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Introduction to Transitions to Democracy Unit.doc - Education


									                Foreign Affairs Training:
              Transitions to Democracy Unit
                           Table of Contents
I. Introduction to Democratization
            Definition of Democratization pg.3

            Pre-Conditions Necessary for Successful Democratization pg.3

            Patterns of Regime Change and Types of Transitions pg.6

            How Democratic Breakthroughs Happen pg.6
II. The Three Waves of Democratization
            Introduction to the Three Waves of Democratization pg.9

            Timeline of the Third Wave and Related Events pg.12

            Causes of the Third Wave of Democratization pg.16

            Research Assignment: Democratization Case Studies pg.20
III. Democratization through Top-Down and Negotiated Transitions
            Steps in the Transition Process pg.21

            Case Study 1: Spanish Transition to Democracy – Example of a
             Top-Down Transition pg.22

            Case Study 2: Poland - Example of a Negotiated Transition pg.25

            Case Study 3: South Africa - Example of a Negotiated Transition
IV. Democratization through Elections: The Colored Revolutions
            Introduction to the Colored Revolutions pg.37

            Timeline of the Colored Revolutions pg.39

            Key Elements of Change in the Colored Revolutions pg.40

            Lessons Learned from the Colored Revolutions pg.43

            The “Real Causes” of the Colored Revolutions pg.46

V. Colored Revolutions Case Studies
            Case Study 1: Serbia pg.49

            Case Study 2: Ukraine Orange Revolution pg.53

            Research Assignment: Applying the Colored Revolution
             Analytical Paradigm to Burma pg.55

VI. Tactics of Hybrid Regimes to Prevent Democratization
            Introduction to Hybrid Regimes pg.60

            The Rise of “Competitive Authoritarianism” (Hybrid Regimes)

            Why Democracy Needs a Level Playing Field pg.66

            Preempting Democracy: The Case of Belarus pg.68

            21st-Century Socialism Imperils Latin American Democracy pg.73

            The Dirty Tricks Dictators Play pg.74

VII. The “Arab Spring” Revolutions
            Comparing the Arab Revolts pg.76

VII. Further Resources
            198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

            Website Resources

            Website Links to Four Case Studies: Tunisia, the Philippenes,
             South Africa and Indonesia

               I. Introduction to Democratization
                         Definition of Democratization
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime.

It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, the transition from an
authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or the transition from a semi-authoritarian
political system to a democratic political system.

The outcome may be consolidated democracy (as it was for example in Spain, Portugal, Poland,
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Baltic states) or democratization may face frequent reversals
(as it has faced for example in Argentina).

Due to the different outcomes which democratization might have, political science makes a
distinction between democratic transitions and democratic consolidation.

Democratic transitions are the change from the original non-democratic regime (dictatorship) to
a democratic regime. A successful transition to democracy involves not only removing the old
non-democratic regime; equally important is the creation of democratic institutions and the
establishment of democratic procedures.

Democratic consolidation means stabilization of these democratic institutions and procedures
and achieving their acceptance by all important actors in a given country (political parties, the
army, religious institutions, various important non-governmental organizations, etc.). In a
consolidated democracy none of these important actors looks for a return to a non-democratic

It is important to be aware that democratic transition may or may not end in democratic
consolidation. In many countries there is a risk of returning to a non-democratic type of regime.
In these cases the democratic transition may result in a hybrid form of semi-authoritarianism.


  Pre-Conditions Necessary for Successful Democratization
                        (Based on the Wikipedia article Democratization)

There is considerable debate about the factors which affect or ultimately limit democratization. A
great many things, including economics, culture, and history, have been cited as impacting the
process. Some of the more frequently mentioned factors are:

Wealth. A higher GDP/capita correlates with democracy and the wealthiest democracies have
never been observed to fall into authoritarianism. There is also the general observation that
democracy was very rare before the industrial revolution. Empirical research thus lead many to

believe that economic development either increases chances for a transition to democracy
(modernization theory), or helps newly established democracies consolidate. Some campaigners
for democracy even believe that as economic development progresses, democratization will
become inevitable. However, the debate about whether democracy is a consequence of wealth, a
cause of it, or if both processes are unrelated, is far from concluded.

Education. Wealth also correlates with education, though its effects on democratic consolidation
seem to be independent. Better educated people tend to share more liberal and pro-democratic
values. On the other hand, a poorly educated and illiterate population may elect populist
politicians who soon abandon democracy and become dictators even if there have been free

The resource curse theory suggests that states whose sole source of wealth derives from
abundant natural resources, such as oil, often fail to democratize because the well-being of the
elite depends more on direct control of the resource than on the popular support. On the other
hand, elites who invest in physical or human capital rather than land or oil, fear that their
investment can be easily damaged in case of a revolution. Consequently, they would rather make
concessions and democratize than risk a violent clash with the opposition.

Capitalism. Some claim that democracy and capitalism are intrinsically linked. This belief
generally centers on the idea that democracy and capitalism are simply two different aspects of
freedom. A widespread capitalist market culture may encourage norms such as individualism,
negotiations, compromise, respect for the law, and equality before the law. These are seen as
supportive for democratization.

Social equality. Acemoglu and Robinson argue that the relationship between social equality and
democratic transition should be nonlinear: People have less incentive to revolt in an egalitarian
society (Singapore), so the likelihood of democratization is lower. In a highly unequal society
(South Africa under the Apartheid), the redistribution of wealth and power in a democracy would
be so harmful to elites that they would do everything to prevent democratization.
Democratization is more likely to emerge somewhere in the middle, in the countries, whose
elites offer concessions because (1) they consider the threat of a revolution credible and (2) the
cost of the concessions is not too high. This expectation is in line with the empirical research
showing that democracy is more stable in egalitarian societies.

Middle class. According to some models, the existence of a substantial body of citizens who are
of intermediate wealth can exert a stabilizing influence, allowing democracy to flourish. This is
usually explained by saying that while the upper classes may want political power to preserve
their position, and the lower classes may want it to lift themselves up, the middle class balances
these extreme positions.

Civil society. A healthy civil society (NGOs, unions, academia, human rights organizations) is
considered by some theorists to be important for democratization, as it gives people unity and a
common purpose, and a social network through which to organize and challenge the power of the
state hierarchy. Involvement in civic associations also prepares citizens for their future political

participation in a democratic regime. Finally, horizontally organized social networks build trust
among people and trust is essential for the functioning of democratic institutions.

Civic culture. In The Civic Culture and The Civic Culture Revisited, Gabriel A. Almond and
Sidney Verba (editors) conducted a comprehensive study of civic cultures. The main findings are
that a certain civic culture is necessary for the survival of democracy. This study truly challenged
the common belief that cultures can preserve their uniqueness and practices and still remain

Culture. It is claimed by some that certain cultures are simply more conductive to democratic
values than others. This view is likely to be ethnocentric. Typically, it is Western culture which
is cited as "best suited" to democracy, with other cultures portrayed as containing values which
make democracy difficult or undesirable. This argument is sometimes used by undemocratic
regimes to justify their failure to implement democratic reforms. Today, however, there are many
non-Western democracies. Examples include India, Japan, Indonesia, Namibia, Botswana,
Taiwan, and South Korea.

Homogeneous population. Some believe that a country which is deeply divided, whether by
ethnic group, religion, or language, will have difficulty establishing a working democracy. The
basis of this theory is that the different components of the country will be more interested in
advancing their own position than in sharing power with each other. India is one prominent
example of a nation being democratic despite its great heterogeneity.

Previous experience with democracy. According to some theorists, the presence or absence of
democracy in a country's past can have a significant effect on its later dealings with democracy.
Some argue, for example, that it is very difficult (or even impossible) for democracy to be
implemented immediately in a country that has no prior experience with it. Instead, they say,
democracy must evolve gradually. Others, however, say that past experiences with democracy
can actually be bad for democratization — a country, such as Pakistan, in which democracy has
previously failed may be less willing or able to go down the same path again.

Foreign intervention. Democracies have often been imposed by military intervention, for
example in Japan and Germany after WWII. In other cases, decolonization sometimes facilitated
the establishment of democracies that were soon replaced by authoritarian regimes. For example,
in the Southern United States after the Civil War, former slaves were disenfranchised by Jim
Crow laws during the Reconstruction Era of the United States; after many decades, U.S.
democracy was re-established by civic associations (the African American civil rights
movement) and an outside military (the U.S. military).

Age distribution. Countries which have a higher degree of elderly people seem to be able to
maintain democracy, when it has evolved once, according to a thesis brought forward by Richard
P. Concotta in an article in Foreign Policy. When the young population (defined as people aged
29 and under) is less than 40%, a democracy is more safe, according to this research.

       Patterns of Regime Change and Types of Transitions
Patterns of Regime Change

       Direct Transition from authoritarianism to democracy – characterized the 1st wave of
       De-colonialization Pattern – characterized the 2nd wave of democratization.
       Interrupted Democracy – temporary suspension of democratic system, then resumed.
       Cyclical – alternation between democracy and authoritarianism, where alternation
        actually begins to function as country’s political system (in lieu of alternation between
        two political parties).
       Second-Try Pattern – Weak democracy gives way to authoritarianism, then replaced by
        a stronger democracy.

Types of Transitions

       A top-down (elite-controlled) change from within government (Examples: Spain,
       Negotiated reform of the regime and the government (Examples: South Africa, Poland)
       A bottom-up (people power) change: Regime breakdown and the collapse of
        authoritarianism under the pressure of mass protests (Examples: the Philippines,


                How Democratic Breakthroughs Happen
       (Based on the article Ukraine Imports Democracy, External Influences on the Orange
                                  Revolution by Michael McFaul)

Before a regime collapses, autocratic rulers almost always look powerful. After the collapse, they
look weak.

In retrospect, all revolutions seem inevitable. Beforehand, all revolutions seem impossible.

Activists working for change should never be demoralized. They have the future on their side.

But democratic activists need to use time in a strategic way. They need to know what their long-
term, mid-term and short-term goals are, and how to reach from their short-term to mid-term
goals and from their mid-term to long-term goals. They need to know which actions to take to
move closer to each goal.
        Now  Short-term goals  Mid-term goals  Long-term goal: democracy
                                  HOW?                   HOW?
                 Reflect, evaluate     Reflect, evaluate
                 Re-strategize          Re-strategize

Democratic activists will not reach the future which is waiting for them if they are not active.
And being active does not mean being reactive to the (repressive or other) actions of the regime,
but taking initiative and always being a few steps ahead of the regime.

Power relation situations which produce or do not produce change:

Democratization does not occur when the regime is strong. It neither occurs when both sides,
regime and challenger, are equal in strength and are forced to negotiate. Democratization occurs
only when societal forces which are opposed to the regime acquire enough power to either
demand democracy or to defend it.

Autocratic regime     Democratic challenger                    Outcome

Strong                Weak                                     Regime remains
Strong                Strong                                   Regime liberalizes
Weak                  Weak                                     Regime remains
Weak                  Strong                                   Democratic breakthrough

A shift in the distribution of the power between the autocratic incumbent and the democratic
challenger is what produces a democratic breakthrough.

Democratic society should be strong enough, and the regime weakened in order to undermine its
willingness and capability to use violence.

The key for a democratic breakthrough is a power shift. It is not primarily crucial who is weaker
and who is stronger, but rather what are the dynamics at play, is the regime becoming (or seem to
becoming) weaker and does the democratic opposition look as though they are gaining
momentum. If these dynamics happen, then change will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is
about relative power and also partly about perception.

External factors play an indirect and usually marginal role.

Domestic actors dominate the drama of regime change.

Strategic task: Undermine the power of the regime & strengthen the challenger.

(1) Demand, welcome and support any sort of elections and any sort of decentralization of
power. The mid terms goals should be to push for and to create as many islands of relative
independence as possible.

Competitive autocracies are more vulnerable toward democratization because political
institutions and organizations have some level of autonomy.

It is useful if there are some preliminary elections (local elections before the elections for the
parliament) where the opposition does not win, but lays down its organizational and managerial
structure for future battles which could be decisive.

(2) Unpopularity of the regime is a pre-condition of the fall of the regime, but it is never a
triggering and sufficient factor. Regimes can be deeply and widely unpopular and even the
incumbent autocrats could be weak, but they can still cling to power because the challenger and
society are even weaker.

It is not enough that regime is not popular. It is necessary to highlight, expose, and amplify the
unpopularity of the regime in advance of the moment which is recognized as the window of

There must be a negative campaign about the regime; but it is crucial to select & attack some
clear and personalized target (“enemy”) within the regime and not the regime as a whole. By
personalizing the target, the campaigner is able to raise more emotions and mobilize more
support, and is able to create a situation in which some other regime members start to believe
that they can switch sides. This situation is inductive to necessary defections.

The tactical aim of the campaign at this point is not to topple down the regime as a whole, but to
create a split within the regime, which can only be achieved through personalization.

(3) Regimes are almost always supported by big businesses (oligarch groups). But there are also
smaller business groups (mid and small level business) who most probably are not supportive to
regime, but do not dare to challenge the regime and to overtly support the opposition. In
addition, there are almost always some multinational companies (Western companies which are
vulnerable to public opinion and state regulations; and other big business which do not need to
care about public opinion or regulations, but have to be concerned about their future prospects if
change happens).

Thus, the strategic task of the democratic opposition is to divide economic elites by (1)
threatening (through exposure) domestic and non-Western foreign big businesses; (2) mobilizing
low profile support of at least some small business; (3) pressuring Western big businesses to
swing support (do not campaign for them to leave, but pressure them and extort support for
democratic forces, and make the sustaining of the business hard from an image point of view, so
that they are favorable to change in order to have an untroubled situation).

For example in the case of Ukraine, it was very important that the regime did not control major
segments of the Ukrainian economy. So the democratic opposition could in the critical moment
mobilize the support of the mainly smaller business which had been financially independent
from the regime.

(4) The opposition should be united and effective. It should have a single leader with the
charisma, personal appeal and image of an uncorrupt politician.

Other ambitious opposition leaders should for the time being at least show unity behind the

The opposition should have resources to pay for a campaign and have a nationwide party

The opposition leader’s message should be targeted and simple. It should not present a complex
reform plan, but offer a choice between two systems (good and bad dichotomy). Leader should
keep their speeches positive (raise hopes) and chose positive symbols (e.g. orange color).

Positive mobilization of the public is important – people should start to believe that change is
possible. This can be achieved through massive voter education and get-out-the vote campaigns.

Mass mobilization, organizational infrastructure, and networking capacities have been built first
through preliminary testing of the forces (local elections), and then wrapped in the “soft”
package (education voters campaigns, get-out-the vote campaigns which motivated people to
expect change and to see value in protecting their vote).

(5) For the opposition to communicate with one another is not enough. It is necessary for the
opposition to communicate to a sizeable portion of citizens.

(6) Split and defection from within the repressive forces (significantly influenced by the broad
unpopularity of the regime and by the mass social mobilization) makes clear that those with guns
cannot be trusted to carry repressive orders.

Undermine loyalty to the regime forces, for example by exposing inequality within the
army ranks. Expose a minority within the army as privileged mis-users and violators, and the
others as victims and “fools”.

Chances to divide loyalties within the security forces are closely intertwined with mass
mobilization. If faced with just a few thousand demonstrators and not hundreds of thousands or
millions of demonstrators, the regime will not succumb.


         II. The Three Waves of Democratization
      Introduction to the Three Waves of Democratization
The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century is a book written in 1991 by the
famous and highly respected US political scientist Samuel P. Huntington. In the book he
describes the global trend that has seen 60 to 70 countries throughout Europe, Latin America,
Asia, and Africa undergo some form of democratic transition since Portugal's "Carnation
Revolution" in 1974.
The “wave” is a phenomenon of politics whereby similar events happen simultaneously in
different countries.

In general, the causes of democratization are multiple and differ from case to case. In some
countries some causes have played a more important role, in other countries other causes have
been more important. No single factor is sufficient (there is never one or just a few causes, but
always the inter-play of many different causes), and no single factor is necessary (if some cause
is missing that still does not mean that change cannot happen) to explain regime change.

1st Wave: Establishment and strengthening of the Western democracies (USA, UK, France,
North European countries). The first wave was in Western Europe and some of the countries in
Central Europe during the era between the French Revolution and the First World War. At that
time these countries developed a political system known as representative democracy. Causes:
Economic development, industrialization, urbanization, growth of middle class, victory of
Western Allies in WWI, dismantling of empires (*economic and social factors).

2nd Wave: A second wave of democratization took place after the end of the Second World
War with the democratization of Germany, Italy, Japan and some post-colonial countries.
Democracy was imposed by Allies after the Allied victory in WWII with Germany, Italy and
Japan becoming democracies. De-colonialization led to India becoming democratic, but also a lot
of weak democracies were established in many former colonies such as Indonesia, Burma and
many African countries. These democracies did not last long, however. Under the pressure of the
Cold War competition between the US and the Soviet Union, many countries became either
right-wing authoritarian regimes supported by the US or socialist one-party authoritarian regimes
supported by the Soviet Union (*political and military factors).

3rd Wave of Democratization (from 1974 till 2004-05): More than 60 – 70 countries throughout
Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa underwent some form of democratic transition.

The third and most recent wave began in the mid-1970s and still continues today. It began in
southern Europe when dictatorships fell in Portugal, Greece, and Spain. The wave moved onto
Latin America, where beginning in the late 1970s one military regime after another gave up
power to civilian governments. The wave continued to Asia, with the gradual introduction of
democracy in countries from Turkey to the Philippines. In the late 1980s, democratic changes
swept through almost all of central and eastern Europe, which had previously been under the
sphere of influence of the Soviet Union.

Worldwide Third Wave of Democratization:

Southern Europe: 1974 Portugal, 1975 Spain (after the death of Franco, a top-down
democratization process was led by the King), and Greece (1974-75)

Asia: 1986 Philippines (famous “people power” revolution), 1987 South Korea, (both cases: end
of military supported strong authoritarian presidencies); early 1990s Taiwan (from one-party rule
to multi-party; top-down reform). (Parallel unsuccessful revolutions: Burma 1988; China 1989 -
Tiananmen Square)

Latin America: 1983 Argentina (after losing war with UK); 1988-89 Chile; 1988-89 Brazil (all
three examples were US-supported right wing military dictatorships which suppressed popular
leftist movements through using extreme repression and brutality. Finally the US withdrew their
support and the regimes collapsed under strong domestic pressure).

Central and Eastern Europe: 1989 – 1992: Fall of authoritarian regimes in post- communist
Eurasia. Collapse of single-party rule in Central and Eastern Europe (elections were not the
trigger of democratic change, but instead the melting down of authoritarian communist regimes
under the pressure of mass protests; one country was influenced by other in a domino effect):
Poland; Hungary; Czechoslovakia; Baltic States: Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. Breakup of the
Soviet Union led to new independent countries – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, etc.)

Africa: 1991 – 94 South Africa: End of Apartheid (1990: Mandela released from prison. 1991:
De Klerk repealed apartheid laws, international sanctions lifted. 1994: ANC won first non-racial
elections. Mandela became president, Government of National Unity formed). Other African
states: for example, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere began to dismantle one-party rule in his country
weeks after witnessing firsthand the collapse of the Ceausescu regime.

Central and Eastern Europe: Second wave of transitions in Central Europe & Eurasia (“color
revolutions”): Romania 1996, Slovakia 1998, Croatia 2000, Serbia 2000, Georgia 2003, Ukraine
2004, Kyrgyzstan 2005.

Parallel to successful “color revolutions” we have witnessed unsuccessful electoral democratic
breakthroughs. In following cases the democratic opposition mounted a strong electoral
challenge, but failed to secure victory: Armenia 2003; Armenia 2008; Azerbaijan 2003;
Azerbaijan 2005; Belarus 2001; Belarus 2006.
Other unsuccessful revolutions: Burma 2007, Zimbabwe 2008, Iran 2009.
After 2004 we have witnessed a “democracy backlash” (Third Wave of spreading democracy
started to go in the opposite direction with countries reverting to authoritarianism or semi-
Arab Spring: Mass protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain and overthrow of the
Gaddafi regime in Libya in 2011.

          Timeline of the Third Wave and Related Events
Bold: Successful democratization
Italics: Unsuccessful democratization

1974: Portugal

1975: Spain (Franco’s death)

1974-75: Greece

1975: Helsinki Accord

1976: Mao's death

1976: Jimmy Carter becomes President of the USA.

1977: Deng Xiaoping emerges as the dominant figure among pragmatists in Chinese leadership.
Under his power, China undertakes far-reaching economic reforms.

1978: Pope John Paul II comes to power.

1979: Chinese government imposes one-child policy in an effort to curb population growth.

1979: Soviet troops intervene in Afghanistan to prop up the pro-communist regime.

1980: Babrak Karmal installed as ruler in Afghanistan, backed by Soviet troops. Anti-regime
resistance intensifies with various mujahedeen groups fighting the Soviet forces. US, Pakistan,
China, Iran and Saudi Arabia supply money and arms.

1980: Ronald Regan elected president.

1980s: China government dismantles collective farming and allows private enterprise again.

1983: Argentina

1984: Ronald Reagan re-elected president.

1985: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet

1986-90: China's "open-door policy" opens the country to foreign investment and encourages the
development of a market economy and private sector.

1986: Philippines

1987: South Korea

Early 1990s: Taiwan

1988: Reagan's vice-president, George Bush elected president.

1988: Soviet Union begins pulling out troops from Afghanistan. 1989: Last Soviet troops leave,
but civil war continues.

1988-89: Chile

1988-89: Brazil

1989 – End of Communism in Central and East Europe, end of the Cold War, collapse of the
Soviet Union, dominance of the Western model of free-market democracy.

1989: Tiananmen Square protests in China.

1989: Jiang Zemin takes over as Chinese Communist Party general secretary from Zhao Ziyang,
who refuses to support martial law during the Tiananmen demonstrations.

1989 – End of Communism in Central and East Europe

1989: US troops invade Panama, oust its government and arrest its leader, one-time Central
Intelligence Agency informant General Manuel Noriega, on drug-trafficking charges.

1991: US war against Iraq triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. War ends with the expulsion of
Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

1991: Russia becomes "independent" as the Soviet Union collapses.

1991 – 94: End of apartheid in South Africa.

1992: Democratic Party candidate Bill Clinton elected president.

1992: The IMF ranks China's economy as third largest in the world after the US and Japan.

1992 – 96: War in Bosnia

1994: Rwandan genocide

1996: Yeltsin re-elected for another term. He signs a peace treaty with Chechnya.

1996: Clinton re-elected, beating Republican rival Bob Dole.

1997: Hong Kong reverts to Chinese control.

1997-8: Asian financial crisis

1998: Indonesia- fall of Suharto

1998: Russia- economic crisis as ruble collapses.

1998: Monica Lewinsky scandal.

1999: Putin appointed prime minister of Russia. Putin sends troops to Chechnya.

1999: March-June – NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia in response to Serb violence against
ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo.

2000: Serbia – Fall of Milosevic

2000: Putin elected president of Russia.

2001: Sep 11; wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; rise of China; Putin´s Russia; democracy backlash.

2001: George W Bush elected president of the US.

2001: June- Leaders of China, Russia and four Central Asian states launch the Shanghai
Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

2001: Belarus – Unsuccessful

2001: September 11th terrorist attack on the USA.

2001: October- US intervention against Afghanistan.

2001: November- China joins the World Trade Organisation.

2002: January- Russia's last independent national TV station, TV-6, is forced by the authorities
to stop broadcasting.

2002: November- Vice-President Hu Jintao is named head of the ruling Communist Party.

2003: March- National People's Congress elects Hu Jintao as president. He replaces Jiang Zemin,
who steps down after 10 years in the post.

2003: March- Washington initiated military action in Iraq.

2003: Georgia: Rose revolution

2003: Armenia – Unsuccessful

2003: Azerbaijan – Unsuccessful

2004: Ukraine: Orange revolution

2004: Putin's second term

2004: May - Pictures released showing the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

2004: July- Senate report says US and allies went to war in Iraq on "flawed" information.

2004: November- Presidential elections: George W Bush wins a second term. He is inaugurated
on 20 January 2005.

2004: November- China signs a landmark trade agreement with 10 Southeast Asian countries;
the accord could eventually unite 25% of the world's population in a free-trade zone.

2005: Kyrgyzstan: Tulip Revolution

2005: Lebanon: Cedar Revolution

2005: Azerbaijan – Unsuccessful

2005: Pope John Paul II dies.

2006: November- African heads of state gather for a China-Africa summit in Beijing. Business
deals worth nearly $2bn are signed and China promises billions of dollars in loans and credits.

2006: Belarus – Unsuccessful

2007: Burma – Unsuccessful

2008: August- Beijing hosts Olympic Games.

2008: March- Dmitry Medvedev wins presidential elections. Putin becomes PM.

2008: August- Russia intervenes in Georgia.

2008: Armenia – Unsuccessful

2008: Zimbabwe – Unsuccessful

2008: September- Turmoil in the US and international financial markets as major Wall Street
investment bank Lehman Brothers collapses. US faces its worst financial crisis since the Great
Depression. 2008-9 Financial crisis sends shockwaves throughout the world.

2008: November- Democratic Senator Barack Obama elected the first black president of the
United States. 2009 January- Barack Obama sworn in as 44th president of the United States.

2009: Iran – Unsuccessful

2010: January- China posts a 17.7% rise in exports in December, suggesting it has overtaken
Germany as the world's biggest exporter.

2011: China formally overtakes Japan to become the world's second-largest economy.

2010–2011: Debt crisis of EU Countries: Greece, Ireland, Portugal.

2011: “Arab Spring” revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain.


            Causes of the Third Wave of Democratization
According to Huntington, the rise of the Third Wave is derived from five main causative factors:

1. Decrease in Legitimacy of Authoritarian Regimes

In the post-WWII era a prevailing democratic “ethos” developed throughout the world. Even
authoritarian regimes increasingly used democratic rhetoric to justify their legitimacy.

      Political legitimacy inevitably declines over time, and authoritarian regimes, unlike
       democracies, have no mechanisms for self-renewal.
      Poor economic performance and military failures undermined legitimacy of authoritarian
       regimes; they had no “procedures” to change policies, as in democracies.

2. Economic Development and Economic Crises

Rapid industrialization and economic growth helped modernize many less developed economies.
Economic modernization, which includes changes like increased urbanization, education, and a
rising middle class, set free social forces with the organizational capacity and education to press
for democratic governance.

The relationship between wealth and democracy indicates that democratic transitions should
occur in countries at a middle level of development.

      Broad-based economic development with industrialization does contribute to
       democratization, but wealth from sale of natural resources (i.e. oil) goes directly to the
       state, discourages taxation, and therefore does not necessarily contribute to

      Increased economic well-being shapes values, increases levels of education, facilitates
       compromises (as there are more resources to be distributed), promotes trade opening, and
       expands the middle class.
      Most active supporters of third wave democratization came from the urban middle class.
      Short-term: Rapid economic growth can undermine authoritarian regimes if combined
       with short-term economic crisis or failure.

3. Changes in the Catholic Church

The changes in the Catholic Church brought about by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965:
also known as Vatican II) emphasized individual rights and opposition to authoritarian rule. This
shift in world view was especially important for the Catholic countries of the Mediterranean and
Latin America, as well as the Philippines, Poland and Hungary.

      Changes in political alignment of Roman Catholic Church as it moved from supporting or
       co-existing with authoritarian regimes to opposing them.
      Pope John Paul II (1978 – 2005) used the power of Church to defend human rights;
       politically motivated papal visits played a key role.
      National churches brought many resources (especially national network of members) to
       struggles against authoritarianism in countries like the Philippines, South Korea, Chile,
       Brazil, Poland, Nicaragua, Democratic Republic, Panama etc.
      According to Huntington, Catholicism was second only to economic development as a
       force promoting democratization in the 1970s and 1980s.

4. New Policies of External Actors

By the late 1980s, three major global sources of power and influence (the European Community
(EC), U.S. and Soviet Union) were promoting liberalization and democratization.

European Community

      EC officially formed in 1969, first expansion in 1973. To be a member, countries had to
       be democratic. Membership also helped prevent regression to authoritarianism. Greece
       joined in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986.
      Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), Helsinki Final Act (1975)
       influenced the development of human rights and democracy in Europe, particularly by
       helping to foster openings in Eastern Europe.

Prospects for European Union membership provided the necessary pressure for creating the
critical domestic masses for the push toward democracy in Portugal, Spain, and Greece, since the
establishment of democratic institutions was necessary to secure the economic benefits for
Community membership. As other authors have pointed out, E.U. membership has also
functioned to inspire democratic changes in a number of former Soviet satellites, including
Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

United States

      As of 1974 the U.S. shifted to promoting human rights in foreign policy. The Carter
       administration strengthened this commitment after 1977.
      The Reagan administration introduced the promotion of democratic change as a major
       foreign policy goal and created the National Endowment for Democracy.
      U.S. democracy promotion efforts included: diplomatic action, economic pressure,
       material support for democratic opposition forces, military action and multilateral

Soviet Union

      Even more dramatic policy shift than in the case of the US.
      Gorbachev revoked the Brezhnev doctrine and conveyed to Eastern European
       governments that the Soviet government would not act militarily to maintain their
       existing communist dictatorships. Opened the way for the ousting of communist leaders,
       elections, opening of frontiers with Western Europe, and market-oriented reforms.

5. Demonstration Effects or Snowballing (Domino Effect)

Successful democratization occurred in one country which encouraged democratization in other
countries. Why did this happen? People in other- particularly neighboring countries- saw:

      That it was possible to bring down authoritarian systems;
      How to do it;
      What dangers to avoid and difficulties to overcome.

Snowballing was more important in the third wave than in first two waves because of improved
communications. Snowballing was strongest among countries that were geographically close and
culturally similar. (For example: influence of Spanish democratization on all of Latin America).

The most dramatic snowballing happened in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. For example,
once it was clear that the reformist Solidarity in Poland would come to power, reformists in other
eastern European countries gained the energy to push for change. As the wave swept through
Eastern Europe, African leaders began to see the winds of change and subsequently redrafted
their constitutions to allow for multiparty elections, fearing that any resistance to reforms would
lead to an emboldened opposition. Today, we can see a similar snowballing effect in North
Africa and the Middle East.

Snowballing effects were more influential at the end of the 3rd wave than at the beginning. At the
end of the 1980s, snowballing influenced countries where other conditions for democracy were
weak or absent.

Other International Factors which Contributed to the Third Wave:

Firstly, international efforts by states and activists helped politicize issues such as human rights
and democratization at the international level. Huntington believes that the beginning of the
Third Wave corresponds to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which helped secure commitments
for human rights and democratic governance from Eastern European countries. While this by
itself was not enough to guarantee democratization, it did provide a pressure point by which the
Soviet Bloc was measured and criticized.

Secondly, by the mid-1970s, the United States began to reformulate its foreign policy. Rather
than supporting any regime that promised loyalty to the west, economic and political support was
increasingly premised upon the observance of civil liberties and political rights.

Role of the Elites

The list above shows the general causes of the third wave of democratization which were quite
different from the causes of the first two waves. The relative significance of these causes varied
by region and evolved as the third wave progressed.

The emergence of social, economic and external conditions favorable to democracy is necessary,
but not sufficient, to produce democracy: political leaders have to be willing to take the risk of
democracy to make it happen.

Internal factors are the most important factors which make democratization possible. Especially
important are the role of elites and the existence of a split in the regime.

Huntington believes in the importance of individual agents in the transition to democracy:
“democracies are created not by causes but by causers.” To Huntington, the transitions are based
on elite choices, perceptions, beliefs and actions, while subsequent consolidation of democratic
institutions was based on elite pacts and consensus.


      Research Assignment: Democratization Case Studies
Students are asked to do research on the democratizations which took place in the below listed
countries. Their task is to prepare a PowerPoint and present it in class. Students are asked to
summarize the basic facts but also to look into the deeper causes of democratization in each
particular country. In addition, they are encouraged to look at YouTube and other video sharing
sites with video testimony of the transitions.

Portugal 1974
Spain 1975
Philippines 1986
South Korea 1987
Argentina 1983
Chile 1988-89
Poland 1989
Hungary 1989
Czechoslovakia 1989
Estonia and Lithuania (“Singing Revolution”) 1989
Russian coup against Gorbachev and rise of Yeltsin - break up of Soviet Union 1991
South Africa 1991-94
Indonesia 1998
Serbia 2000
Georgia 2003
Ukraine 2004
Egypt 2011

If time allows, students can also do additional research and presentations on unsuccessful
attempts to democratize in the following countries:

Burma 1988
China 1989
Armenia 2003; Armenia 2008
Azerbaijan 2003; Azerbaijan 2005
Belarus 2001; Belarus 2006
Burma 2007
Zimbabwe 2007
Iran 2009

    III. Democratization through Top-Down and
              Negotiated Transitions
                       Steps in the Transition Process
The first phase – rising pressure & weakening of the regime
    Mass protests pressuring authoritarian government.
    International pressure.
    Economic crisis.

The second phase – reformers taking over & reformers consolidating power & the first
liberalization steps (trust building)
     Reformer replaces hardliner in the ruling party / government (e.g. old guard die).
     Reformer consolidates their power within the ruling power system (replaces hardliners
        with their supporters; older generation with younger ones).
     Reformer starts low profile, behind-the-scenes talk with (some) opposition leaders.
     First liberalization steps (improving domestic and international image of the regime;
        testing how far they can go not to provoke counter-attack by hardliners; creating the
        atmosphere of trust building).

The third phase – reformers setting up and implementing reform agenda & transition pact
with the opposition
    Release of key political opponents (opposition leaders).
    Release of all political prisoners (general amnesty).
    Lifting the ban on political opponents (opposition party, trade unions, student
       organizations etc).
    Beginning of talks with the opposition (and other political stakeholders which have been
       excluded) about the transition – “round-table” and “transition pact” (basic political
       consensus between ruling party and opposition about what steps will be taken and in
       which order. Agreement on interim rules of the political game).
    Advanced liberalization: key laws introducing basic civic and political rights (freedom of
       association, freedom of speech, freedom of media, etc) are passed, usually by the “old”
       parliament (which has been a rubber stamp parliament serving the regime).
    Sometimes at this stage “hardliners” (“bunker”) attempt (usually unsuccessful) coup.
    Former ruling party is usually reforming itself from authoritarian party into a democratic
    International pressure (sanctions) is lifted.

The fourth phase – first free and fair elections & new constitution
    First (transitional) elections (usually 6, 8 to 12 months after the democratic breakthrough
      and/or transition pact) for the new legislature which needs to do two main tasks: to select
      and give legitimacy to the transition government and to draft and approve a new

       constitution. Sometimes the new constitution is additionally approved in a referendum.
       The new constitution creates a legal basis for a democratic society.
      Opposition often (but not always) wins. Opposition leader becomes president (or prime
      Full integration and acceptance into the international community.

The fifth phase – second elections & beginning of a regular election cycle
    Second post-transition elections (usually after two years) are held which are the first
       “real” elections to take place under a democratic constitution and democratic laws.
    Regular election cycle takes place once every 4 or 5-6 years. Often former ruling party
       wins the third election after the breakthrough (sometimes even the second one).


 Case Study 1: Spanish Transition to Democracy – Example
                 of a Top-Down Transition
The Spanish transition to democracy was the era when Spain moved from the dictatorship of
Francisco Franco to a liberal democratic state. The transition is usually said to have begun with
Franco’s death on 20 November 1975, while its completion has been variously said to be marked
by the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the failure of Antonio Tejero's attempted coup on the 23
February 1981, or the electoral victory of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) on the 28
October 1982.

Timeline – Phases of Democratization

20 November 1975: Franco’s death. Juan Carlos I became King, who appointed Adolfo Suárez
Prime Minister on 4 July 1976. He was chosen by the monarch to lead the country towards a
democratic, parliamentary monarchy without aggravating the powerful conservative factions
(especially the military) in the country. The second phase – Reformer replaces hardliner in the
ruling party / government (previous hard-line dictator has died).

1976 - Suárez introduced political reform. The draft of the Law for Political Reform was written
by Torcuato Fernández-Miranda, speaker of the Cortes (parliament). The reform project was
approved by the Suarez Government in September 1976.

The Suárez government sought to gain further legitimacy for the changes through a popular
referendum. On 15 December 1976, with a 77.72% participation rate, 94% of voters indicated
their support for the changes.

Suárez adopted a series of measured policies to add credibility to his reform project. In July 1976
he issued a partial political amnesty, freeing 400 prisoners. He extended this in March 1977, and
finally granted a blanket amnesty in May 1977. The second phase: First liberalization steps;
creating the atmosphere of trust building.

In December 1976 the Francoist secret police Tribunal de Orden Público (TOP) was dissolved.

Adolfo Suárez knew well that the "Búnker"—a group of hard-line Francoists — had close
contacts with officials in the army and exercised influence over important sectors of the military.
To resolve the issue, Suárez promoted a liberal group within the military who supported political
reform and removed those commanders of security forces who seemed to support preserving the
Francoist regime. The second phase – Reformer consolidates their power within the ruling power
system (replaces hardliners with their supporters).

In March 1977, the right to strike was legalized, with the right to unionize being granted the
following month. Also in March a new electoral law introduced the necessary framework for
Spain's electoral system to be brought into accord with other countries that were liberal
parliamentary democracies. The third phase- Advanced liberalization: key laws introducing
basic civic and political rights (freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of media,

Suárez had initiated political contact with the opposition by meeting with Felipe González,
secretary general of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), in August 1976. The positive
attitude of the socialist leader gave further support for Suárez to carry forward his reform project.
Talks with the opposition about the transition.

Resurgence of terrorist activity. Liberalization also brings tensions and instability.

June 1977 - Suárez led the Union of the Democratic Centre (Unión de Centro Democrático,
UCD) to victory in Spain's first free elections in 41 years, and became the first democratically-
elected prime minister of the post-Franco regime. The fourth phase – first free and fair elections
& new constitution.

The Constituent Cortes (elected Spanish parliament) began to draft a constitution in the summer
of 1977. In 1978 the Moncloa Pact was passed: an agreement amongst politicians, political
parties, and trade unions to plan how to operate the economy during the transition. Talks with the
opposition (and other political stakeholders which have been excluded) about the transition –
“round-table” and “transition pact” (basic political consensus between ruling party and
opposition what steps will be taken and in which order. Agreement on interim rules of the
political game.)

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 went on to be approved in a referendum on December 6, 1978.

1979 - Suárez's centrist coalition won the elections under the new constitution. The fifth phase –
second elections & beginning of a regular election cycle.

23 February 1981: the failure of Antonio Tejero's attempted coup.“Hardliners” (“bunker”)
attempt (usually unsuccessful) coup.

28 October 1982: The elections gave an absolute majority to Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
(PSOE), which had already spent many years preparing its image of an alternative government.

Winning an absolute majority in parliament in two consecutive elections (1982 and 1986), and
exactly half the seats in 1989, allowed the PSOE to make laws to achieve the goals of its political
program, "el cambio" ("the change"). This comfortable political majority allowed the PSOE to
give the country a long period of tranquility and stability, after the intense years of the transition.

Key Actors: Role of Juan Carlos I

The death of Franco elevated Don Juan Carlos de Borbón to the throne. Until Franco’s death,
Juan Carlos had remained in the background and seemed to follow the dictator’s plans of
appointing him his successor as head of state with the title of King of Spain. Once in power as
king, Juan Carlos facilitated the development of the current political system, as his father, Don
Juan de Borbón, had advocated since 1946.

The transition was an ambitious plan that counted on ample support both within and outside of
Spain. Western governments, headed by the United States, now favored a Spanish constitutional
monarchy, as did many Spanish and international capitalists.

Nevertheless, the transition proved challenging, as the spectre of the Civil War (1936–1939) still
haunted Spain. Francoists on the far right enjoyed considerable support within the Spanish
Army, and people on the left distrusted a king who owed his position to Franco.

The realization of the democratic project required that the leftist opposition restrain its own most
radical elements from provocation, and that the army refrain from intervening in the political
process on behalf of Francoist elements within the existing government.

Juan Carlos began his reign without leaving the confines of Franco's legal system. As such, he
swore fidelity to the Principles of the Movimiento Nacional, the sole legal party of the Franco
era; took possession of the crown before the Francoist Cortes Generales; and respected the Ley
Orgánica del Estado (Organic Law of the State) for the appointment of his first head of
government. Only in his speech before the Cortes did he indicate his support for a transformation
of the Spanish political system.

Key Actors: Role of Adolfo Suárez y González

1st Duke of Suárez, Grandee of Spain, KOGF (born 25 September 1932) was Spain's first
democratically elected prime minister after the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, and a key figure
in the country's transition to democracy.

Suárez studied Law at Salamanca University, and held several government posts during the late
Francoist regime.

He became the Minister Secretary General of the National Movement (Movimiento Nacional), a
body that served as the sole political party, for 18 years, a period that extended beyond the death
of Franco in November 1975. At a rally just a month before Franco's death, Suárez was queried
by the aging Caudillo on the political future of Spain and told him frankly that the Movement
would not likely long survive Franco and that democratization was inevitable.

Suárez was appointed as the 138th Prime Minister of Spain by the Spanish King Juan Carlos on
4 July 1976, a move opposed by leftists and some centrists given his Francoist history. As a
nationalist, he was chosen by the monarch to lead the country towards a democratic,
parliamentary monarchy without aggravating the powerful conservative factions (especially the
military) in the country. Surprising many observers and political opponents, Suárez introduced
Political Reform in 1976 as a first, decisive step in the Transition (La Transición) to democracy.

In 1977, Suárez led the Union of the Democratic Centre (Unión de Centro Democrático, UCD)
to victory in Spain's first free elections in 41 years, and became the first democratically-elected
prime minister of the post-Franco regime.

Suárez's centrist government instituted democratic reforms, and his coalition won the 1979
elections under the new constitution. Less successful as a day-to-day organiser than as a crisis
manager, he resigned as Prime Minister on 25 January 1981.

In 1982, Suárez founded the Democratic and Social Centre (Centro Democrático y Social, CDS)
party, which never achieved the success of UCD, though Suárez and its party were important
elements in the Liberal International, joining it in 1988 and leading to it be renamed Liberal and
Progressive. Suárez became President of the Liberal International in 1989. He retired from active
politics in 1991, for personal reasons.


 Case Study 2: Poland - Example of a Negotiated Transition
Timeline – Phases of Democratization

1980s: Massive factory strikes; strengthening of the Solidarity trade union movement. Huge
domestic pressure coming from organized workers, Catholic church and intellectual dissidents.

Economic crisis and high inflation had depressed Polish living standards and deepened public
anger and frustration; rising fears within the government of a social explosion due to economic
malaise and runaway inflation so that by 1988 the authorities began serious talks with the

By 1989, the Soviet Union had repealed the Brezhnev Doctrine which supported non-
intervention in the internal affairs of its Warsaw Pact allies.

In September 1988, a new wave of mass strikes occurred. The first phase- rising pressure &
weakening of the regime & strengthening of the opposition.

A secret meeting between the opposition leader Lech Wałęsa and Minister of Internal Affairs
Czesław Kiszczak was held. They agreed on holding the Round Table talks. The second phase–
the first liberalization steps (trust building) & reformers start low profile, behind the scene talk
with (some) opposition leaders.

The Round Table talks began on February 6th 1989. They included the solidarity opposition
faction and the coalition government faction. The "Round Table Agreement" was signed on
April 4, 1989. As a result, real political power was vested in a newly created bicameral
legislature and in a president who would be the chief executive. Solidarność became a legitimate
and legal political party. Agreement was also achieved about holding an election. The third
phase– reformers and opposition make a political deal about reform agenda & transition pact.

The election of 4 June 1989 brought a landslide victory to Solidarność, which helped form a
coalition government. The fourth phase – first free and fair elections & new constitution.

1990 - Walesa elected president of Poland. Market reforms, including large-scale privatisation,
are launched.

1993 - Reformed Communists enter the coalition government. They pledge to continue market

1995 - Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former Communist, narrowly beats Lech Walesa to become
president. The fifth phase: Regular election cycle takes place once every 4 or 5-6 years. Often
former ruling party wins the third election after the breakthrough (sometimes even the second

1997 - Polish parliament adopts a new constitution. General election is won by the Solidarity
grouping AWS. Jerzy Buzek forms a coalition government.

2000 - Aleksander Kwasniewski re-elected as president.

Key Actors: Role of Solidarity (Solidarność)

Emergence of Solidarity

Labour turmoil in Poland during 1980 had led to the formation of the independent trade union,
Solidarity, led by Lech Wałęsa, which over time became a political force.

On 13 December 1981, Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski started a crack-down on
Solidarity, declaring martial law in Poland, suspending the union, and temporarily imprisoning
all of its leaders.

Solidarity's Impact Grows

Throughout the mid-1980s, Solidarity persisted solely as an underground organization, supported
by the Catholic Church. However, by the late 1980s, Solidarity became sufficiently strong to
frustrate Jaruzelski's attempts at reform, and nationwide strikes in 1988 forced the government to
open a dialogue with Solidarity. On 9 March 1989, both sides agreed to a bicameral legislature
called the National Assembly. The already existing Sejm would become the lower house. The
Senate would be elected by the people. Traditionally a ceremonial office, the presidency was
given more powers (Polish Round Table Agreement).

End of Communism in Poland (1989)

In April 1989, Solidarity was again legalized and allowed to participate in parliamentary
elections on 4 June 1989 (incidentally, the day following the midnight crackdown on Chinese
protesters in Tiananmen Square). A political earthquake followed. The victory of Solidarity
surpassed all predictions. Solidarity candidates captured all the seats they were allowed to
compete for in the Sejm, while in the Senate they captured 99 out of the 100 available seats (with
the one remaining seat taken by an independent candidate). At the same time, many prominent
Communist candidates failed to gain even the minimum number of votes required to capture the
seats that were reserved for them.

Shortly afterward, the Communists' two longtime coalition partners broke off to support
Solidarity. This virtually assured that a Solidarity member would become prime minister. A new
non-Communist government, the first of its kind in the former Eastern Bloc, was sworn into
office in September 1989.

Detailed History of Polish Democratization:

The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from February 6 to April 4, 1989.
The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other
opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.

Following the factory strikes of the early 1980s and the subsequent formation of the (then still
underground) Solidarity movement under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa the political situation in
Poland started relaxing somewhat. Despite an attempt by the government to crack down on the
anti-Communist sentiments, the movement had gained too much momentum and it became
impossible to hold off change anymore.

In addition there was fear of a social explosion due to economic malaise and runaway inflation
that had depressed Polish living standards and deepened public anger and frustration. By 1988
the authorities began serious talks with the opposition.

In September 1988, when a wave of strikes was coming to an end, a secret meeting was held
which included amongst others the opposition leader Lech Wałęsa and Minister of Internal
Affairs Czesław Kiszczak. They agreed on holding the so-called Round Table talks in the near
future to plan out the course of action to be undertaken in the country. The Round Table talks
began on February 6th 1989. They included the solidarity opposition faction and the coalition
government faction. The talks were held in the Council of Ministers Office. The meetings were
co-chaired by Lech Wałęsa and Czesław Kiszczak.

The Polish Communists, led by General Jaruzelski, hoped to co-opt prominent opposition leaders
into the ruling group without making major changes in the political power structure. In reality,
the talks radically altered the shape of the Polish government and society. The events in Poland
precipitated and gave momentum to the fall of the entire Communist bloc; the Yalta arrangement
collapsed soon after the events in Poland.


The sessions were divided into three main work groups:

         Political reform workgroup
         Union pluralism and party pluralism workgroup
         Economy and social issues workgroup

Specific issues were handled by these work groups. The meetings often ground to a halt. This
was caused by a mutual distrust of the factions and an obvious unwillingness of the government
faction to relinquish power. The most controversial questions were:

         Pay raises and indexation
         Future pluralist elections
         The limit of the future president's competence
         The limit of competence for the future Sejm and Senate
         The access to mass communication media by opposition forces

A number of (radical) opposition organisations were quite opposed to the talks. They did not
believe in the good intentions of the sitting government. Despite their fears a number of
important documents were signed on April 5th at the conclusion of the sessions. These
documents became known as the Round Table Agreement.


An agreement ("Round Table Agreement") was signed on April 4, 1989. The most important
postulates, including those reflected in the April Novelization, were:

         Legalization of independent trade unions
         The introduction of the office of President (thereby annulling the power of the
          Communist party general secretary), who would be elected to a 6-year term
         The formation of a Senate

As a result, real political power was vested in a newly created bicameral legislature and in a
president who would be the chief executive.

Solidarność became a legitimate and legal political party.

Free election to 35% of the seats in Sejm and an entirely free election to the Senate was assured.

The election of 4 June 1989 brought a landslide victory to Solidarność: 99% of all the seats in the
Senate and all of the 35% possible seats in Sejm. Jaruzelski, whose name was the only one the
Communist Party allowed on the ballot for the presidency, won by just one vote in the National
Assembly. The 65–35 division was soon abolished as well, after the first truly free elections.

The Round Table sessions were of momentous importance to the future political developments in
Poland. They paved the way to a free and democratic Poland as well as the final abolition of
communism in Poland.


     Case Study 3: South Africa - Example of a Negotiated
Timeline– Phases of Democratization

1984-89 - Township revolt, state of emergency. People rallied against the white government,
which hit back violently. International sanctions. The first phase: rising pressure & weakening of
the regime

1989 - Frederik Willem de Klerk replaced PW Botha as president, met Mandela. Public facilities
desegregated. Many ANC activists freed. The second phase: reformers taking over &
consolidating power & the first liberalization steps (trust building).

1990 - ANC unbanned, Mandela released after 27 years in prison. Namibia became independent.

1991 - Start of multi-party talks. De Klerk repealed remaining apartheid laws, international
sanctions lifted. Major fighting between ANC and Zulu Inkatha movement. The third phase:
reformers setting up and implementing reform agenda & transition pact with the opposition.

1993 - Agreement on interim constitution.

1994 April - ANC won first non-racial elections. Mandela became president, Government of
National Unity formed, Commonwealth membership restored, remaining sanctions lifted. South
Africa took a seat in the UN General Assembly after 20-year absence. The fourth phase: first
free and fair elections & new constitution

Key Actors: Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is one of the world's most revered statesmen, who led the struggle to replace the
apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy.

Jailed for 27 years, he emerged to become the country's first black president and to play a leading
role in the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

His charisma, self-deprecating sense of humor and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment, as
well as his amazing life story, partly explain his extraordinary global appeal.

Mandela’s Key Dates
1918 - Born in the Eastern Cape
1956 - Charged with high treason, but charges dropped
1962 - Arrested, convicted of sabotage, sentenced to five years in prison
1964 - Charged again, sentenced to life
1990 - Freed from prison
1993 - Wins Nobel Peace Prize
1994 - Elected first black president
1999 - Steps down as leader
2001 - Diagnosed with prostate cancer
2004 - Retires from public life
2005 - Announces his son has died of an HIV/Aids-related illness
2007 - Forms The Elders group
2010 - Appears at closing ceremony of World Cup

Nelson Mandela’s History

Born Rolihlahla Dalibhunga, Nelson Mandela was given his English name Nelson, by a teacher
at his school. His father, a counsellor to the Thembu royal family, died when Mr. Mandela was
nine, and he was placed in the care of the acting regent of the Thembu people, chief Jongintaba

He joined the African National Congress in 1943, first as an activist, then as the founder and
president of the ANC Youth League.

Mr Mandela qualified as a lawyer and in 1952 opened a law practice in Johannesburg with his
partner, Oliver Tambo. It was South Africa's first black law firm. Together, Mr Mandela and Mr
Tambo campaigned against apartheid, the system devised by the all-white National Party which
oppressed the black majority.

In 1956, Mr Mandela was charged with high treason, along with 155 other activists, but the
charges against him were dropped after a four-year trial.

Resistance to apartheid grew, mainly against the new Pass Laws, which dictated where black
people were allowed to live and work.

In 1958, Mr Mandela married Winnie Madikizela, who was later to take an active role in the
campaign to free her husband from prison.

The ANC was outlawed in 1960 and Mandela went underground.

Tension with the apartheid regime grew, and soared to new heights in 1960 when 69 black
people were shot dead by police in the Sharpeville massacre.

This marked the end of peaceful resistance and Mr Mandela, al
ready national vice-president of the ANC, launched a campaign of economic sabotage.

He was eventually arrested and charged with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the
government. Conducting his own defence in the Rivonia court room, Mr Mandela used the stand
to convey his beliefs about democracy, freedom and equality. "I have cherished the ideal of a
democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal
opportunities," he said. "It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it
is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

In the winter of 1964 he was sentenced to life in prison.

In the space of 12 months between 1968 and 1969, Mr Mandela's mother died and his eldest son
was killed in a car crash but he was not allowed to attend the funerals.

As Mr Mandela and other ANC leaders languished in prison or lived in exile, the youths of South
Africa's black townships did their best to fight white minority rule. Hundreds were killed and
thousands were injured before the schoolchildren's uprising was crushed.

In 1980, Mr Tambo, who was in exile, launched an international campaign to release Mr
Mandela. The world community tightened the sanctions first imposed on South Africa in 1967
against the apartheid regime.

The pressure produced results, and in 1990, President Frederik Willem de Klerk lifted the ban on
the ANC, and Mr Mandela was released from prison and talks on forming a new multi-racial
democracy for South Africa began.

In 1992, Mr Mandela divorced his wife, Winnie, after she was convicted on charges of
kidnapping and accessory to assault.

In December 1993, Mr Mandela and Mr de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Five months later, in 1994 for the first time in South Africa's history, all races voted in
democratic elections and Mr Mandela was overwhelmingly elected president.

Mr Mandela's greatest problem as president was the housing shortage for the poor, and slum
townships continued to blight major cities.

He married Graca Machel on his 80th birthday He entrusted his deputy, Thabo Mbeki, with the
day-to-day business of the government, while he concentrated on the ceremonial duties of a
leader, building a new international image of South Africa.

In that context, he succeeded in persuading the country's multinational corporations to remain
and invest in South Africa.

Since stepping down as president in 1999, Mr Mandela has become South Africa's highest-
profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country's right to
host the 2010 football World Cup.

Mr Mandela was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere.

In 2004, at the age of 85, Mr Mandela retired from public life to spend more time with his family
and friends and engage in "quiet reflection". "Don't call me, I'll call you," he warned anyone
thinking of inviting him to future engagements.

On his 89th birthday, he formed The Elders, a group of leading world figures, to offer their
expertise and guidance "to tackle some of the world's toughest problems".

Key Actors: Frederik Willem de Klerk

Although the forces of history made it seem inevitable, South Africa's transformation into a
multiracial democracy might have been more painful without Frederik Willem de Klerk. He saw
his country had to change and forced the pace.

Mr de Klerk watched the growing chaos from a vantage point inside South Africa's despised
white minority government where he appeared to flirt with both sides of his party - the
conservatives and the ultra-conservatives. No-one was really sure where his sympathies lay until
he became president in 1989.

In 1990 he declared his own personal opposition to the racist legislation his own party had been
responsible for. Within a year Mr de Klerk had released Nelson Mandela from prison, aware that
the move could well mean his own days in office were numbered.

Talk about a new constitution opened old wounds. There was appalling violence between the
African National Congress and its Zulu rivals. White extremists were also agitated - upset at the
prospect of a black government. Mr de Klerk sensed the threat and outmanoeuvred them by
offering a "whites only" referendum in 1992, in which he sought backing and won it.

The pace of change picked up and in 1993 Mr de Klerk was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize with the man who would replace him as president.

Detailed History of South African Democratization

Final Years of Apartheid

In the 1960s South Africa had economic growth second only to that of Japan. Trade with
Western countries grew, and investment from the United States, France and Britain poured in.
Resistance among blacks had been crushed. Since 1964 Mandela, leader of the African National
Congress, had been in prison on Robben Island just off the coast from Cape Town, and it
appeared that South Africa's security forces could handle any resistance to apartheid.
In 1974, resistance to apartheid was encouraged by Portugal's withdrawal from Mozambique and
Angola, after the 1974 Carnation Revolution. South African troops withdrew from Angola in

early 1976, failing to prevent the liberation forces from gaining power there, and black students
in South Africa celebrated a victory of black liberation over white resistance.

In 1978 the defense minister of the Nationalist Party, Pieter Willem Botha, became Prime
Minister. Botha's all-white regime was worried about the Soviet Union helping revolutionaries in
South Africa, and the economy had turned sluggish. The new government noted that it was
spending too much money trying to maintain the segregated homelands that had been created for
blacks and the homelands were proving to be uneconomical.

Nor was maintaining blacks as a third class working well. The labour of blacks remained vital to
the economy, and illegal black labour unions were flourishing. Many blacks remained too poor
to make much of a contribution to the economy through their purchasing power – although they
were more than 70 percent of the population. Botha's regime was afraid that an antidote was
needed to prevent blacks from being attracted to Communism.

In the 1980s, the anti-apartheid movements in the United States and Europe were gaining support
for boycotts against South Africa, for the withdrawal of U.S. firms from South Africa and for the
release of Mandela. South Africa was becoming an outlaw in the world community of nations.
Investing in South Africa by Americans and others was coming to an end and an active policy of
disinvestment ensued.

Early Reforms

In the early 1980s, Botha's National Party government started to recognise the inevitability of the
need to reform apartheid. Early reforms were driven by a combination of internal violence,
international condemnation, changes within the National Party's constituency, and changing
demographics—whites constituted only 16% of the total population, in comparison to 20% fifty
years earlier.

In 1983, a new constitution was passed implementing a so-called Tricameral Parliament, giving
coloureds and Indians voting rights and parliamentary representation in separate houses – the
House of Assembly (178 members) for whites, the House of Representatives (85 members) for
coloureds and the House of Delegates (45 members) for Indians. Each House handled laws
pertaining to its racial group's "own affairs", including health, education and other community
issues. Blacks, although making up the majority of the population, were excluded from
representation; they remained nominal citizens of their homelands.

Reforms and Contact with the ANC under Botha

Concerned over the popularity of Mandela, Botha denounced him as an arch-Marxist committed
to violent revolution, but to appease black opinion and nurture Mandela as a benevolent leader of
blacks the government moved Mandela from Robben Island to a prison in a rural area just
outside Cape Town, Pollsmoor prison, where prison life was easier.

The government allowed Mandela more visitors, including visits and interviews by foreigners, to
let the world know that Mandela was being treated well.

Black homelands were declared nation-states and pass laws were abolished. Also, black labour
unions were legitimised, the government recognised the right of blacks to live in urban areas
permanently and gave blacks property rights there. Interest was expressed in rescinding the law
against interracial marriage and also rescinding the law against sex between the races, which was
under ridicule abroad. The spending for black schools increased, to one-seventh of what was
spent per white child, up from on one-sixteenth in 1968. At the same time, attention was given to
strengthening the effectiveness of the police apparatus.

In January 1985, Botha addressed the government's House of Assembly and stated that the
government was willing to release Mandela on condition that Mandela pledge opposition to acts
of violence to further political objectives. Mandela's reply was read in public by his daughter
Zinzi – his first words distributed publicly since his sentence to prison twenty-one years before.
Mandela described violence as the responsibility of the apartheid regime and said that with
democracy there would be no need for violence. The crowd listening to the reading of his speech
erupted in cheers and chants. This response helped to further elevate Mandela's status in the eyes
of those, both internationally and domestically, who opposed apartheid.

Between 1986 and 1988, some petty apartheid laws were repealed. Ironically, these reforms
served only to trigger intensified political violence through the remainder of the eighties as more
communities and political groups across the country joined the resistance movement. Botha's
government stopped short of substantial reforms, such as lifting the ban on the ANC, PAC and
SACP and other liberation organisations, releasing political prisoners, or repealing the
foundation laws of grand apartheid. The government's stance was that they would not
contemplate negotiating until those organisations "renounced violence".

By 1987 the growth of South Africa's economy had dropped to among the lowest rate in the
world, and the ban on South African participation in international sporting events was frustrating
many whites in South Africa. Examples of African states with black leaders and white minorities
existed in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Whispers of South Africa one day having a black President sent
more hardline whites into Rightist parties.

Mandela was moved to a four-bedroom house of his own, with a swimming pool and shaded by
fir trees, on a prison farm just outside Cape Town. He had an unpublicised meeting with Botha,
Botha impressing Mandela by walking forward, extending his hand and pouring Mandela's tea.
And the two had a friendly discussion, Mandela comparing the African National Congress'
rebellion with that of the Afrikaner rebellion.

A number of clandestine meetings were held between the ANC-in-exile and various sectors of
the internal struggle, such as women and educationalists. More overtly, a group of white
intellectuals met the ANC in Senegal for talks.

Presidency of F.W. de Klerk

Early in 1989, Botha suffered a stroke; he was prevailed upon to resign in February 1989. He
was succeeded as president later that year by F.W. de Klerk. Despite his initial reputation as a
conservative, De Klerk moved decisively towards negotiations to end the political stalemate in

the country. In his opening address to parliament on 2 February 1990, De Klerk announced that
he would repeal discriminatory laws and lift the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid groups
such as the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African
Communist Party (SACP) and the United Democratic Front. The Land Act was brought to an
end. De Klerk also made his first public commitment to release jailed ANC leader Nelson
Mandela, to return to press freedom and to suspend the death penalty. Media restrictions were
lifted and political prisoners not guilty of common-law crimes were released. On 11 February
1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after more than 27 years in


Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1993, culminating in elections
in 1994, the first in South Africa with universal suffrage. From 1990 to 1996 the legal apparatus
of apartheid was abolished.

In 1990 negotiations were earnestly begun, with two meetings between the government and the
ANC. The purpose of the negotiations was to pave the way for talks towards a peaceful transition
of power. These meetings were successful in laying down the preconditions for negotiations –
despite the considerable tensions still abounding within the country. At the first meeting, the NP
and ANC discussed the conditions for negotiations to begin. Result of the meeting: Political
prisoners would be freed and all exiles were allowed to return.

There were fears that the change of power in South Africa would be violent. To avoid this, it was
essential that a peaceful resolution between all parties be reached. In December 1991, the
Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began negotiations on the formation of a
multiracial transitional government and a new constitution extending political rights to all
groups. CODESA adopted a Declaration of Intent and committed itself to an "undivided South

Reforms and negotiations to end apartheid led to a backlash among the right-wing white
opposition, leading to the Conservative Party winning a number of by-elections against NP
candidates. De Klerk responded by calling a whites-only referendum in March 1992 to decide
whether negotiations should continue. A 68-percent majority of white voters gave its support,
and the victory instilled in De Klerk and the government a lot more confidence, giving the NP a
stronger position in negotiations.

Thus, when negotiations resumed in May 1992, under the tag of CODESA II, stronger demands
were made. The ANC and the government could not reach a compromise on how power should
be shared during the transition to democracy. The NP wanted to retain a strong position in a
transitional government, as well as the power to change decisions made by parliament.
Persistent violence added to the tension during the negotiations. This was due mostly to the
intense rivalry between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the ANC and the eruption of some
traditional tribal and local rivalries between the Zulu and Xhosa historical tribal affinities.
Although Mandela and Buthelezi met to settle their differences, they could not stem the violence.

Mandela argued that de Klerk, as head of state, was responsible for bringing an end to the
bloodshed. He also accused the South African police of inciting the ANC-IFP violence. This
formed the basis for ANC's withdrawal from the negotiations, and the CODESA forum broke
down completely at this stage.

The Bisho massacre on 7 September 1992 brought matters to a head. The Ciskei Defence Force
killed 29 people and injured 200 when they opened fire on ANC marchers demanding the
reincorporation of the Ciskei homeland into South Africa. In the aftermath, Mandela and De
Klerk agreed to meet to find ways to end the spiraling violence. This led to a resumption of

Right-wing violence also added to the hostilities of this period. The assassination of Chris Hani
on 10 April 1993 threatened to plunge the country into chaos. Hani, the popular general secretary
of the South African Communist Party (SACP), was assassinated in 1993 in Dawn Park in
Johannesburg by Janusz Waluś, an anti-communist Polish refugee who had close links to the
white nationalist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB). Hani enjoyed widespread support
beyond his constituency in the SACP and ANC and had been recognised as a potential successor
to Mandela; his death brought forth protests throughout the country and across the international
community, but ultimately proved a turning point, after which the main parties pushed for a
settlement with increased determination.

In 1993, de Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their work for
the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new
democratic South Africa".

1994 election

The election was held on 27 April 1994 and went off peacefully throughout the country as
20,000,000 South Africans cast their votes. There was some difficulty in organising the voting in
rural areas, but, throughout the country, people waited patiently for many hours in order to vote
amidst a palpable feeling of goodwill. An extra day was added to give everyone the chance.
International observers agreed that the elections were free and fair.

The ANC won 62.65% of the vote, less than the 66.7% that would have allowed it to rewrite the
constitution. In the new parliament, 252 of its 400 seats went to members of the African National
Congress. The NP captured most of the white and coloured votes and became the official
opposition party. As well as deciding the national government, the election decided the
provincial governments, and the ANC won in seven of the nine provinces, with the NP winning
in the Western Cape and the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal.

On 10 May 1994, Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's president. The Government of
National Unity was established, its cabinet made up of twelve ANC representatives, six from the
NP, and three from the IFP. Thabo Mbeki and Frederik Willem de Klerk were made deputy

The anniversary of the elections, 27 April, is celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa
known as Freedom Day.

     IV. Democratization through Elections: The
               Colored Revolutions
                Introduction to the Colored Revolutions
The Colored Revolutions pushed hybrid regimes in Central and Eastern Europe to become
democracies though a process also known as the “electoral revolutions.”

In the first round of democratization during the “third wave”, many authoritarian regimes which
were established and stabilized during the Cold War era came under pressure from different
causes (or factors). Those causes pressured authoritarian regimes to start to change.

Some of the regimes were right-wing, US-supported military and/or personal dictatorships with
market economies. With the “third wave” of democratization, many of them have been
transformed into full and stable democracies (Argentina, Chile, Brazil, the Philippines, South
Korea, Taiwan etc).

Others were left-wing, socialist or communist one-party authoritarian systems, supported by the
Soviet Union and with centrally planned economies (Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia etc).

During the "third wave" some of these authoritarian regimes changed into the democracies,
especially those who were more economically developed and better linked with the West.

Others who were under a stronger influence of Russia have changed into hybrid regimes (we can
call it also competitive authoritarianism or semi-democracies) (Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova etc).

This later led to the second round of democratization of Central and East Europe. This round is
also called the Colored Revolutions or democratization through elections.

Colored revolutions have been attempts (some successful, some unsuccessful) to change hybrid
regimes into real democracies.

These hybrid regimes had lasted around 10 years with elections taking place, but with the
authoritarian rulers winning them relatively easily. After around 10 years democratic forces
gained strength and in some countries successfully challenged hybrid regimes.

In some cases they managed to oust authoritarian rulers from the office and until now full and
lasting democracy was established (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia).

In other cases (Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan) the democratic opposition ousted the previous
regime and took power, but then they did not perform well and have not behaved as democrats.

In the third case, the opposition made a big challenge to the rulers (participated in elections,
organized protests), but failed to oust them from power (Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan). So the
hybrid regimes remained in power until today.

The rest of this section shows the history of the Colored Revolutions and includes articles
analyzing the lessons learned from 14 attempts to oust semi-authoritarian hybrid regimes by
elections (8 successful, 6 failed attempts).

Why is all of this important for us in Burma?

Because Burma has partly already gone and is still going through the process of changing from a
full authoritarian regime into a hybrid regime. This is happening because there are a lot of
internal, domestic and international pressures on the regime and that pressure is pushing the
country towards democratization. There are also a lot of domestic and international "carrots"
which are pulling the country in a more democratic direction.

The change in Burma is happening top-down as the regime tries to adapt itself to new
circumstances in order to survive. The outcome for next 10 (or even more) years could be a
relatively stable, well entrenched hybrid regime which will guarantee power (and further
enrichment) to the current ruling elite.

Hybrid regimes are not "transitions to democracies." They are not moving anywhere. They are a
political tool to keep former or new authoritarians in power and at the same time to gain more
domestic and international legitimacy.

But hybrid regimes are not only a tool for current rulers to keep the power. They also give an
opportunity to the democratic opposition to challenge- and maybe even win- over entrenched
authoritarian rulers.

Several democratic institutions which exist in hybrid regimes (parliament, judiciary, media
and civil society) provide such opportunities, but experience shows that more than anything else,
elections are the biggest and best opportunity.

So let us study what are the lessons learned from transitions which tried to change hybrid
regimes into real and full democracies.


                        Colored Revolutions Timeline
1989: Fall of authoritarian regimes in post- communist Eurasia (Central and East Europe):
Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania, Baltic states: Lithuania, Estonia.

1991: Break up of Soviet Union: emergence of the independent states: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus,
Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan. None become a full democracy. Hybrid regimes. Frozen and open conflicts:
Nagorno-Karabakh; Transnistria; Chechnya; Abkhazia; Ossetia.

1991: Break up of Yugoslavia: devastating war and new states: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, later on Kosovo (Kosovo is still not recognized
by some countries). Only Slovenia becomes a full democracy and member of the EU. Others,
particularly Croatia and Serbia were examples of hybrid regimes.

1993: Peaceful break up of Czechoslovakia: Czech Republic (full democracy and EU member)
Slovakia (full democracy and EU member but only after hybrid regime of the populist Vladimir
Meciar has been defeated in year 1998).

Second wave of transitions in Central Europe & Eurasia. Successful electoral democratic
breakthroughs (“color revolutions”): Romania 1996, Bulgaria 1997, Slovakia 1998, Croatia
2000, Serbia 2000 (fall of Milosevic), Georgia 2003 (Rose Revolution), Ukraine 2004 (Orange
Revolution), Kyrgyzstan 2005 (Tulip Revolution).

Parallel to successful “color revolutions,” we have witnessed several unsuccessful electoral
democratic breakthroughs. In the following countries, opposition mounted a strong electoral
challenge, but failed to secure victory: Armenia 2003; Armenia 2008; Azerbaijan 2003;
Azerbaijan 2005; Belarus 2001; Belarus 2006.

Altogether in the post-Communist Region (former Czechoslovakia, former USSR, former
Yugoslavia) from 1992 – 2009: there were 14 attempts to oust semi-authoritarian, hybrid regimes
by elections (8 successful, 6 failed attempts).

Successful electoral democratic breakthrough (successful “colored revolution” ousted previous
ruler) led to successful democratization (post-election democratic development) in the following
cases: Romania 1996, Bulgaria 1997, Slovakia 1998, Croatia 2000, and Serbia 2000 (all cases:
strong influence of the EU).

Successful electoral democratic breakthrough (successful “colored revolution” ousted previous
ruler) led to unsuccessful democratization (the post-election democratic development did not
lead to the establishment of a stable and full democracy) in the following cases: Georgia 2003;
Ukraine 2004; Kyrgyzstan 2005. Countries are still both weak and fragile democracies which are
slipping back to semi-authoritarian, hybrid regimes (all cases: strong influence of Russia).

Unsuccessful electoral democratic breakthrough (unsuccessful “revolution”): opposition
mounted a strong electoral challenge, but failed to secure victory: Armenia 2003 and 2008;
Azerbaijan 2003 and Azerbaijan 2005; Belarus 2001; Belarus 2006 (all cases: strong influence of

                                                              Centre-right election                victory: Pr
                                 Iliescu and PM Nicolae Emil Constantinescu,                       PM Victor
Romania                  1996    Vacaroiu (post-com)          Ciorbea
                                 Bulgaria Socialist Party: Pr
                                 Zhelyu Zhelev, PM Zhan Interim gov under                          UDF Ivan
Bulgaria                 1997    Videnov, Pr Petur Stoyanov Kostov
Slovakia                 1998    Meciar                       Dzurinda
Croatia                  2000    post-Tudjman HDZ             Racan
Serbia                   2000    Mislosevic                   Kostunica, Djindjic
Georgia                  2003    Sheverdnadze                 Mikheil Saakashvili
Ukraine                  2004    Kuchma – Jankovic            Viktor Yushchenko
                                                              Kurmanbek Bakiyev                    and Feliks
Kyrgyzstan               2005    Akayev                       Kulov

Armenia                  2003    Robert Kocharian                      Robert Kocharian
Armenia                  2008    Robert Kocharian                      Serzh Sarkasian
Azerbaijan               2003    Heydar Aliyev                         Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijan               2005    Ilham Aliyev                          Ilham Aliyev
Belarus                  2001    Alyaksandr Lukashenka                 Alyaksandr Lukashenka
Belarus                  2006    Alyaksandr Lukashenka                 Alyaksandr Lukashenka


        Key Elements of Change in the Colored Revolutions
The key elements of the Colored Revolutions which were in place and made democratic
breakthroughs from competitive authoritarianism successful were:

        Elections;
        Opposition unity;
        Civil society mobilized voters to participate in elections;
        Youth movement;
        Humor, popular culture, expanded use of campaign rallies, marches, street theatre during
         the campaign;
        Foreign assistance & transnational networks of previously successful activists
         (considerable US support for opposition movements);
        Election monitoring and parallel vote counts;
        Nonviolent popular protest against vote fraud;
        Mass protests.

These strategies were developed in Slovakia, fully implemented in Serbia, and successfully
applied in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Authoritarian leaders learned their lesson and
therefore the strategies did not work in Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan (and Burma 2007 and
Zimbabwe 2008). But it started to “work again” in Tunisia and Egypt 2011.

Four key elements used in the Colored Revolutions for successful democratization were using
elections as an opportunity, having a united opposition, organizing mass protests, and increasing
the vulnerability of the regime. These tactics will be described below.

Elections as an Opportunity

Autocrats usually win elections without problems. Breakthrough elections are never elections as
usual. Autocrats lose only if elections become an extraordinary event.

What is necessary to make elections “extraordinary”:

      The reform of the election procedures in response to pressure from opposition and civic
       society groups and international pressure;
      Massive voter registration and get-out-the vote campaigns run by a broad alliance of civil
       society groups;
      Well organized parallel vote tabulations;
      Foreign and domestic election monitors;
      Impressive campaigning by the united opposition;
      Dynamic usage of local campaigning techniques: door-to-door campaigning; citizen´s
       forums, public-opinion polls etc.;
      Youth campaigns challenging and undermining the regime (showing its weakness,
       brutality, making it look funny and stupid);
      Growing optimism about prospects for change (there is hope, change is possible);
      Advance preparations for protests should the incumbents lose the pools but refuse to give
       up powers (see below).

United Opposition

In “normal” elections taking place in hybrid regimes, the opposition usually behaves in one of
the following ways:

      Opposition collaborates with the regime;
      Opposition runs weak campaign without energy and self-confidence;
      Opposition is fully marginalized, passive and acts only retroactively; part of it boycotts
       elections and part participates without any chance to get any significant representation;
      Opposition is divided, incompetent, disorganized and confined mostly to few biggest

Elections become an “extraordinary event” and truly competitive (incumbent can lose) if the
majority or all of the following elements are present:

      Unified democratic opposition;
      Opposition has a single, charismatic leader and a leader with the image of not being
      Use of public opinion polls;
      Opposition party(ies) organization has a nationwide presence and is capable of running
       truly nationwide opposition campaign;
      Opposition has financial resources to pay campaign;
      Opposition which cares for voters (citizens) and cooperates with civil society;
      Opposition has simple and targeted messages (no need to present a full reform plan, but
       simple dichotomy: us – them; good – bad; prosperity and change – stagnation and
      It is useful when the opposition has a chance to experience cooperation and unity which
       yields partial success (for example by combating local elections or protesting and
       pressuring the power-holder to drop measures which are particularly unfavorable to the
       opposition). That shows citizens that the opposition can work together and deliver results.

Mass Protests

Mass protests were essential to all of the successful Colored Revolutions, and included the
following elements:

      Expanded use of (opposition) media. Capacity to communicate to mass audience, not
       only liberal pocket-audien. Widening of media space;
      Expanded use of campaign rallies, marches, types of street theatre during the campaign.
       Widening of public space;
      Peaceful and often humorous protests mounted by youth organizations: Otpor –
       Resistance; Kmara – Enough Is Enough; Pora – It is Time;
      “Rock the vote” campaigns – use popular culture to mobilize youth against the regime;
      Preparation for protests should the incumbents lose the elections but refuse to give up
      Awakened optimism of the people, belief that change is possible. Overcoming citizens´
       feelings of apathy and passivity.

Advance preparation for the protests includes:
    Having a strategy and plan;
    Securing in advance public space for protests and logistics;
    Having a mass-communication strategy (with alternatives);
    Having a secure internal communication channel and technique;
    Having an army of trained volunteers;
    Having talks with the military and security-forces to make sure that they will not fire on
      peaceful protesters;
    Cooperation between democratic opposition and civil society groups.

Vulnerability of the Regime

Two factors are decisive in determining whether an unpopular regime will fall and be changed
through elections or not:

(1) Skills and determination with which the opposition and civil society implement the electoral
model of democratic change described above;
(2) Degree of the vulnerability of the regime.

If only some factors of the “electoral model” remain present (e.g. united opposition, mass
protests) without the regime being weakened in advance, elections will probably not bring
change. At least some of the following factors were present in the successful Colored

      Economic hardship (not decisive factor of change);
      Military defeat of the regime in a war it waged;
      Un-institutionalized powers (authoritarian rulers have not developed functioning
       mechanism to control the society, they do not have functioning parties or some similar
       organized group backing them from various offices) or the ruling party is disintegrating
       from within;
      Defection of key regime allies is critical for the democratic breakthrough;
      Increased international pressure for free and fair elections;
      Diplomatic pressure of the big powers;
      Democracy assistance;
      Despotic excesses: Authoritarian leaders go too far in the abuse of the power (they break
       too many accepted norms of political behavior, they become “too despotic”);
      Unwillingness to campaign: Authoritarian leaders run weak campaign (long tenure in
       office can cause leaders to take their power for granted);
      Excessive corruption;
      Growing public dissatisfaction with the regime.

Two important steps:

Electoral change is a two-step process: 1) a successful challenge (widening recognition that the
regime is weak and harmful and that it is possible to change it) and 2) defection from former
      First step: Successful challenges to the regime present themselves as political
        possibilities; widespread recognition by the opposition and citizens that authoritarian rule
        has become too dangerous, unaccountable, corrupt, or incompetent to remain in office
        (break of the “social contract” between the ruler and supporting clients and between ruler
        and the population – ruler has lost the source of their “legitimacy”)

      Second step: Defection from the ruling circles – by former allies as well as by ordinary

       Lessons Learned from the Colored Revolutions
   Democratic breakthrough might happen in a relatively unfavorable and un-democratic
    setting / environment – there is always hope.

   Removal of dictators is a necessary condition for democratization. Election to office of
    the democratic opposition has proven to be the best path toward stronger democratization
    (which counter- argues the “Spanish” argument saying the former allies of the
    authoritarian ruler are the best vehicles of transition because they can reduce opposition
    of the clients of the previous regime).

   Mass protests are essential- they took place in all cases of successful electoral democratic

   Mass protests are not enough for a democratic breakthrough – protests also happened in
    places where authoritarian regimes managed to consolidate power through and after an

   United opposition is an absolute pre-requisite for an electoral democratic breakthrough –
    all failed examples have shown the lack of the united opposition (but Belarus in 2008 has
    shown that mass protests and united opposition might not be sufficient).

   Electoral democratic breakthrough does not guarantee further post-election democratic
    development (negative examples: Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine). Elections do not
    guarantee democratic improvements.

   Failed attempts to democratize through elections and to oust incumbent, authoritarian
    regimes usually leads to a more consolidated regime and to a further slide toward
    authoritarianism (hardening of the regime; regime becomes more authoritative rather than

   International context matters – international context that has been favorable to democratic
    breakthrough and strong Western engagement has fueled positive change: Slovakia,
    Croatia, Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine. Unfavorable international context, including less
    interest of the West to support democratization and the re-emergence of Russia, has
    proven to be quite hindering: Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus.

   The following underlying factors of change do not play a decisive role: economic
    development; type of the government (presidential, semi-presidential or parliamentarian
    system); high level of corruption; existence of secessionist warfare.

   Economic development: poor economic performance weakens regimes, but does not play
    a decisive role in causing its fall. Strong economic performance (and access to rich
    natural resources) on the other side help regimes to consolidate power (Armenia,
    Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia – all experienced economic growth prior to key elections).

    Poor growth under authoritarians might not fuel the rise of democrats, but may create a
    path to power for even more authoritarian rulers (Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1990s). In
    many cases authoritarian rulers won a series of elections in spite of poor economic
    performances (Milosevic, Sheverdnadze, and Askar Akayev). But long term economic
    decline made it more difficult for the “patronage presidents” to maintain networks of
    political support (bankruptcy of the patronage network). Although poor or strong
    economic performances played a role in either weakening or strengthening regimes, other
    factors that are harder to measure also affect electoral outcomes.

   Electoral change does not happen in a demoralized or passive population, which suffers
    from and is frustrated by economic hardship and a corrupt government. It is necessary to
    raise hopes and to increase morale; to persuade citizens that change is possible and that
    there is a reasonable chance to succeed; to persuade citizens that the opposition is the
    better choice.

   It is necessary to weaken the regime in order to topple it through elections, and it is
    necessary to actively show that the regime is weak. Regimes that seem strong usually do
    not lose elections (even if they are not popular).

   Defection of key regime allies is critical for a democratic breakthrough (Saakashvili and
    Yushchenko were popular former cabinet ministers; the Serbian Orthodox Church
    defected from Milosevic; Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Feliks Kulov were prime minister and
    vice-presidents before Akayev fired them ) or the ruling party disintegrates (splits in
    HDZ after Tudjman death; disintegration of the Sheverdnadze´s party). In Armenia,
    Azerbaijan and Belarus (failed attempts to settle down authoritarian ruler) such
    defections did not take place.

   International pressure is a factor in the weakening of a regime or, on the other hand, in
    strengthening it. Democracy assistance is not the only factor which undermines an
    incumbent regime, but political and diplomatic pressure of the big powers matter as well.
    Failures in Azerbaijan and Armenia have shown that democracy assistance, if it is not
    combined with political pressure, is not sufficient. (in both cases, the geostrategic interest
    of the USA was aimed more at preserving the stability in the region instead of risking an
    unpredictable alternation in power)

   Although it is often assumed that harsh crackdowns discourage anti-regime mobilization
    by making people more fearful, Serbian, Georgian, Ukrainian and Kyrgyz cases remind
    us that tyranny can encourage popular resistance, because using extreme measures to
    keep power is a clear sign that a leader is losing both legitimacy and control.

   Even poorly performing regimes tend to have a solid group of supporters who depend
    upon regimes for protection and money and who might prefer “a devil they know” to
    instability and criminal persecution should the dictator lose power.

      Democratic opposition cannot make a breakthrough using elections if the opposition does
       not manage to change electoral procedures to prevent fraud and if they do not achieve a
       concession from the regime in the form of an acceptance of election monitoring

      Lack of opposition planning for follow-up mobilization can allow the authorities to get
       away with beating and jailing protestors. The opposition should have a strategy on how it
       will react to the suppression of mass protests.

      It is necessary for the (political) opposition to be pressured by the civil society (and
       donors) to unite; otherwise it is more likely that they will not unite.

      Elections can consolidate authoritarian rulers as well as weaken them and even topple
       them. Elections can consolidate authoritarianism as well as lead to democratization.

      Never ever lose the perspective of the “big picture” - authoritarian regimes are very
       unstable, especially when power is more personalized and less institutionalized.


           The “Real Causes” of the Colored Revolutions
                               (Based on the article by Lucan Way)

After the success of the colored revolutions in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine there has been a lot
of enthusiasm among activists and political scientists for non-violent strategies and tactics.
Inspiration was taken from Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Philippines and South Africa. Those
strategies were applied, tested and developed in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia. When it turned
out that the tactics worked, they were fully implemented in Serbia, and successfully “exported”
to Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. But after Georgia and Ukraine, authoritarian leaders
learned their lesson and due to this, these strategies did not work in Belarus and Russia (and
several other places).

The author of this article, Lucian Way thinks that too much emphasis has been given to
(nonviolent) strategies and their circulation.

He believes that it is necessary to correct some myths about how important circulation of non-
violent strategies and tactics is. He believes that regimes collapse more from authoritarian
weaknesses than from opposition strengths.

So it is always necessary to also analyze what has weakened the regime or what remaining
strengths of the regime still exist and make it capable of crushing protests and entrenching in

Way points out the following cases:

      Milosevic was weak and defeated by NATO prior to his fall. He experienced defection of
       the heads of military and secret police and other high-level loyalists. Sanctions and
       NATO bombing stripped Milosevic of resources to fund those who supported him as well
       as state salaries. Serbia faced looming power blackouts in the winter. This crisis
       mobilized more opposition to Milosevic than the tactics of Otpor.

      2006 Belarus election: the democratic opposition did everything according to the script of
       previous experiences (opposition united, Zubr, election, humor, own color, election
       monitoring, tent city) and – they failed to mobilize mass support.

      Armenia 2004 and 2008: they also followed the “Rose Script” and failed although one
       hundred to two hundred thousand people protested after the 1996 rigged elections. In
       Belgrade several hundred thousand people protested 88 days in 1996 / 97.

      In Serbia and Ukraine, there were big crowds, but in Georgia the protests were small
       (10,000). Shevardnadze fled because “he no longer controlled the military and security
       forces” and was “politically too weak” to order repression. In Kyrgyzstan in 2005 there
       were also just 10,000 protesters.

      In Ukraine, the opposition received campaign resources from local businesses, much
       more than from abroad. The Ukrainian orange revolution was primarily funded by local
       business. (Pre-condition: privatization happened in Ukraine, as well as in Georgia and

Deeper Structural Factors of Change:

      Country´s ties to the West (political, economic and social ties)
      Strength (or weakness) of the regime´s autocratic party or state

Autocrats have been more likely to hold onto power when their countries have weaker ties to the
West and when they have at least one of the following sources of power:

      A single, highly institutionalized ruling party whose structure is rooted in more than just
       short-term patronage (for example, if the party has a leading ideology, long history, and
       legitimacy in some previous battles. Good example: China Communist Party).
      A strong and well-funded repressive apparatus that has won a major violent conflict
       (many stable post-Cold War authoritarian regimes were founded in war or violent
       revolutionary struggle: North Korea, China, Cuba, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Armenia,
      State control over the economy or state capture of major mineral wealth such as oil or

Positive and Negative Role of the West

The presence of foreign monitors and Western assistance to civic and opposition groups should
not obscure huge disparities in intensity of external pressure for democratization.

Promised EU membership with a tough democratic conditionality has helped a lot in
consolidation of Central European democracies.

Intensive Western pressure (through diplomatic and investment and trade) has a significant role
in bringing down autocrats, but it works only in cases where there are dense linkages with the
West, or where there is a clear benefit for the elites as well as the general public in aligning with
the West.

If the West does not have significant interests or significant leverage and some other “bad”
neighbor has stronger interests and leverage (Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan,
Turkmenistan), then democratization will probably not succeed.

If the West has some other (security, economic) interests, it might rhetorically support
democratization and even provide democracy assistance, but at the same time avoid mounting
significant diplomatic and economic pressure (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan) and by doing so, actually
help a regime survive and consolidate.

Regime´s Sources of Power

The Karabakh War provided the Armenian regime with a military force that has the experience,
the stomach and the cohesion to put down one of the most mobilized oppositions. In 1996, the
military, police and Union of Karabakh War Veterans sealed off the capital, shut down offices of
opposition parties and arrested 250 opposition leaders and successfully suppressed civic

On the other hand, the loss of war undermines the capacity of a regime to use repressive
apparatus. (Georgia, Serbia). Interior minister of Georgia said: “police have not been paid for
three months. So why should they obey Shevardnadze?” Serbia lost four wars and at the end the
state was not able to pay state salaries.

Post communist autocrats in Belarus, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have maintained state economic
control by refraining from large-scale privatization. The absence of economic liberalization
makes it easier for autocrats to keep control. Belarus – state controls 80% of the economy and a
lot of the populace is on short-term work contracts.

In Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and to a lesser degree Uzbekistan autocrats
have been able to use control over gas and oil rents to pay friends, starve enemies, and fund
large, well-paid, and well-trained coercive agencies.

            V. Colored Revolutions Case Studies
                                Case Study 1: Serbia
Timeline of Events in Serbia

1980 – Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito dies.

1987 - Slobodan Milosevic gained sensational popularity when, during a minor dispute between
ethnic Albanians and Serbs, he invoked Serb nationalism. At that time he was a senior Serbian
Communist Party official and he visited Kosovo, told Serbs protesting against alleged
harassment by the majority Albanian community that no-one would ever be allowed to beat
them. The speech came to be seen as a rallying cry for Serb nationalism.

1989 - Slobodan Milosevic becomes President of Serbia. Milosevic's speech at Kosovo Polje on
June 28, the 500th anniversary of Serbia's defeat by the Turks, stirred up Serbian nationalism and
began the process of Yugoslavia's disintegration.

1991 - The first mass demonstrations against Milosevic's rule took place in Belgrade. Slovenia
and Croatia declared independence. Milosevic went to war, first against Slovenia and then
against Croatia.

1992 - Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence. Montenegro and Serbia form
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Civil war in Bosnia erupted; thousands were killed and millions
were displaced in ethnic cleansing operations. UN imposes sanctions on Federal Republic of

1995 – 1995 - American pressure to end the war in Bosnia led to the Dayton Peace Accords.
Sixty thousand NATO troops were sent into Bosnia. Sanctions were lifted.

1996 - Elections were held for the Yugoslav Federal Parliament - now including only Serbia and
Montenegro. Serbian leaders of the opposition Zajedno ("Together") claimed victory in 32
municipalities, including Belgrade. Milosevic annulled the election results, prompting successful
protests. The protests forced Milosevic to recognize and accept the victory of his opponents. The
opposition took power in most principal cities of the country, which provided a platform to
organize against Milosevic. The protest and opposition movements learned many key lessons
from their success against Milosevic in those protests - lessons which the Otpor students applied
in their movement beginning in 1998.

1997 - Barred from serving another term as president of Serbia, Milosevic was elected President
of Yugoslavia.

1998 - Kosovo Liberation Army rebels against Serbian rule. Serb forces launch brutal
crackdown. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians flee.

1999 - Defiance by Milosevic over Kosovo sparks NATO air strikes against military and
industrial targets in Serbia and Kosovo, until Serb forces withdraw from the region three months
later. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indictes Milosevic on
charges of crimes against humanity during the NATO bombing. Kosovo becomes UN
protectorate but remains de jure part of Serbia.

2000 - Milosevic accused of rigging presidential election to win against Vojislav Kostunica.
Mass street demonstrations ensue. Protesters storm parliament. Milosevic quits. Mr Kostunica
sworn in as president. Reformist alliance wins Serbian legislative elections by a landslide. Zoran
Djindjic goes on to become Serbian prime minister.

2001 April - Milosevic arrested in Belgrade and charged with misuse of state funds and abuse of

2001 June - Serbian PM Djindjic overrules Constitutional Court and authorises extradition of
Milosevic to Hague war crimes tribunal.

2002 February - Trial of Slobodan Milosevic on charges of genocide and war crimes begins in
The Hague.

2003 March - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic assassinated in Belgrade.

2005 July - Eight former secret police officers jailed for up to 40 years for murder in 2000 of
Serbia's former president Ivan Stambolic.

2006 March - Slobodan Milosevic found dead in his cell in The Hague where his trial by the
international war crimes tribunal was continuing. He is buried in his home town of Pozarevac.

Key Actor: Slobodan Milosevic

Slobodan Milosevic was born in Pozarevac, a small town outside of Belgrade, in 1941, the same
year the Nazis invaded Yugoslavia. In his younger days, Milosevic was described as an ordinary
but good student, serious and disciplined. At age 18 he joined the Communist party. He studied
law at Belgrade University, where he met the slightly older Ivan Stambolic, a party member who
became his best friend and mentor. In 1964 Milosevic finished law school near the top of his
class. Active in party politics in college, Milosevic was a master apparatchik with a talent for
manipulation and political survival. After college he held a number of party positions in
Belgrade city government. His mentor, Stambolic, was moving up the party ladder and through
the 1970s and 1980s he helped Milosevic advance.

In 1986, Milosevic was elected Serbian regional Communist Party President. That same year, he
quietly began taking up the cause of Serbian nationalism. Stambolic and others rightly saw this
as a major threat to Yugoslavian unity. By this time, realizing the importance of the media in his
drive to power, Milosevic had already begun bringing the media under his control. Throughout
1987, Milosevic continued to consolidate his power and launched an attack on Stambolic, his old
friend and mentor, which led to the latter's ouster as leader of Serbia. In July 1990, Milosevic

was elected President of the newly formed Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). Later the same year,
Milosevic used the cause of Serbian nationalism to gain the presidency of Serbia.

In the following years he started four Balkan wars, in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, creating
hundreds of thousands of refugees. The continuing wars and a disastrous economy led to serious
unrest throughout Serbia in the 1990s. These economic crises, and the impact of international
sanctions against Serbia because of the war in Bosnia, compelled Milosevic to sign the Dayton
Peace Accords in 1995, ending the civil war in Bosnia.

After two terms as President of Serbia, Milosevic was elected President of the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia in July, 1997. In March 1999, NATO began a bombing campaign in an effort to
stop the repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. In June, Milosevic agreed to withdraw from
Kosovo, and the bombing was stopped.

In July of 2000, seriously underestimating the depth of public antagonism towards his regime,
Milosevic called for early elections. Although he lost the elections in September, he attempted to
manipulate the vote. Ten days of strikes, protests, and massive civil disobedience paralyzed the
country, culminating in the storming of the federal Parliament on October 5.

Milosovic was arrested on April 1, 2001 and extradited to the Hague. His trial for crimes against
humanity began on February 12, 2002.

Introduction to Nonviolent Conflict

In removing Slobodan Milosevic from power, the members of Otpor devised a nonviolent
strategy. Nonviolent conflict shares some principles with conventional warfare: to paraphrase
Col. Robert Helvey (interviewed in "Bringing Down A Dictator"), the objective must be clear;
forces must be brought together at a decisive point; protagonists must take the offense and avoid
being on the defensive.

However, in contrast to the weapons of violent conflict, the weapons of nonviolent struggle are
psychological, social, economic, and political. In a nonviolent conflict people may refuse to
perform acts that they usually perform or are required by law to perform; or they may perform
acts that they do not usually perform or are forbidden to perform. Nonviolent conflict is not
passive; it is action that is nonviolent, though it can be very disruptive.

About two hundred specific methods of nonviolent action have been identified, classified into
three broad categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, such as banners, leaflets, marches, and
assemblies; non-cooperation (social, economic and political), such as boycotts, strikes, and civil
disobedience; and nonviolent intervention, such as hunger strikes, sit-ins, and guerilla theater.

Transition through “Electorate Revolution” – The Case Study of Serbia

Visible Elements of the Change

      Elections – power-holder seeks legitimacy (and believes in victory)
      Level of freedom of association and expression (semi-authoritarian regime)
      Level of media freedoms exists (network of independent local media)
      United opposition (temporary alliance against common enemy)
      Domestic and international observers
      Think – tanks (alternative policies, positive plan, solutions)
      Uncontested international pressure (absence of the big-powers geopolitical and
       ideological struggle)
      CSO campaign and youth movement
       - Voter´s mobilization campaign: Non-political, get to people vote, make them believe
           that the change is possible. Energizing demoralized nation.
      Civil resistance to the regime played important roles of:
       - Showing the weakness of the regime. Exposed, ridiculed regime from the popular
           culture standpoint. Emperor is naked – without power, charisma. Children waking up
           from their parents.
       - Taking streets day after elections. Effective communication strategy.
       - Not only in the main city, but in regions as well.

Less Visible Elements of the Change

      Milosevic lost the spell over society: was not only an authoritarian, repressive ruler, but
       also a popular one
      Break-up of “social contract” between the regime and the population
      Source of “legitimacy”: nationalistic promise of Greater Serbia (protection of
       endangered nation) lost
      Loss of four wars
      Public did not reject Milosevic because of the horrors of the wars he instigated, but
       because he did not fulfill nationalistic promise.
      Milosevic lost capacity (resources) to provide benefits and privileges for the clients and
       cronies of the regime (sanctions) Hardship and impoverishment does not breed change
       but make people passive.
      Repressive apparatus (army, police, secret police) partly deserted Milosevic in a moment
       of his fall. Desertion paralyzed apparatus as a whole (army and police were not ready to
       shoot people; quiet deal between the opposition and apparatus: do not interfere, and you
       will be amnestied).


The backbone of the regime was broken before the Milosevic's regime crumbled under the
pressure of the mass street protests.

        Its source of legitimacy and ideological spell.
        Total loyalty of the repressive apparatus and readiness to resort to harsh repression.
        Economic privileges to broader group of clients.

Introduction to Bringing Down a Dictator (Documentary)

In October 2000, Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic was removed from power—not by force
of arms, as many had predicted, but by a dedicated, nonviolent strategy of honest elections and
massive civil disobedience. Milosevic was strengthened by patriotic fervor when NATO bombed
Yugoslavia in early 1999, but a few months later, a student movement named Otpor ("resistance"
in Serbian) launched a surprising offensive.

Audaciously demanding the removal of Milosevic, Otpor recruited where discontent was
strongest, in the Serbian heartland. Otpor's weapons were rock concerts and ridicule, the Internet
and e-mail, spray-painted slogans and a willingness to be arrested. Otpor students became the
shock troops in an army of human rights, pro-democracy, anti-war and women's groups, and
opposition political parties.

"Bringing Down a Dictator" is the story of a nonviolent democratic movement that defeated the
authoritarian regime of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia through free elections and massive civil
disobedience. The students of Otpor took the lead, adopting a nonviolent strategy that traces its
roots to Mohandas Gandhi and the American civil rights movement, among others.


                 Case Study 2: Ukraine Orange Revolution
On November 21, 2004 the people of Ukraine were supposed to elect a new president. They had
the choice of two candidates: an appointed heir - Victor Yanukovich, the prime minister in the
government of the very unpopular outgoing president, and Victor Yushchenko, a popular
opposition leader.

Victor Yushchenko was perceived as a pro-Western, pro - European Union candidate, Victor
Yanukovich as a post-Soviet, pro-Russian politician with a questionable past. The outgoing
president Leonid Kuchma had an important personal stake in this election. For years the
opposition had blamed him for various crimes – from corruption to involvement in the murder of
an opposition journalist. A hand-picked “heir” was his best chance to secure post-presidential

The day after the election, the state controlled media declared Victor Yanukovich a winner.
Regime-controlled media claimed victory for Viktor Yanukovich. But credible exit polls showed
Viktor Yushchenko, the opposition candidate, had won.

Outraged with a falsified election the people of Kiev, Ukraine took to the streets. The biggest
mass protest in post-Soviet history captured the world and marked the beginning of the Orange
Revolution. It was just after 2 a.m. on November 22, 2004, when the call went out: “The time
has come to defend your life and Ukraine. Your victory depends upon how many people are
ready to say ‘No’ to this government, ‘No’ to a total falsification of the elections.”

In freezing temperatures, over one million citizens poured into the streets of Kyiv and took up
residence there. They marched in protest and formed human barricades around government
buildings, paralyzing all state functions. Restaurants donated food, businessmen sent tents, and
individuals brought blankets, clothing, and money. At night, rock bands energized the protesters.

For 17 days, a group of ordinary citizens engaged in extraordinary acts of political protest.

Instructions for teacher and students:

Watch the Orange Revolution film by Steve York (A Force More Powerful Films)

You can also use following video clips on YouTube:

The Orange Chronicles

Orange Revolution Trailer

Why are you there?

Time is now scene from Orange Chronicles

Changing of the Guard from the film Orange Revolution

Make a presentation using the PowerPoint “The Orange Revolution: Eight Years After” by Inna

Ask the students to read as the homework the Orange Revolution Study Guide produced by York
Zimmerman Inc. in association with the International Center on Non Violent Conflict.

   Research Assignment: Applying the Colored Revolution
              Analytical Paradigm to Burma
1. Comparison of Serbia and Burma (during Saffron protests & in 2015)

Elections:                                         S +,     B
Some freedom of association and expression:        S +,     B
Some freedom of media:                             S +,     B
United democratic opposition:                      S +,     B
Domestic and international observers:              S +,     B
Think tanks, positive solutions:                   S +,     B
Uncontested international pressure:                S +,     B
Civil resistance and youth movement:               S +,     B
Networks between center and regions:               S +,     B
Loss of spell over society (unpopularity):         S +,     B
Economic hardship of majority:                     S +,     B
Exhausted resources, lack of capacity to provide
economic privileges to group of clients:           S +, B
Not ready to resort to harsh measures:             S -, B
Lack of full loyalty of repressive apparatus:      S +, B

2. Students will compare in groups elements of change during the Ukrainian Orange Revolution
and Burma (during the Saffron uprising, 2010 elections and in year 2014-15 before next
elections) and than discuss what they have concluded in class.

Elements to be compared are listed on the following page.

                      Factors of Change Present Before Election Campaign

Deeper underlying social and economic conditions favorable to democratic change
which contribute to a better chance to achieve full and sustainable democracy after a democratic
                                                        Ukraine  Saffron   Burma      Burma
                                                                              2011      2014
Industrialized society                                    Y
Urbanization                                              Y
Education, higher level of literacy                       Y
Relatively good infrastructure (roads, railways, ports.   Y
Higher economic development                               Y
Recent economic growth (rise in expectations)             Y
Cultural inclination to democracy                         ?
Previous democratic experience                            N
Geostrategic spheres of influences, proximity to West) Y/N EU/Russia
Pull factor of some democratic neighbours                 Y
Market economy or semi-market                             Y
Rich in natural resources (oil, gas, diamonds)            N
Polarization within society / politics                    Y
(ethnic, religious, regional)
Full-blown autocracy (closed society)                     N
Hybrid regime (competitive authoritarianism)              Y

  Factors of Change which are Present in Pre-Election Period and During the Campaign

Elections as a rallying point, as a window of opportunity
Autocrats of the hybrid regimes quite often win elections without problem. Breakthrough elections are
never elections as usual. Autocrats lose only if elections become an extraordinary event. What is
necessary to make elections “extraordinary”?

Some freedom of association and expression            Y
Multi-party participation in elections                Y
Some freedom of media                                 Y
Some level of autonomy of some political              Y
and societal institutions
International pressure for free and fair elections    Y
Reform of the election law and procedures             Y
Civil society is active and sophisticated             Y
Mobilization infrastructure built in “soft” packing   Y
Massive voters registration                           Y
and get out the vote campaigns run by
broad alliance of the civil society groups
Parallel vote tabulations                             Y
Foreign and domestic election monitors                Y
United democratic opposition (see more below)         Y

United and effective opposition
In “normal” elections taking place in hybrid regimes the opposition is usually deeply divided. Some
opposition groups collaborate with the regime; some are banned, some are seriously weakened.
Opposition usually runs weak campaign without energy and self-confidence. Opposition is marginalized,
passive and acts only retroactively. Part of it boycotts elections and part participates without any chance
to get any significant representation. Opposition is often incompetent, disorganized and confined mostly
in few biggest cities. Elections become “extraordinary event” and truly competitive (incumbent can lose)
if majority or all following elements are present:

Single leader                                            Y
Leader with the image of not being corrupt               Y
Unity behind the democratic leader                       Y
(for example in UA Timoshenko agreed not to run)
Personal appeal (charisma) of the democratic leader      Y
Opposition has well-targeted campaign & message          Y
Opposition party (ies) has a nationwide presence         Partly Y
and is capable of running truly nationwide campaign
Networks between center and regions                      Y
Strong, creative campaigning                             Y
(prepared in cooperation with political
marketing experts)
Opposition uses new campaigning techniques               Y
(door-to-door campaigning; citizen’s forums,
public-opinion polls etc.)
Opposition has financial resources to pay campaign       Y
Democratic opposition cooperates with civil society      Y
Pre-step elections where opposition did not win,         Y
but developed organizational structure and won a
few smaller victories
Opposition has some foothold in state institutions       Y
(e.g. some members of parliament, control over local /
regional government in some cities / regions)

Independent media
Loyalty of the main media to regime                      Y
Possibility of parts of the main media to switch         Y
loyalties in a critical moment (defection)
Engagement of the mainstream media by West               Y
Opposition TV                                            Y
Regions had at least one opp. newspaper & radio          Y
New media, social networks mobilization                  Y
(for example text messaging was essential
at Maidan in UA)
Capacity of opposition to communicate to sizeable        Y
number of citizens through some mass media

Vulnerability of the regime
Unpopularity of the regime                               Y
Economic hardship of majority                            Y
Excessive corruption                                     Y

Sudden economic crisis                                   N
Exhausted resources                                      N
Lack of capacity to provide economic privileges
to group of clients
Military defeat of the regime in war it waged            N
Un-institunationalized powers of the ruler               Y
or ruling party is disintegrating from within
Snowball or domino effect                                Y
Well timed opinion survey proving unpopularity           Y
(only 8% supported Kuchma)
Personalized and targeted anti-regime campaign           Y
(Ukraine without Kuchma, Gotov je)
Defection of some regime allies                          Y
Diplomatic pressure of the big powers                    Y
Authoritarian leaders run weak campaign                  Y
Regime controls major segment of economy                 N
Support of oligarch business groups to the regime        Y/N
Readiness of smaller business to support change          Y
Division of the economic elites                          Y
Financial independence of the regime opponents           Y

Constraining the regime from the outside
Western business and political linkage                   Y
Country´s economic system is linked with global          Y
economy and dependent on its institutions
Western aid to institutions that check presidential      Y
powers (e.g. parliament , judiciary etc)
Assistance to independent opposition actors              Y
Western aid to country´s military                        N
Regional pro-democracy pull factor                       Y
West has points of leverage                              Y
Western constructive but critical engagement             Y
Western active courtship of president’s “people”         Y
Sanctions                                                N
Diplomatic presure                                       Y

       Period close to the Elections, During Elections and Immediately after Elections
                           (Democratic Breakthrough Momentum)

Mass mobilization, mass protests
Youth campaigns challenging the regime                   Y
(show its weakness, brutality, make it look funny and stupid),
Regime did not impede the initial mobilization effort    Y
Nonviolence tactics & humor                              Y
Well-targeted negative anti-regime campaign              Y
Using music to mobilize youth against the regime         Y
Expanded use of the campaign rallies, marches,           Y
types of street theatre during the campaign.
Advance preparation for the protests                     Y
Youth and opposition stage protests                      Y

Protesters remain on streets long time                Y
Presence of the “galvanizing event”                   Y
Quick and credible exposure of the (election) fraud   Y
Protests become massive                               Y
Democratic leader appears on TV                       Y
Growing optimism about prospects for change           Y
(there is a hope, change is possible)
Credible threat of the social disorder                Y
(opposition shows overwhelming mobilization capacity capable of blockage of the functioning of the state
and / or paralyzing economy)

Fragmentation & split of power monolith
Lack of firm unity among ruling elites                         Y
Lack of ability of the regime to control the state             Y
Readiness and capability to use harsh measures                 N
Well functioning intelligence service                          N
Loyal internal security troops                                 N
Sympathizers of change within intelligence                     Y
Disloyalty of some army commanders                             Y
Authoritarian leaders go too far in the abuse                  Y
Opposition capacity to resist repression                       Y
High cost of continued autocratic rule                         Y
becoming obvious
Defection of the ruling elites                                 Y

Power shift                                                    Y


        VI. Tactics of Hybrid Regimes to Prevent
                       Introduction to Hybrid Regimes
Now we are moving to another chapter of the story about authoritarians changing to become
hybrid regimes, and hybrid regimes being challenged by the well organized and smart opposition
which using non-violent strategies and tactics.

This chapter is about hybrid regimes becoming smart as well. Those who are still in power have
learned the lessons from the fall of their authoritarian colleagues.

Strategies of the "colored revolutions" have been studied carefully by security agencies around
the world, and authoritarians have developed their own strategies and tactics how to counter-
attack and how to undermine opposition before it becomes strong.

Putin has been the first one who ordered his secret police to develop counter-strategies and
counter-tactics. He has done that after the Georgian Rose Revolution and Ukrainian
Orange Revolution. In the meantime he and other authoritarians have learned a lot and they have
become "smarter". And they are ready to share that knowledge among themselves.

In order to counteract their strategies, we need learn a bit about authoritarian regimes becoming
smarter and about the dirty tricks current authoritarians play.

Hybrid Regimes
(Based on the article by Lubos Kopecek)

At present there are some regimes in the world that cannot be described either as procedural or
liberal democracies but still cannot be called non-democratic (dictatorships). These regimes
occupy a sort of “intermediate zone” between democracy and dictatorship. After removal of the
non-democratic regime, the process of democratic consolidation slows, and their future prospects
for democracy become questionable. It makes little difference whether these regimes are of the
presidential or parliamentary model; the division of power within the state is little respected. We
refer to such regimes as hybrid regimes. There are a number of ways to classify these regimes.
Among the most interesting are the concepts of illiberal democracy and delegative democracy.

Illiberal democracy is a term developed by political scientist Fareed Zakaria. Zakaria points
out that the concept of liberal democracy as derived from the ideas of Locke, Montesquieu, Mill,
and others has failed to take root in countries where hybrid regimes exist. Illiberal democracy
makes use of some of the mechanisms of democratic government, including formal
legitimization of governing elites in their offices by means of elections. However, these elections
are seldom competitive or free. Instead, electoral manipulation and discrimination by the
governing elites are common. This can come in the form of intimidation and physical attacks on
opposition candidates, domination of the media by the ruling elites, or active participation by the

state bureaucracy in making sure the ruling elites win their elections, including outright
falsification of election results. The rule of law in these countries is therefore weak; the political
opposition has no chance to receive justice. An important role is played by the personality of the
leader, which is often the main force holding a hybrid regime together. This element of authority
dictated by an individual illustrates the notion that illiberal democracy leans toward the
concentration and centralization of power.

A somewhat differing view of hybrid regimes is offered by Guillermo O´Donnell. O’Donnell
speaks of delegative democracies. Delegative democracy is often found in Latin American
countries (Peru, Argentina, Venezuela, and others). The central element of delegative democracy
is a charismatic and populist president elected in a direct election, giving him a strong popular
mandate (in the context of a presidential or semi-presidential regime). The president tends to be
strongly self-centered, ruthless, and populistic; however he may lack sufficient political support
in parliament and may therefore be unable to get parliament to cooperate in making good on his
election promises. Therefore the president and the parliament are in constant conflict. This soon
brings the president to the very edge of constitutionality, or beyond it; as a result the president
takes measures which are unconstitutional. The final result is confrontation between the
individual constitutional branches (president, parliament, and constitutional court) and between
the president’s supporters and opponents. Politics becomes a personal struggle over the figure of
the president-strongman. Also typical of delegative democracy are socio-political crises, which
feed into political confrontation. Politics are then taken to the streets and violence ensues.


             The Rise of “Competitive Authoritarianism”
                          (Hybrid Regimes)
                   (Based on the article by Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way)

The fall of an authoritarian ruler or pressuring (domestically and internationally) authoritarian
regimes to adopt democratic institutions does not necessarily result in the establishment of a full
(real) democracy.

Democratic breakthrough is still not democratization.

The removal of autocratic elites creates an important opportunity for regime change and even
democratization, however it does not ensure such an outcome:

      In many cases (Croatia, Nicaragua, Peru, Slovakia, Serbia) fall of the incumbent autocrat
       resulted in democratic transitions,
      In other cases (Albania, Zambia, Ukraine, and Belarus), newly elected leaders continued
       or even intensified many of the authoritarian practices of their predecessors.

The post-Cold War world has been marked by the proliferation of hybrid political regimes.

Competitive authoritarianism emerged out of three different regime paths during the 1990s:

      Established authoritarian regimes were compelled—often by a combination of domestic
       and international pressure— to adopt democratic institutions. Yet due to the weakness of
       opposition movements, transitions fell short of democracy and many autocrats retained

      The collapse of an authoritarian regime, followed by the emergence of a new,
       competitive authoritarian regime. The absence of democratic traditions and weak civil
       societies created opportunities for governments to continue to rule autocratically.
       However, these governments lacked the capacity to consolidate full authoritarian rule
       (postcommunist countries as Armenia, Croatia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine, as
       well as by Haiti after 1994).

      Deep and often longstanding political and economic crises created conditions under
       which freely elected governments undermined democratic institutions. But governments
       lacked the will or capacity to eliminate them entirely. (Peru in the early 1990s and

Countries across much of Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe), post-
communist Eurasia (Albania, Croatia, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine), Asia (Malaysia, Taiwan), and
Latin America (Haiti, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru) combined democratic rules with authoritarian
governance during the 1990s.

These hybrid regimes are not incomplete or transitional forms of democracy.

They are not partial or “diminished” forms of democracy, or countries undergoing prolonged
transitions to democracy.

Those countries are not moving in a democratic direction. They remain pretty stable hybrid
regimes (examples in the 1990s include Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, Zambia,).

In competitive authoritarian regimes, formal democratic institutions exist (elections, parliament,
multi-party political system etc.) and elections are principal means of obtaining political power.
But incumbents (those in power) violate those rules so often and to such an extent, however, that
the regime fails to meet minimum standards for democracy.

Model of Political Transition from Authoritarianism:

First Wave:

Authoritarian Regime- Democratic Breakthrough- Transition (change)

Potential Outcomes:
   - > full (also weak, fragile) democracy
   - > continuation of the authoritarian rule with just new elites in power
   - > establishment of the hybrid regime, a new political system which combines existence of
       the democratic institutions with authoritarian governance

Second Wave:

Authoritarian Regime- Democratic Regime- Establishment of Hybrid Regime (Competitive
Authoritarianism)- Second attempt to Democratize- Democratization through Elections

Democracy, Dictatorships and Hybrid Regimes:


      Executives and legislatures are chosen through elections that are open, free, and fair.
      All adults have the right to vote.
      Political rights and civil liberties are protected (freedom of the press, freedom of
       association, and freedom of expression which includes freedom to criticize the
       government without reprisal).
      Elected authorities have real authority to govern. They are not subject to the control of
       some behind the scene, unelected power (military or clerical leaders).

Full-Scale Authoritarianism

      Elections either do not exist or are not seriously contested.
      Opposition parties are either not allowed to exist or if they exist they are banned or
       disqualified from electoral competition.

      Opposition leaders are often jailed.
      Independent or outside observers are prevented from verifying results, which creates
       widespread opportunities for vote stealing.
      As a result, opposition forces do not present a serious electoral threat to incumbents, and
       elections are noncompetitive.
      Government bans or represses the opposition.
      Legislatures either do not exist or are so thoroughly controlled by the ruling party that
       conflict between the legislature and the executive branch is virtually unthinkable.
      Governments fully control the judiciary. There is no independence of the judiciary.
      The media are entirely state-owned, heavily censored, or systematically repressed.
      Leading television and radio stations are controlled by the government (or its close
      Major independent newspapers and magazines are either prohibited by law or de facto
      Journalists who provoke the ire of the government risk arrest, deportation, and even

“Hybrid” Regime (Competitive Authoritarianism)

      Elections are regularly held and major opposition parties and candidates usually
      Elections are not fair in a serious way.
      Incumbents routinely abuse state resources.
      Biased media coverage (the opposition is denied adequate media coverage).
      Potentially violent harassment of opposition candidates and activists,
      An overall lack of transparency.
      In some cases incumbent manipulates electoral results, but the existence of parallel vote-
       counting procedures limits the capacity of incumbents to engage in large-scale fraud.

BUT: elections are often bitterly fought.

      Journalists, opposition politicians, and other government critics may be spied on,
       threatened, harassed, or arrested.
      Members of the opposition may be jailed, exiled, or—less frequently—even assaulted or
      Incumbents are more likely to use bribery, co-optation, and more subtle forms of
       persecution, such as the use of tax authorities, compliant judiciaries, and other state
       agencies to “legally” harass, persecute, or extort cooperative behavior from critics.

Using bribery, co-optation, and various forms of “legal” persecution, governments may limit
opposition challenges without provoking massive protest or international repudiation. They may
do so in the following areas:

    Legislatures tend to be relatively weak, but they occasionally become focal points of
       opposition activity.
    Even where incumbent executives enjoy large legislative majorities, opposition forces
       may use the legislature as a place for meeting and organizing and (to the extent that an
       independent media exists) as a public platform from which to denounce the regime.
       Legislators may use legislature (and media coverage of it) as a place to air their views.

    Governments routinely attempt to subordinate the judiciary, often via impeachment, or,
       more subtly, through bribery, extortion, and other mechanisms of co-optation.
    Yet the formal judicial independence and incomplete control by the executive can give
       maverick judges an opening.
    Although governments may subsequently punish judges who rule against them, such acts
       against formally independent judiciaries may generate important costs in terms of
       domestic and international legitimacy.

   As independent media outlets are not only legal but often quite influential, journalists—
      though frequently threatened and periodically attacked—often emerge as important
      opposition figures.
   Independent media outlets often play a critical watchdog role by investigating and
      exposing government malfeasance.
   Executives in competitive authoritarian regimes often actively seek to suppress the
      independent media, using more subtle mechanisms of repression than their counterparts
      in authoritarian regimes. These methods often include bribery, the selective allocation of
      state advertising, the manipulation of debts and taxes owed by media outlets, the
      fomentation of conflicts among stockholders, and restrictive press laws that facilitate the
      prosecution of independent and opposition journalists.
   Yet efforts to repress the media may be costly to incumbents in competitive authoritarian

Four Arenas of Democratic Contestation

Due to the existence of democratic institutions in competitive authoritarian regimes, opposition
forces may periodically challenge, weaken, and occasionally even defeat autocratic incumbents.

The existence of democratic institutions creates opportunities through which opposition forces
may—and frequently do—pose significant challenges.

Four such arenas are of particular importance:
    the electoral arena;
    the legislature;
    the judiciary; and
    the media.

The presence of elections, legislatures, courts, and an independent media creates periodic
opportunities for challenges by opposition forces.

Such challenges create an occasional regime crisis and serious dilemma for autocratic

Potential outcomes of such a crisis may include:
    Autocratic incumbents survive the pressure of the opposition (Kenya, Malaysia, Russia,
       and Ukraine)
    Regime crackdown and move to more authoritarianism (Belarus)
    Authoritarian governments fail to crackdown and lose power (Nicaragua in 1990, Zambia
       in 1991, and Ghana and Mexico in 2000)
    Autocrats attempted to crack down but, in doing so, were badly weakened and eventually
       fell (Peru and Serbia).

Steven Levitsky is assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard University.
His Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America is forthcoming from Cambridge
University Press.

Lucan A.Way is assistant professor of political science at Temple University and an academy
scholar at the Academy for International and Area Studies at Harvard University. He is
currently writing a book on the obstacles to authoritarian consolidation in the former Soviet

             Why Democracy Needs a Level Playing Field
                   (Based on the article by Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way)

Multiparty elections do not bring democratization. Often incumbent autocrats repeatedly win

How do the incumbent autocrats survive in power?

      Electoral fraud;
      Repression (both endanger incumbents international standing);
      Uneven, skewed playing field (less obvious to outside observers)

Opposition more often than not loses such elections. After such elections, resource-starved
(democratic) oppositions are destroyed by defection, sometimes to the point of collapse.

Such disparities in access to resources, media or state institutions are so great that the
opposition´s ability to organize and compete is seriously weakened.

Incumbent advantages exist everywhere and this affects the quality of democracy.

Unfair access to resources undermines democracy itself. This may express itself though:
    State institutions are widely abused for partisan ends;
    Incumbent parties are systematically favored at the expense of the opposition;
    The opposition´s ability to organize and to compete in elections is seriously handicapped;
    Access to resources (extreme resource differences): the incumbent may directly use state
       resources. Or, the incumbent may make use of state facilities, vehicles, communications,
       or employees. Or, it may use the state to skew access to private-sector finances.
    Media access: the state monopolizes broadcast media, and the biased state run media is
       the dominant source of news. Or, the private media are closely linked to the ruling party
       via proxy ownership, bribery or other forms of corruption.
    Uneven access to the law: the incumbent controls the judiciary and deploys it against the

A skewed playing field allows incumbents to ruin opposition challenges without resorting to
significant fraud or repression and to retain power without sacrificing international legitimacy.

Although opposition candidates occasionally win unfair elections (Nicaragua in 1990s; Zambia
in 1991; Senegal and Serbia in 2000; Kenya in 2002), these opposition victories are heroic
exceptions rather than the norm.

The uneven playing field undermines the opposition´s ability to organize between elections.

The opposition can be unable to maintain national organizations and may be plagued by
defection. Facing collapse, opposition parties might view joining a governmental coalition as the
only alternative. It is not rare that they succumb to co-option in order to secure resources for
political survival (but this discredits them as opportunistic). “Realistic” or “pragmatic”
opposition parties join the government, and “principled” parties are so weakened that they
become marginal or disappear.

Origins of the Uneven Playing Field:

      Incomplete transition from single-party rule (state institutions and business are not
       disentangled from the dominant party capture). Incumbents keep dominant control over
       resources. (for example by keeping state control of the economy such as in Uzbekistan
       and Belarus; or crony privatization established extensive patronage ties to business elites,
       such as in Serbia and Russia).
      Rich natural resources (oil, gas, minerals etc).
      Underdevelopment. In the context of widespread poverty and a weak private sector, the
       financial and human resources available to the opposition are limited.

Overcoming an Uneven Playing Field:

        Economic development expands resources available (long term structural development)
        Split within the ruling elite (the most common) (many of the most dramatic David-
         versus-Goliath style opposition victories in recent decade were products of massive
         defection of regime insiders: Zambia 1991, Malawi 1994, Senegal 2000, Kenya 2002,
         Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004).
        The opposition might overcome weakness by allowing itself to be co-opted (Armenia,
         Cambodia, Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, Serbia, Zimbabwe). This
         is because by doing this the opposition can gain access to resources needed to survive and
         compete at another time.
        International actors can make a difference (external assistance) (Nicaragua 1990, Serbia
         2000, Slovakia 98, Serbia and Croatia 2000, Ukraine 2004).


               Preempting Democracy: The Case of Belarus
                                   (Based on the article by Vitali Silitski)

A series of dramatic events—Georgia’s 2003 Rose Revolution, Ukraine’s 2004 Orange
Revolution, and the Kyrgyz´s 2005 Tulip Revolution has ousted from power authoritarian
leaders in all three countries.

Many thought that this new wave of change would spread throughout the region, leading to the
ouster of autocrats in other countries. In reaction to the events in Georgia, Ukraine, and
Kyrgyzstan, politics is indeed changing in postcommunist Eurasia—but in many places it
changed for the worse.

Several of the region’s surviving autocracies have tightened the reins: Kazakhstan outlawed its
major opposition party; Tajikistan introduced new regulations restricting contact between foreign
diplomats and local civil society groups; Azerbaijan’s opposition groups and independent press
face a new round of attacks in advance of the November 2005 parliamentary elections; in
Uzbekistan, a May 2005 rebellion against President Islam Karimov was violently suppressed;
and Russian president Vladimir Putin passed a bill banning civil society assistance from abroad
and implemented an electoral reform that makes it impossible for parties independent of the
presidential administration to win representation in parliament.

Ruling autocrats have openly vowed to avert democratic revolutions in their own countries. They
directly attribute the downfall of their Georgian, Ukrainian, and Kyrgyz counterparts not only to
activities orchestrated by the international democracy-promotion community, but also to the
weaknesses of unconsolidated authoritarian regimes.

As many surviving autocratic leaders see it, the great mistake of their fallen colleagues was to
tolerate social and political pluralism, believing that it would give them a respectable democratic

façade without endangering the stability of their regimes. The lesson drawn by the autocratic
survivors is simple: They must step up the repression.

In Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan ruling autocrats have tried to crack down on the opposition,
but they have done that too late when they have been already seriously challenged. The
opposition political and social forces, which had developed earlier in the relatively liberal
environment of competitive authoritarianism, were able to resist the attempt to crack down.

In contrast, hard-line authoritarian regimes that are still in power have ensured their continued
stability and survival not just by sporadic reactions to already existing political and social
challenges, but by preemptive attacks that eliminate threats before they arise.

Preemption aims at opposition political parties and civil society players that are still weak.

      It removes from the political arena even those opposition leaders who are unlikely to pose
       a serious challenge in the next election.
      It attacks the independent press even if it reaches only small segments of the population.
      It destroys civil society organizations even when these are concentrated in a relatively
       circumscribed urban subculture.
      It violates the electoral rules even when the incumbent would be likely to win in a fair

By destroying political and social alternatives well before they develop into threats, incumbents
can win elections long before the start of the campaign. And the validity of their victory is less
likely to be contested when the strongest challengers have already been denied entry into the race
by disqualification.

Preemption has an enormous psychological impact on both the political and social opposition;
such systematized repression instills in them a sense of hopelessness and imposes the perception
that political change is far beyond reach.

While many post-Soviet regimes like Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Kazakhstan practiced pre-emptive
authoritarianism, it was Vladimir Putin’s Russia that was the first one to develop the strategy.

Even with a vibrant economy and high approval ratings, the Kremlin initiated measures not only
to discredit and demoralize the opposition with hostile propaganda, but also to strip it of anything
like a level playing field and, when necessary, to remove it physically from the scene.

While eager to maintain the pretense of “sovereign democracy” for the sake of international
legitimacy, Putin’s Kremlin freely twists election rules and party legislation so that no one of
whom it does not approve can even enter the contest for power. Russia’s managed democracy
might more accurately be considered a stage-managed democracy, he implied, given that the
Kremlin enjoys a free hand to appoint both the ruling party and the opposition.

Pre-emption is only one of the three major tools that autocracies employ to maintain their rule
via manufactured consent. Across the post-Soviet arena, regimes also exploit resource-based

revenues to purchase consent and unashamedly employ “political technology” – disinformation
and propaganda campaigns to discredit opponents before they even enter the electoral arena.

Autocratic regimes across the former Soviet Union as well as countries like China, Venezuela
and Iran have engaged in a process of authoritarian regimes actively learning one from another.
They use forums like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to analyze and develop strategies
on how to pre-empt and repress emerging democratic forces.

The Policy of Preemption: Belarusian Case

One Eurasian country has brought the policy of preemption to perfection—Belarus under the
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The Belarusian leader’s authority is based not only on outright repression, however, but also on a
fairly high level of popular backing. The unlikelihood of political change in Belarus in the
foreseeable future is primarily a result of Lukashenka’s policy of preemption, which he has
perfected since his accession to power a decade ago.

After being democratically elected in 1994 in free and fair elections Lukashenka consolidated his
power by:

      Establishing personal control over the entire state administration, the economy, and the
      Abolishing the autonomy of local governments by having heads of regional
       administrations appointed by the president;
      Introducing censorship in the mass media;
      Transferring the country’s most lucrative assets into the direct control of the presidential
      Using law-enforcement and audit agencies to attack and destroy private companies that
       financially supported the opposition.

Well in advance of the next parliamentary elections, Lukashenka was systematically
concentrating powers of his own Presidential Office and parallel to that he was systematically
weakening the opposition.

Lukashenka used state propaganda and his popularity among the people (popularity which was
strengthened by the state propaganda via media) to amend the constitution. He introduced the
following changes to concentrate the power of the president´s office:

      Extending the president´s term in office from four to seven years;
      Replacing the unicameral Supreme Council with a much weaker bicameral legislature
       consisting of a 64-seat Council of the Republic and a 110-seat House of Representatives.
       The new legislature will be overwhelmingly occupied by the hand-picked Lukashenka

      Presidential decrees were given the status of law, meaning that they could supersede acts
       adopted by the legislature;
      Furthermore, the prerogative of appointing members of the Constitutional Court and the
       Central Election Commission (CEC) was transferred from parliament to the presidency.

These constitutional changes were approved in a referendum. Parliament was avoided because
Lukashenka could not be sure that he would get his amendments approved by the legislature. The
referendum was marked by gross abuse. Independent election observers recorded more than two
thousand violations nationwide, but this sparked little public protest.

Among the abuses was an early-voting procedure, inaccessible to observers, that forced one-third
of all eligible voters to cast their ballots in the two weeks preceding the day of the referendum.
The official results reported that 70 percent of the electorate had voted in favor of Lukashenka’s
amended constitution.

The weakening of the opposition was achieved by:
    Imposing an “information blockade” on the activities of the opposition in media;
    Imposing restrictions on campaign spending and coverage of the elections in the media.
    Systematic discrediting of the opposition through state propaganda (the opposition was
      portrayed as descendants of World War II Nazi collaborators).

In 1999, some of the opposition leaders who were considered potential contenders for the
September 2001 presidential contest either died or disappeared. This is a typical measure of pre-
emptive authoritarianism to decapitate the opposition (to remove from the playing field potential
leaders of the unified opposition). Former minister of interior Yury Zacharanka disappeared in
May 1999 just weeks after he announced the creation of a new opposition group, the Union of
Officers. In September of that same year, former Central Election Commission chairman Viktar
Hanchar disappeared together with his financial backer. By the time of his disappearance, he was
emerging as a key figure in the opposition.

The October 2000 overthrow of Serbian dictator Slobodan Miloševic proved to Lukashenka that
even a semblance of competitive elections can be a threat to an authoritarian regime. By learning
the lessons from Milosevic´s fall Belarusian authorities:

      Banned exit polls, dismissing them as an unscientific method of verifying election results.
      The early-voting mechanism was used again, this time accounting for 17 percent of all
      More than two thousand election observers were denied accreditation only days before
       the election.
      The election commission included no members of the opposition, so the vote count was
       in effect entirely in the hands of the regime.
      The regime also disabled the mobile-phone network and cut access to opposition Web
       sites during the critical hours from when the polls closed until Lukashenka declared

In 2001 Lukashenka was reelected and his reelection was enormously demoralizing for the

Following reelection, his popularity has fallen dramatically, apparently due to his failure to
deliver immediately on his generous campaign promises. In 2003–2004, Lukashenka partially
restored his approval ratings by authorizing a massive increase in public-sector wages.

He also took new steps to weaken the political and social opposition. Regulations punishing
unauthorized street protests were radically hardened. Protesters at unsanctioned rallies
(sanctioned rallies could be held only in one location on the outskirts of Minsk) faced not only
physical beatings and imprisonment, but also financial fines of up to US$2,500—a yearly
income for an average family.

In April 2004, Lukashenka ordered the arrest of Mikhail Marynich, a former government
minister who had defected to the opposition.

The next step of the regime was to attack and restrict civil society. The regime forced almost one
hundred NGOs to close down in 2003–2004.

The independent press was also effectively silenced. After receiving official warnings that they
would be closed down, most independent newspapers resorted to self-censorship. The regime
became the sole source of information for most of the population.

The regime also stepped up its control over the educational system. New regulations forbade
institutions to grant students and professors leaves of absence to travel abroad and prohibited
contacts with Western universities. The regime also threatened to withdraw the advanced
degrees of professors and teachers found guilty of “unworthy behavior,” such as participation in
opposition rallies.

Artistic expression also became punishable. Following a concert during a July 2004 opposition
rally, all the participating musicians—among them some of the most popular Belarusian rock
groups—were banned from the airwaves.

Finally, the cost of “disobedience” was drastically raised for the state employees. In January
2004, the permanent-employment system at state-owned enterprises was replaced with
mandatory one-year contracts extended at the discretion of the management. As a result, any
form of protest (even passive protest, like refusing to take part in falsification of election results)
may bear a very high price for state employees.

Lukashenka has also reinforced his security agencies and purged their ranks of potential

The parliamentary election was characterized by abuse, harassment, and fraud. Almost half the
opposition candidates were denied registration or were disqualified during the campaign.

His preemptive attacks have prevented the rise of a credible and visible democratic alternative,
and his tight hold on the media has successfully kept most of the public in the dark—either
unaware of the massive abuses, or convinced that the regime would win even a clean election.

Preemption serves as an instrument of maintaining both the stability of authoritarian rule and
Lukashenka’s image as a popularly elected leader.

Vitali Silitski, Belarusian political scientist. In 2003, he was forced to leave his position as
associate professor at the European Humanities University in Minsk after publicly criticizing
Belarus’s government.


21st-Century Socialism Imperils Latin American Democracy
                                   (Based on the article by Otto J. Reich)

Recently, world attention has been focused on the historic struggle of the peoples of the Middle
East to free themselves from decades of dictatorship. While we read daily headlines about
ordinary citizens trying to shake off the yoke of oppression, authoritarianism is quietly advancing
in the Americas.

In January, The Economist magazine said of Hugo Chavez and his allies in Latin America:
"Today, the biggest threat to democracy in the region comes from leaders who, once elected, set
about undermining it from within."

Hybrid authoritarian regimes are being established in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and
Nicaragua by an alliance of "21st-century socialist" leaders who use free elections to reach
power and then start destroying the very institutions of democracy that put them in power.

This ALBA alliance, as it calls itself, is now actively exporting its political system to
neighboring countries.

A free and fair election is an indispensable requirement for a viable democracy, but it is not its
sole requirement. Any democratically elected leader who does not govern democratically loses
the legitimacy given to him by elections.

As a former Supreme Court justice of Nicaragua lamented in this newspaper after Daniel Ortega
became the latest ALBA ally to eliminate explicit constitutional barriers to his reelection, "This
is the only country in the world where the court has declared the constitution unconstitutional."

The step-by-step undermining of democracy followed by the presidents of Venezuela, Bolivia,
Nicaragua, Ecuador and others, includes the following measures:

        Corrupting the judiciary and/or intimidation of independent jurists who might rule edicts
         unconstitutional or fail to properly "prosecute" political opponents.

      Gradual elimination of constitutional separation of powers, including removing any
       checks and balances to the executive branch and giving it effective control over the
       legislative and judicial branches.
      Harassment, intimidation and eventual neutralization or takeover of news media.
      Establishment of "official," "national" or otherwise government-controlled civil
       institutions, such as labor unions, trade associations or pro-governmental civil society
      Militarization of society, which includes indoctrination of students and young people, the
       creation of armed "people's militias" to serve the ruling political party and the purging of
       the professional military to leave only loyalists within the ranks.
      Control of police forces by the ruling political party and the elimination of any
       independent citizen access to protection from abuse by government officials.
      Criminalization of peaceful dissent and of political differences.

Otto J. Reich is a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, assistant secretary of state for Latin
America and senior staff of the National Security Council.


                        The Dirty Tricks Dictators Play
                                        (By John Jackson)

Cunning bad guys are essential to most political dramas, and the real life battles between
democrats and dictators are no exception. As the strategies of non-violent resistance to
authoritarian regimes have developed, so too have the dirty tricks and counterattacks of the
regimes themselves.

In April a top-secret document, said to be from the Syrian Department of Intelligence, became
public. The paper shows a detailed strategic plan for the regime of President Assad to undermine,
weaken and destroy the country's pro-democracy movement. It identifies three key areas of
operation - Media, Security and Politics. The Media front strategy includes: pretending to be
opposition activists and advocating anti-regime violence to damage the movement's reputation;
fueling traditional ethnic and sectarian fears to create disunity; editing footage filmed by
opponents to contradict and discredit their stories; and having professionally trained 'eye-
witnesses' feed the regime's propaganda to foreign journalists.

On the security front the plan says "it is acceptable (for snipers) to shoot some of the security
agents or army officers" to "provoke the animosity of the army against the protesters".

The political tactics, some of which have been used in Iran, Egypt and elsewhere, call for: mass
pro-regime counter protests; the offer of dialogue (that some in the opposition will accept and
some will reject) in order to expose divisions; 'temporarily' satisfying the demands of some
groups but not others in order to divide the movement; and, presenting a coherent image of all
the "pillars of the regime". This last point is a direct counter to the non-violent strategy of
winning over key sections of society ("pillars") that keep the regime in place.

Autocrats have also taken the battle online, with social media and the Internet becoming tools not
only of revolution but of repression too. The Iranian regime has used crowd-sourcing to identify
protesters from photographs uploaded on the Internet. In Sudan the regime has taken control of
activist Facebook accounts and used them to deliver misinformation about the time and place of
protests. This has caused an atmosphere of distrust and consequently stifled online activism.

In Egypt, a fake Facebook group declared victory for the protest movement after Mubarak's first
speech in an attempt to get people to leave the protests in Tahrir Square. Twitter and Facebook
accounts, tweets and online groups have been used to track down and arrest activists. Social
media can also deliver soft intelligence, providing a regime with some sense of the word on the
street (or tweet), as well as what movements and activists are thinking. I'm reluctant to list too
many strategies here in case it becomes a training manual for the less sophisticated regimes out
there. These are just the better-known examples.

The interesting aspect of all this, is not that regimes have dirty tricks, but that they are learning to
adapt them to counter the strategies of non-violent political movements.

Observers of protests and revolutions have the challenge of deciding whether a breakdown in
unity, or an outburst of violence from a peaceful movement, are really what they seem. A very
sophisticated game of political chess is being played and each move may not always reveal the
true direction of the game.

It is clearer than ever, that movements that are disciplined, non-violent, unified, and politically
cunning, pose a powerful threat to the autocrats they challenge. It is for this reason that their
strategies are being carefully studied by security agencies around the world. There is also no
doubt that such movements have the huge task of cultivating, maintaining and strengthening their
unity and discipline against all the dirty tricks in the book. Their success or failure in that task so
often decides the success or failure of their revolution.

John Jackson, the co-founder and former director of the Burma Campaign UK, is the co-author
of Small Acts of Resistance, a collection of stories which show how courage, tenacity and a bit of
ingenuity can change the world ( This article originally
appeared on The Huffington Post.

             VII. The “Arab Spring” Revolutions
                          Comparing the Arab Revolts
                               (Based on the article by Lucan Way)
Since it began, the “Arab Spring” has been subject to comparisons with 1989, and rightly so.
Two decades after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, we have learned a great deal
about regime transitions—lessons that can improve our understanding of events in the Middle
East and North Africa (MENA) today.

Unfortunately, the comparison does not make one optimistic about democracy’s near-
termprospects there. The similarities and differences with 1989 suggest that more autocrats will
hang on in 2011, and that those countries which do witness authoritarian collapse will be less
likely to democratize than their European counterparts were.

Both 1989 and 2011 caught experts completely off guard, as protest and crisis spread across
regimes that almost all observers had seen as stable. In 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev’s liberalization
in the USSR and the fall of communism in Poland inspired previously passive populations and
inactive oppositions to take to the streets and demand change in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East
Germany, Bulgaria, and finally Romania. Such unprecedented mobilizations in turn terrified
incumbents into making extraordinary concessions.

Change in the MENA region came even more suddenly after the self-immolation of a lone
Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in late 2010 sparked nationwide protests that
eventually affected almost all countries from Morocco to Iran.

The events of 1989 and 2011 provide examples of how the mere sight of change in one country
can have an explosive impact on seemingly stable autocracies nearby. Dramatic examples of
regime change next door may (rightly or wrongly) convince activists that regimes they once
thought invincible are in fact quite vulnerable and motivate people to take to the streets through a
snowballing or diffusion effect.

Comparison of these two sets of cases, however, also suggests the limits of diffusion alone as a
force for regime change. The changes in Europe in 1989 proved so deep and long-lasting because
the snowball influence was backed up by a basic transformation in the regional balance of power
and the sudden elimination of a key source of communist stability and power. Gorbachev’s
decision to end the Soviet Union’s extensive backing of communist regimes in Central and
Eastern Europe created new challenges to authoritarian survival in the region.

Like their Central and East European counterparts in 1989, many Arab autocrats now face
unprecedented unrest at home. Yet many if not most Middle Eastern autocracies retain the
coercive and diplomatic resources that have kept their regimes in place for so long. Elements of
the external environment that have strengthened these regimes for generations (for example, U.S.
financial support and the Arab-Israeli conflict) have changed little.

The Arab autocracies of today enjoy better survival prospects than did the communist
autocracies of yesterday. Indeed, the contradictory results of the Arab spring so far—including
authoritarian retrenchment in Bahrain, massive repression in Syria, and instability in Libya and
Yemen—illustrate the paradoxical influence of diffusion in the absence of other structural

As long as the structural underpinnings of authoritarianism remain, diffusion is unlikely to result
in democratization.

Why Autocrats Fall

More often than not, autocrats let go of power not because they want to, but because key
political, economic, and military allies force them to give up after deciding that the regime is no
longer worth supporting. The readiness of elites to back the regime in a crisis is generally more
decisive to authoritarian survival than the number of protesters in the streets.

Thus Tunisia’s President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced out of the country by angry crowds
of thousands which, though sizeable by Tunisian standards, were hardly large enough to
overwhelm the military and police. By contrast, the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran
withstood protests by hundreds of thousands over six months following a fraudulent election in
June 2009.

Indeed, leaders who can keep the support of crucial elites are likely to survive even severe crises.
From 1989 through 1991, communist regimes whose elites remained cohesive were able to
survive significant mass protests (China) and severe economic downturns (Cuba, North Korea).

What makes regime elites in some countries willing to hold on in the face of crisis while in other
cases they quickly run for the exits? Today, students of authoritarian durability focus largely on
the importance of institutionalized elite access to power and patronage. Those authoritarian
regimes that provide stable mechanisms to regulate leaders’ access to material goods—especially
through political parties—lengthen time horizons and create incentives for long-term loyalty to
the existing regime. According to this argument, allies will remain loyal as long as the regime
has the capacity to pay them off.

Yet the sudden communist collapse of 1989, like the fall of Ben Ali and Mubarak more recently,
shows that even the most extensive and well-established patronage-based regimes are vulnerable
to sudden collapse and mass defections. In Tunisia and Egypt, high unemployment and
exorbitant food prices fed mass-level discontent; yet the regimes benefited from positive
economic growth in 2010, had plenty of money to pay their police personnel and soldiers, and
felt no shortage of patronage to hand out to top civilian and security officials.

Indeed, strictly material incentives offer a weak source of cohesion for regimes in crisis. If the
crisis makes those near the top of the regime doubt that it will still exist in a year, they may
calculate that they will have less to lose and more to gain by joining the opposition.

As Steven Levitsky and I have argued, the most robust authoritarian regimes are those that
augment patronage with nonmaterial ties. These ties bolster trust within the elite during times of
crisis and make it more costly for high-level allies to defect. Nonmaterial connections include
shared ethnicity or ideology in a context of deep ethnic or ideological cleavage.

The strongest and most enduring bonds, however, may be the ones forged amid armed
revolutionary struggle. As Samuel P. Huntington noted a generation ago, revolutions are
“history’s most expeditious means of producing fraternity.” Further, revolutionary struggle is
often accompanied by strong partisan ties and the sense of a “higher cause” that may motivate
leaders to hold on even if the regime looks vulnerable and patronage is threatened. Finally, and
perhaps most important, revolutionary struggle frequently creates strong ties between the
political rulers and the security forces.

Having emerged out of the revolutionary struggle, security forces are often deeply committed to
the survival of the regime and infused with the ruling ideology—all of which enhances
discipline. Violent revolutionary struggle tends to produce a generation of leaders with the
“stomach” for violent repression.

The existence or absence of a recent revolutionary struggle largely explains which communist
regimes survived 1989 and which did not. The ones that outlasted the end of the Cold War—
China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Vietnam—were all led by veterans of revolutionary struggles.
Regime survival was particularly striking in China, which faced massive protests in 1989, and
Cuba and North Korea, which suffered severe economic decline in the early 1990s when Soviet
aid disappeared.

By contrast, most East European communist regimes did not emerge out of a prolonged violent
struggle. Similarly, in Yugoslavia and the USSR, where the revolutionary generation had mostly
died off by 1989. As in Tunisia and Egypt, there was little to hold these regimes together in the
event of a crisis.

Iran, grounded in revolutionary struggle, is perhaps the MENA region’s most robust regime.
Among other legacies, the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War of 1980–88 helped to
generate ideologically motivated and effective security forces including the Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps and its paramilitary auxiliary, the Basij, which is considered “one of
the Islamic regime’s primary guarantors of domestic security.”

The strength and motivation of these forces may explain why the Iranian regime has survived
years of international isolation as well as the massive 2009 protests, which were about as large
and sustained as those we have seen more recently in Egypt, and much more extensive than those
in Tunisia.

Other countries in the Middle East lack such a revolutionary tradition but possess other
nonmaterial ties that bolster cohesion during crisis. In Bahrain and Syria, the regimes rely on the
intense support of minority groups. In Bahrain, many in the Sunni minority view the Sunni
monarchy as key to defending their interests from the Shia majority. In Syria, President Bashar
al-Assad’s chief weapon against dissent has been a military and intelligence establishment

controlled by his fellow Alawites, members of a religious minority that forms about a tenth of
the population.

Minority backing is not an absolute guarantee against collapse: Protests may grow too large for
even a cohesive military to handle, or things may get so bad that minorities abandon their former
patrons. On the whole, however, minority backing provides a potentially critical source of high-
level cohesion that other regimes lack.

In still other cases, such as that of Libya, autocrats have relied on family ties. In such
“sultanistic” regimes, the ruler’s sons, brothers, and in-laws control the country’s main economic
and administrative resources. Autocrats in these cases consciously weaken the state, both by
filling it with cronies picked more for loyalty than competence and by starving those parts of it
not controlled by close allies.

Thus in Libya, Muammar Qadhafi severely underfunded the military while ensuring that his sons
commanded the most highly trained and best-equipped militias. Such family ties gave the regime
a reliable, if small, base of support in the security forces. In contrast to Tunisia and Egypt, where
professionalized militaries drove Ben Ali and Mubarak out, the army in Libya was too poor and
weak to force Qadhafi from power. Qadhafi was able to rely on the unswerving support from his
militias in the face of international isolation and five months of NATO bombing.

By weakening the state, Qadhafi made his regime vulnerable to the kind of sudden breakdown in
social order that left eastern Libya under the control of an inchoate opposition in early 2011.
Such weakness, together with NATO attacks, forced the regime to its knees in August.

Why Democratization Succeeds

But even when the opposition does succeed in ousting dictators, democracy is far from
guaranteed. In mid-2011, autocrats in much of the Middle East were on the defensive, promising
reforms that eight months ago would have seemed unimaginable. After Mubarak fell, for
instance, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) made significant concessions
that included putting Egypt’s former president on trial.

“[T]he generals,” one report notes, “seem anxious to please the crowd, fearful, perhaps, that they
may become the next target.” In a similar fashion, ex-communists throughout the former Soviet
Union reacted to the failure of the August 1991 hardliners’ coup by abolishing the Communist
Party and proclaiming their support for democratic change. Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin
promised to fundamentally reform the KGB.

Yet in the absence of a well entrenched civil society, social pressures that had stimulated
political reform proved unsustainable over the medium term. Unchecked by any well-organized
liberal opposition, autocrats throughout the former Soviet Union rapidly regrouped after the
initial shock of transition. Yeltsin changed his mind and kept many of the old KGB structures in
place. Today, free media and competitive elections that had once seemed irreversible are no
more than a distant memory.

Such rapid retrenchment is made easier by the fact the most people have short memories. In the
early 1990s, public opinion throughout the former Soviet Union was seized by hatred of
communism, which citizens associated with empty shelves, shoddy products, and geriatric

A few years of economic collapse and hyperinflation changed all that, turning the communist era
into something remembered much more fondly as a time of stable expectations, guaranteed
benefits, and global power. Such nostalgia has been one source of support for Vladimir Putin in
Russia. In Moldova, such feelings helped to bring the Communist Party back to power in 2001.
In Poland and Hungary, ex-communists were able to win elections just a few years after
communism’s fall.

In countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, it is almost inevitable that within a few years—if not
sooner—the old regime will look a lot better to a lot of people. The new leaders will not be able
to solve the problems of corruption, inflation and unemployment that helped to spark the
protests. Further, Egypt’s transition has already brought renewed sectarian strife and increased
crime that may be blamed on regime change. As in much of the former Soviet Union, democracy
is likely to be seen by many as synonymous with chaos.

None of this means, however, that democratization is doomed to fail. Since 1989, all the
countries of Central Europe and even most of those in the Balkans have become democratic.
With the passage of twenty years, it has become clear that democratization prevailed across
Central and Eastern Europe thanks mainly to long-range structural factors. What made the
difference in these countries?

With the passage of twenty years, it has become clear that democratization prevailed across
Central and Eastern Europe thanks mainly to long-range structural factors.

First, the level of economic development seems to have been important. Of the ten richest post-
communist countries in 1990, Russia is the only one where democracy failed to take root— an
exception explained in part by Russia’s heavy dependence on natural-resource wealth, a
dependence that is widely considered to promote authoritarianism.

But the single most important factor facilitating democratization was the strength of ties to the
West. While relatively developed countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary would likely
have democratized even absent the European Union, the EU played a central role in other parts
of Europe such as Albania, Romania, and Serbia, where domestic conditions (underdevelopment
or severe ethnic tensions) were unfavorable to democratic development.

In countries such as Macedonia, Romania, and Slovakia, extensive engagement by European and
U.S. actors was key to discouraging authoritarian abuses and promoting a vibrant independent
media as well as pro-democratic nongovernmental organizations.

An Unfavorable Environment

It hardly needs stating that the external environment in the Middle East and North Africa is not
conducive to democracy. There is obviously no equivalent to the European Union and the
region’s relations to the West are, to put it mildly, rather fraught.

Further, both the threat of radical Islamism and key Western energy interests in the area will
continue to make it tempting for Western actors to support non-Islamist authoritarian forces for
some time to come. Such factors by themselves do not doom democratic development, but they
do suggest that, in stark contrast to Central and Eastern Europe, democratization in the Middle
East and North Africa will hinge almost entirely on each country’s domestic balance of power
between pro- and anti-democratic forces.

In both Tunisia and Egypt, there are reasons for optimism. In proportion to its size, Tunisia has
the Arab world’s largest middle class and, historically, its strongest labor movement. Egypt also
possesses a relatively well-organized opposition, albeit in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In both cases, leaders of the revolutions included many relatively young and secular democratic
forces that were in many ways similar to the forces that emerged during the “color revolutions”
of the early 2000s in Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine.

Nevertheless, the democratic forces in both Tunisia and Egypt are remarkably weak. Early in
2011, secular and democratic leaders benefited from pent-up frustration with the status quo but
were never unified. They also lack well-established organizations capable of penetrating society
and mobilizing consistent political support. In many cases, leaders command organizations that
have existed for just months or weeks. As a result, secular oppositionists in Egypt and Tunisia
pushed to delay elections.

Most critically, as of mid-2011 power in each country remained in the hands of holdovers from
the old regime. In Tunisia, veterans of the old order continued to dominate the transitional
government. In Egypt, the military was still very much in charge. As Jason Brownlee notes, after
Mubarak fell, “the country’s generals . . . did not return to the barracks, repeal the Emergency
Law (a core aim of January 25th organizers), or transfer executive power to a civilian-led
transitional committee.”

Indeed, the SCAF, its occasional responsiveness to opposition criticism notwithstanding,
continued to censor the media and put severe restrictions on protest. The fact that democratic
prospects hinge on the magnanimity of longtime authoritarians is troubling to say the least.

At the same time, in both Tunisia and Egypt the best-organized social forces are rooted in
traditions of radical Islam and have an uncertain commitment to liberal democracy. In Tunisia,
the recently legalized Islamist formation known as Hizb al-Nahda (Renaissance Party) is by far
the most highly organized, extensive, and experienced political force in the country.

Although al-Nahda bills itself as a moderate Islamic grouping in the mold of Turkey’s Justice
and Development Party, some fear that its victory in elections might lead to the birth of an

undemocratic Islamist government. Still others argue that intransigent secular reactions to al-
Nahda promote polarization that will undermine the establishment of a stable democratic order.

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, which at first did not support protests in January, has now
replaced the secular youth as the driving force of change in the country. The young people who
filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square may know how to use Facebook, but the Brotherhood has a branch
in every neighborhood and town.

In March, it used religious appeals to urge voters to approve a referendum on early elections that
passed overwhelmingly despite strong opposition from newer democratic forces. The
Brotherhood is itself facing internal divisions and has so far refrained from seeking executive
power. Nevertheless, its dominance—as well as the emergence of more radical Islamic forces
such as the Salafists—could threaten democratic development. This is especially true if Islamists
secure an alliance with the military—an outcome that some fear has already occurred.

Finally, the prospects for democracy are dimmest in Libya. Here, the central challenge is not just
the potential dominance of old-regime elites or a civil society weakened by 42 years of quasi-
totalitarian rule, but the difficulties that leaders will have in establishing any kind of political
order—democratic or authoritarian.

In both 1989 and 2011, the world witnessed the surprising vulnerability of many ostensibly
stable and entrenched authoritarian regimes. These events have taught us that, just because an
autocracy has persisted for many years, we cannot assume that it will remain stable in the face of
serious opposition. In order to better understand the potential for authoritarian instability, we
must look at what forces hold authoritarian elites together.

Those regimes rooted in recent revolutionary struggle often survive even the most severe
economic crises or opposition challenges, as did China’s rulers in 1989 and Cuba’s and North
Korea’s in the early 1990s. For this reason, Iran may be the most robust authoritarian regime in
the MENA region today.

By contrast, regimes that lack nonmaterial sources of cohesion are likely to be vulnerable if a
strong opposition challenge emerges. At the same time, as we saw in the former Soviet
Union, authoritarian collapse hardly guarantees democracy.

Given the continued dominance of old-regime actors, the weakness of democratic forces, and the
current international environment, some form of authoritarianism is likely to dominate the
Middle East and North Africa for a long time to come.

Lucan Way is associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto and coauthor
(with Steven Levitsky) of Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War

                         VII. Further Resources
                   198 Methods of Nonviolent Action
                                        By Gene Sharp

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT                        30. Rude gestures
PROTEST AND PERSUASION                           Pressures on Individuals
Formal Statements                                31. "Haunting" officials
1. Public Speeches                               32. Taunting officials
2. Letters of opposition or support              33. Fraternization
3. Declarations by organizations and             34. Vigils
4. Signed public statements                      Drama and Music
5. Declarations of indictment and intention      35. Humorous skits and pranks
6. Group or mass petitions                       36. Performances of plays and music
                                                 37. Singing
Communications with a Wider Audience
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols             Processions
8. Banners, posters, and displayed               38. Marches
communications                                   39. Parades
9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books                40. Religious processions
10. Newspapers and journals                      41. Pilgrimages
11. Records, radio, and television               42. Motorcades
12. Skywriting and earthwriting
                                                 Honoring the Dead
Group Representations                            43. Political mourning
13. Deputations                                  44. Mock funerals
14. Mock awards                                  45. Demonstrative funerals
15. Group lobbying                               46. Homage at burial places
16. Picketing
17. Mock elections                               Public Assemblies
                                                 47. Assemblies of protest or support
Symbolic Public Acts                             48. Protest meetings
18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors        49. Camouflaged meetings of protest
19. Wearing of symbols                           50. Teach-ins
20. Prayer and worship
21. Delivering symbolic objects                  Withdrawal and Renunciation
22. Protest disrobings                           51. Walk-outs
23. Destruction of own property                  52. Silence
24. Symbolic lights                              53. Renouncing honors
25. Displays of portraits                        54. Turning one's back
26. Paint as protest
27. New signs and names
28. Symbolic sounds
29. Symbolic reclamations

THE METHODS OF SOCIAL                     Action by Owners and Management
NONCOOPERATION                            81. Traders' boycott
Ostracism of Persons                      82. Refusal to let or sell property
55. Social boycott                        83. Lockout
56. Selective social boycott              84. Refusal of industrial assistance
57. Lysistratic nonaction                 85. Merchants' "general strike"
58. Excommunication
59. Interdict                             Action by Holders of Financial Resources
                                          86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
Noncooperation with Social Events,        87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and
Customs, and Institutions                 assessments
60. Suspension of social and sports       88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
activities                                89. Severance of funds and credit
61. Boycott of social affairs             90. Revenue refusal
62. Student strike                        91. Refusal of a government's money
63. Social disobedience
64. Withdrawal from social institutions   Action by Governments
                                          92. Domestic embargo
Withdrawal from the Social System         93. Blacklisting of traders
65. Stay-at-home                          94. International sellers' embargo
66. Total personal noncooperation         95. International buyers' embargo
67. "Flight" of workers                   96. International trade embargo
68. Sanctuary
69. Collective disappearance              THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC
70. Protest emigration (hijrat)           NONCOOPERATION: (2)THE STRIKE

THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC                   Symbolic Strikes
NONCOOPERATION: (1) ECONOMIC              97. Protest strike
BOYCOTTS                                  98. Quickie walkout (lightning strike)
Actions by Consumers
71. Consumers' boycott                    Agricultural Strikes
72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods     99. Peasant strike
73. Policy of austerity                   100. Farm Workers' strike
74. Rent withholding
75. Refusal to rent                       Strikes by Special Groups
76. National consumers' boycott           101. Refusal of impressed labor
77. International consumers' boycott      102. Prisoners' strike
                                          103. Craft strike
Action by Workers and Producers           104. Professional strike
78. Workmen's boycott
79. Producers' boycott                    Ordinary Industrial Strikes
                                          105. Establishment strike
Action by Middlemen                       106. Industry strike
80. Suppliers' and handlers' boycott      107. Sympathetic strike

Restricted Strikes                               Citizens' Alternatives to Obedience
108. Detailed strike                             133. Reluctant and slow compliance
109. Bumper strike                               134. Nonobedience in absence of direct
110. Slowdown strike                             supervision
111. Working-to-rule strike                      135. Popular nonobedience
112. Reporting "sick" (sick-in)                  136. Disguised disobedience
113. Strike by resignation                       137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to
114. Limited strike                              disperse
115. Selective strike                            138. Sitdown
                                                 139. Noncooperation with conscription and
Multi-Industry Strikes                           deportation
116. Generalized strike                          140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
117. General strike                              141. Civil disobedience of "illegitimate"
Combination of Strikes and Economic
Closures                                         Action by Government Personnel
118. Hartal                                      142. Selective refusal of assistance by
119. Economic shutdown                           government aides
                                                 143. Blocking of lines of command and
THE METHODS OF POLITICAL                         144. Stalling and obstruction
NONCOOPERATION                                   145. General administrative noncooperation
Rejection of Authority                           146. Judicial noncooperation
120. Withholding or withdrawal of                147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective
allegiance                                       noncooperation by enforcement agents
121. Refusal of public support                   148. Mutiny
122. Literature and speeches advocating
resistance                                       Domestic Governmental Action
                                                 149. Quasi-legal evasions and delays
Citizens' Noncooperation with                    150. Noncooperation by constituent
Government                                       governmental units
123. Boycott of legislative bodies
124. Boycott of elections                        International Governmental Action
125. Boycott of government employment            151. Changes in diplomatic and other
and positions                                    representations
126. Boycott of government depts.,               152. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic
agencies, and other bodies                       events
127. Withdrawal from government                  153. Withholding of diplomatic recognition
educational institutions                         154. Severance of diplomatic relations
128. Boycott of government-supported             155. Withdrawal from international
organizations                                    organizations
129. Refusal of assistance to enforcement        156. Refusal of membership in international
agents                                           bodies
130. Removal of own signs and placemarks         157. Expulsion from international
131. Refusal to accept appointed officials       organizations
132. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT               177. Speak-in
INTERVENTION                            178. Guerrilla theater
                                        179. Alternative social institutions
Psychological Intervention              180. Alternative communication system
158. Self-exposure to the elements
159. The fast                           Economic Intervention
a) Fast of moral pressure               181. Reverse strike
b) Hunger strike                        182. Stay-in strike
c) Satyagrahic fast                     183. Nonviolent land seizure
160. Reverse trial                      184. Defiance of blockades
161. Nonviolent harassment              185. Politically motivated counterfeiting
                                        186. Preclusive purchasing
Physical Intervention                   187. Seizure of assets
162. Sit-in                             188. Dumping
163. Stand-in                           189. Selective patronage
164. Ride-in                            190. Alternative markets
165. Wade-in                            191. Alternative transportation systems
166. Mill-in                            192. Alternative economic institutions
167. Pray-in
168. Nonviolent raids                   Political Intervention
169. Nonviolent air raids               193. Overloading of administrative systems
170. Nonviolent invasion                194. Disclosing identities of secret agents
171. Nonviolent interjection            195. Seeking imprisonment
172. Nonviolent obstruction             196. Civil disobedience of "neutral" laws
173. Nonviolent occupation              197. Work-on without collaboration
                                        198. Dual sovereignty and parallel
Social Intervention                     government
174. Establishing new social patterns
175. Overloading of facilities
176. Stall-in

                                 Website Resources
International Center on Non-Violent Conflict:

ICNC Resource Library:

The Albert Einstein Institute:

       This website also offers many publications for free download, including:

       From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp
       Available for download in 27 languages

       Self-Liberation by Gene Sharp, with the assistance of Jamila Raqib
       Available in English and Vietnamese

       On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict by Robert Helvey
       Available in: English, Burmese, Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

       There Are Realistic Alternatives by Gene Sharp
       Downloadable in English, Arabic, Azeri, French, and Hebrew

Arab Spring Resources:

Interactive Timeline of the Arab Spring:

In-depth Analysis of Democratization Movements in the Middle East:

              Website Links to Four Case Studies:
      Tunisia, the Philippines, South Africa and Indonesia
The following information can be used to help students prepare for a research presentation, or to
learn the general background and history of transitions to democracy in Tunisia, the Philippines,
South Africa and Indonesia.

Tunisia: Transition to Democracy following Jasmine Revolution

President Ben Ali ruled Tunisia as an authoritarian dictator from 1987 until this year. Protests
started in December 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi, a young street vendor, set himself on fire
after the police humiliated him and confiscated his goods. His act sparked protests around the
country and led to Ben Ali fleeing the country 28 days later. The ruling party was dissolved and
parliamentary elections were held in October 2011.

Region: North Africa

Philippines: Transition to Democracy following People Power Revolution

For fourteen years the Philippines was under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Although
Marcos allowed elections, he rigged the results and continued to rule. In 1986 a huge ‘People
Power’ movement, involving students, workers and church officials took to the streets. Many
military personnel also joined People Power. Marcos and his regime were forced out of office.
Corazon Aquino, the winner of the previous election, was able to take up her position as
president (from Systems of Democracy).

Region: Southeast Asia,9171,960881,00.html

South Africa: Transition to Democracy following Negotiated End of Apartheid System

From 1948, South Africa had an apartheid system, where only white people were allowed to
vote and participate in national politics. Black, Asian and mixed-race South Africans did not
have the same rights as white people. International economic sanctions and civil unrest
eventually forced the South African government to negotiate. President Frederick de Klerk
worked with Nelson Mandela, the leader of the opposition African National Congress, to hold
democratic elections. In 1994, Mandela was elected president (from Systems of Democracy).

Region: Africa


Indonesia: Transition to Democracy following Fall of Suharto

For 32 years, Indonesia was ruled by the military under General Suharto. His regime jailed
banned opposition parties, and concentrated power in himself, and his family and friends. By
1997 Indonesia was having major economic problems. Suharto resigned in May 1998 following
huge street demonstrations. Vice President B.J. Habibie, a long-time Suharto supporter was
appointed president, but agreed to hold elections in June (from Systems of Democracy.)

Region: Southeast Asia
BBC News: (many more articles available by looking through “Indonesia on the Brink”
Freedom House:


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