Color Revolutions: The Most Sophisticated Means Of Warfare – Analysis

Color revolutions are political term used to describe turbulent political events: mass street protests and riots in order to achieve a revolutionary change of government. Some revolutionary upheavals are successful and some remain only attempts. However, so far they have taken place in a number of countries at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.

Color revolutions broke out in the countries of the former Soviet Union, in the Balkans, in the Middle East, and more recently in other places such as Iran and China. The most popular revolutions ares: the Pink Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005, and the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014. Some observers called the events a revolutionary wave whose beginnings can be traced back to 1986 and the Philippine Yellow Revolution.

The world we live in is changing more and more from day to day and so are the means of political struggle. Conquering power by military means is to some extent obsolete because people no longer have the will to die in the trenches like they used to. Classic wars are expensive and long and are being replaced by more subtle ways of conquering a certain area. One of the most important is the colored revolution. Under the guise of a democratic uprising, the removal of an unskilled government or a coup d’etat is actually being carried out.

Most often, external powers (without exception, the West) sponsor, plan, organize and implement “revolutions”. The role of external forces in colored revolutions is crucial and without them they cannot arise. These are revolutions mostly in name only. In fact, it is a sophisticated form of warfare, often an international conflict, although the legal profession does not (yet) recognize it as such.

Continuity of colored revolutions

Regime change has been an important feature of US foreign policy for decades, beginning with the overthrow of the Syrian government in 1949. Since then, it has been estimated that the CIA has overthrown or attempted to overthrow over 50 governments, although it has admitted only 7 cases. Color revolutions are an integral part of US foreign policy that seeks regime change in hostile countries.

In addition to the CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon and various US and domestic non-governmental organizations are most often engaged. In the last decade, a long list of countries with relatively stable political systems experienced colorful revolutions. Somewhere they were more and somewhere less successful: Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, China, Iran, Venezuela. The regime change scenarios in all these countries show striking similarities.

The same patterns are persistently repeated, which cannot be mere coincidence. Egypt and Ukraine are very different, but the January 25 revolution in Egypt in 2011 and the Euromaidan revolution in 2014 are so similar that even the behavior of the revolutionaries was the same: moderate Islamists in Egypt and radical nationalists in Ukraine.

Definition of the phenomenon

Even Western media today point out that color revolutions (which are described as technologies aimed at exporting democracy through civil disobedience) have become so sophisticated that their methods have turned into guidelines for changing political regimes. Initially, the color revolution was presented as a non-violent overthrow of the government including a change of political regime. Over time, the definition became broader: almost all coups started with peaceful protests and demonstrations, but only one out of five coups passed without casualties.

The true definition of color revolutions would be that they are technologies for creating a coup and gaining control of the political situation in a certain country from abroad, under conditions of political instability, with pressure on the government through political blackmail using the youth protest movement as a means. The goal of every color revolution is a coup d’etat, or the conquest and maintenance of power by force. Despite the great differences between the countries where revolutions break out (geopolitical, social, economic and other), they all fall under the same scheme that includes the pattern of organizing a protest movement, transforming that movement into a political crowd and using the newly formed popular mass against the existing government as a means of political blackmail.

Colored revolutions – hard power

Color revolutions do not represent the soft power of a state, as the American political scientist Joseph Nye claims. If it were so, it would mean that the color revolutions are a progressive step forward in the fight against authoritarian regimes.

However, they are no less dangerous than local civil wars that arose due to authentic local reasons. That is precisely such revolutions are often the triggers of wars – for example in Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Color revolutions are very often instruments for the destruction of democratic governments in transition. In revolutions, government is the goal and political change is the goal. It would be fair to say that the Americans have not only created a political model for export but also special means to break (un)democratic systems if necessary. They represent a hard power that is admittedly softer than wars (between countries).

Conditions for the emergence of color revolutions

In order for revolutions to be successful, the necessary conditions for their emergence must first be created. The first and basic condition is political instability in the country, which is accompanied by a crisis of the current authorities. Political instability can be created due to electoral fraud, poor economic conditions in the country, dissatisfaction of certain groups such as farmers or artisans, school workers or medical personnel, etc. If the political situation is stable, destabilization must be created in an artificial way.

The characteristic features of revolutions are: political blackmail and the movement of young dissidents. For example country A and country B are in a diplomatic conflict over certain political issues such as borders or control over some resources. Country A wants to obtain certain concessions from country B and decides to use the colored revolutionary movement to exert pressure and achieve its political goal. The movement of young dissidents can most often be created through the student population and the dissatisfaction of students due to exorbitant tuition fees, poor conditions in canteens, overcrowded dormitories. Students organize street protests that easily destabilize the state and can incite rebellion in other layers of society.

Causes of revolutions – spontaneous and directed scenario

There are two diametrically opposed explanations why revolutions break out. According to the first, spontaneous uprisings arise from social conflicts of different groups, which leads to protests and rebellion. Non-democratic, poverty, religious and ethnic differences are mentioned as reasons. Indeed, in all countries, differences between social groups exist, but they are not the cause of revolution in themselves, but these differences only accelerate and facilitate the process of a colored revolution. For instance, Libya was a country with many privileges for its population, in Egypt there were subsidies for bread that prevented hunger, the standard of living in Tunisia (the most democratic of all authoritarian African countries) was close to southern France and higher than southern Italy, Assad’s Syria implemented liberal reforms. So, this is evidence that the theory of spontaneity is not valid.

According to another opinion, the revolutions were staged and planned in detail. The same characteristics and scenarios were repeated in countries that have almost nothing in common. Although colored may resemble classical revolutions, they are not. Any resemblance is superficial. Real revolutions are spontaneous and come at some point in historical development, while colored revolutions are staged and carefully planned.

The staged scenario of color revolutions is based on the Anglo-Saxon philosophy of democratization designed to export the democratic political model and democratic institutions around the world. Wherever they emerge, one should look for traces of the Western mentality. Everything follows the same pattern. There is always a youth movement, revolutionary leaders are always similar, and revolutions lack content or revolutionary ideology. It is about the people suddenly rebelling against “evil dictators” and apart from general calls for democracy, everything else is lacking or non-existent. This shows that the Americans and other foreigners behind the revolutions do not know the mentality and psychology of the native population very well.

Three phases of color revolutions

According to Gene Sharp, an American expert on non-violent struggle and a kind of father of colored revolutions, colored revolutions are led by the principle that power structures (the government) rely on their subjects (the people) – the obedience of the people enables the rulers to rule the country. If the subordinates do not submit to the authorities, the authorities lose their power in the state. According to Sharp, classical color revolutions consist of three stages. The first stage includes the creation of an “underground” movement of cells that together form a network of those dissatisfied with the ruling regime. Members are recruited with big slogans and calls to action. A network of mostly young disaffected suddenly leaves anonymity and appears on the streets of big cities in response to a certain signal. The protests want to present themselves as something spontaneous, but in fact everything was prepared earlier.

Most often, protests erupt due to some reason, such as the questionable irregularity of elections (Serbia 2000, Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004, Russia 2012), a shocking and unexpected event, for example, the self-immolation of a seller in Tunisia in 2010, or Ukraine’s delay in the implementation of the Association Agreement EU 2013. Members of underground cells become the initiators of the rebellion. Protests, gatherings, marches, setting up fences follow. The people realize that the government may be legal but it is illegitimate and forms an anti-government movement that becomes the driving force of the future revolutionary regime change. Of course, the initiators of the protest do everything carefully and organize the majority who really believe in the proclaimed ideals. People wouldn’t be so rampant in the streets knowing they were tools in the hands of the CIA or MI6. A political crowd forms and protests last for days or weeks in the main city squares.

In the second stage, the goal is to discredit defense, security and law and order bodies through strikes, civil disobedience, riots and sabotage. Protesters are occupying city squares and streets that they do not want to leave until their demands are met. The protestors are organized by the logistics network. In the name of the masses, the protesters give an ultimatum to the government and threaten mass uprisings if they are not satisfied. The government has two choices: retaliate with force or accept the demands. The third and final phase follows, which entails the “non-violent” overthrow of the government. In fact, it is about open attacks on authorities and the occupation of government buildings, institutions and other components or symbols of government. A kind of civil assault on the “organism” of the existing political order. If the government strikes the protesters with force, the media will accuse it of crimes and killing peaceful protesters, while if it agrees to concessions, it will be swept away very quickly because the protesters will not agree to compromises.

Egypt and Ukraine

The events in Egypt and Ukraine that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and Viktor Yanukovych are incredibly similar, which is not a coincidence but proof that they followed the same pattern. The nature of the unrest, which turned into mass protests, was the same. The well-organized protesters were supported by Islamist and nationalist paramilitary groups. This was followed by the encirclement of government institutions and the occupation of key points. The protesters were supported by a mainstream media war from the West.

The ideological ferocity of the radicals was striking, and they were excellently equipped with weapons and military equipment. In both cases, the “rebellious people” faced weak, indecisive and corrupt authorities that hesitated to take decisive action: use force against armed protesters. Both Mubarak and Yanukovych trusted the West to save them, and it was the same West that was behind the whole story.

Poor results

Even when revolutions succeeded, they rarely brought progress, freedom and democracy. The much-vaunted color revolutions like the Pink Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan did not improve democracy and the state of freedom and human rights.

The question arises why the revolutions failed and did not achieve their purpose? Quite simply, the rule of law never took hold. Too often, governments that came to power through color revolutions have behaved above and with little regard for democratic standards much like their undemocratic predecessors. For example in Georgia, the new authorities were very bad at protecting property rights, Ukraine was inevitably gripped by an atmosphere of revenge, and in Kyrgyzstan, the new authorities behaved like a fiefdom. Although the new authorities swore their commitment to democracy and the rule of law, all the “diseases” and flaws of the previous regimes were repeated again and again.

The supporters, the people who ultimately enabled the revolutions to succeed, made the crucial mistake of seeing the revolutions as the pinnacle of democracy and falling into complacency instead of demanding the creation of strong institutions. However, it would be better if the people refused to participate in such revolutions right from the start.

The warfare of a new age

The real goal of color revolutions is to replace governments that have bad relations with the US or other Western powers. Once the revolution was carried out, the new authorities would be friendly towards America and put themselves under the protection of the USA. This means that Americans would gain access to oil, gas and other natural resources and strategic areas. Then all the talk about democracy and human rights would die. Nobody mentions today the state of human rights in Libya, Georgia, Ukraine, Egypt. It is a modern occupation and an aggressive policy that, instead of tanks, bombers and cannons, solves everything through uprising. Foreign embassies, secret services and NGOs carry out their tasks with the help of domestic protesters. It is a much cheaper solution than a real interstate war, which is limited by the conventions of the United Nations.

For instance, Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine 2013-14 cost 5 billion USD, which is a much cheaper Western conquest of Ukraine than an eventual military invasion. The fact that the Russo-Ukrainian war followed (which turned into a proxy war between Russia and NATO) is a separate story. Color revolutions are a modern type of aggression that international law does not recognize (yet). Where the people understood what it was about, such as Russia in 2012, Iran in 2009 and China in 1989/2014, revolutions have not succeed. In the Middle East and Ukraine, unfortunately, the color revolutions turned into endless local wars that brought permanent instability to those areas.

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