Why Hasn’t Ukraine’s Revolution Spread?

Farid Guliyev and Nozima Akhrarkhodjaeva observe that “the Euromaidan protests did not spark similar political activism in other post-Soviet semi-autocratic regimes.” Among the reasons why:

Over the years, the ruling regimes in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia adjusted their repression strategies and adopted new ones to squash any signs of a color revolution. All three regimes were “late risers” during the color revolution wave. As Mark Beissinger shows, state elites in “later risers” have an advantage over those in “earlier risers” in that they know about actions and strategies used by protesters in the initial wave and therefore can adapt.

Institutional screws were tightened as post-Soviet autocrats took preemptive measures. Russia played a leading role in spreading various diffusion-proofing strategies. Examples include Russia’s restrictive legislation on non-governmental organizations in 2006 and the 2012 law requiring foreign-funded NGOs to register as “foreign agents”. Such measures foreclosed the success of anti-Kremlin mass rallies on the Bolotnaya Square in Moscow. And as Julia Ioffe rightly noted, “much of the stringency and verticality of the Russian political system is a direct result of [reaction to] Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.”