Spring 2017

The Prospects for a Color Revolution in Russia

Valerie Jane Bunce

From 1998 to 2005, six “color revolutions” took place in postcommunist Europe and Eurasia that led to the defeat of authoritarian incumbents or their anointed successors, the empowerment of opposition forces, and the introduction of democratic reforms. Similar to and in close proximity of those regimes, Russia is a logical candidate for such a color revolution. Indeed, personalized rule makes Putin’s Russia vulnerable. Yet Putin has been extraordinarily effective in preempting the possibility of an opposition victory in Russian presidential and parliamentary elections. Valerie Bunce weighs the mixed possibilities and offers her assessment of the likelihood of a color revolution overthrowing Putin’s Russia.