainian authorities and Pora activists have often been harassed and arrested. generally Pora was seen as being on the radical wing of the reform movement, and they were among the most important causes of the revolution.
d. Kelkel Movement
Similar to Otpor in Serbia, Kmara in Georgia and Pora in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan witnessed the rise of a youth movement, KelKel (Kyrgyz: “Renaissance” or “re-birth”), it was mainly a body of students, anti-government and calling for peaceful change. Unlike the other models, KelKel didn\’t have a major role in the Tulip revolution. Though they followed the path of the previous models, KelKel was mobilizing people; they were majorly involved in the protests as they joined in various protests around the country. The vigor of the youthful demonstrations motivated the other protestors to proceed to the next level of revolutions. They stormed the president’s residence and captured the national television station.
KelKel started their efforts even before the elections when they were fighting Akeav\’s corruption, they continued to play a major role in mobilizing and organizing the protests. Following the path of the previous movements, their activities went as far as mobilizing students and organizing the protests of “pacific resistance” in the streets, publishing and distributing leaflets, informing students on electoral violations and ongoing events. Correspondingly they were working on unifying the opposition.
In an attempt to create confusion, a rival group was formed, presumably by supporters of President Akeav. This group was also called KelKel and used the same yellow logo as the original group. The rival KelKel disappeared after the revolution of 24 March, 2005. At present, KelKel is a registered youth organization – “KelKel: civil youth movement” – that aims to be an active but non-partisan part of civil society, a participant in public debate and strategic discussions.
Based on the previous cases, it’s evident that the youth social movements were the main motivator of the protests. Owing to their efforts the opposition was able to unit and act as a strong body supported by a wide segment of youth. They were also able to spread the protest movements across different regions to gain more weight and recognition. Their passionate persistence and their fight to gain more liberty made them gain the international support which increased the probabilities of the revolutions success. In conjunction with the supremacy of the role of youth appears the role of mass mobilization and collective action as a very influential element in these revolutions as discussed below.