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9 Apr, 2009 23:54

Color revolutions come to nought?

Unlike many former Soviet states during the past ten years, something is fundamentally different in the case of Moldova’s opposition unrest. Some analysts already consider this week's events in Chisinau a revolution.

Experts are already deciding what to call it and whether it's another color revolution, but this time a failed one.

However topping the ratings for describing the turn of event is the “Twitter” revolution. Internet and text messaging was crucial in the protestor's organisation efforts. The name might be new but the pattern is old.

Number one: elections, and they have to be rigged – at least allegedly.

Number two: a recount of the votes – now a must have follow-up procedure in post Soviet states.

What is different – international observers called the elections fair and this time a change of leadership is not enough – protestors want a change of sovereignty.

“The demonstrators – I would call them vandals – were obsessed with the idea of demolishing Moldavian nationhood,” commented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Flying over the riots were the flags of Moldova’s neighbor – Romania.

“We attracted the attention of the EU to this and we were assured that they took it very seriously, and we hope that the EU and the Romanian government, which has condemned the violence will take measures to prevent any situations in which Romanian flags and slogans are used as a cover to disrupt Moldova's federal status,” added Lavrov.

Oddly enough the EU nearly ignored it. Over the last 10 years many former Soviet states have seen color revolutions. Those in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan were hailed a success, with new charismatic and “Western-oriented” leaders coming to power.

In Ukraine there were two, the duet of Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Timoshenko that inspired the “Orange revolution”

And that proved to be a problem as within a year the duo lost its revolutionary steam and split.

Four years on they’re still bickering about who is to blame while Ukraine is looking into the default abyss.

Tbilisi had Misha – Mikhail Saakashvili – and his roses. It started with a peaceful demonstration with thousands of Georgian people out on the streets demanding President Eduard Shevardnadze step down.

Fluent English-speaker Saakashvili was glowing saying “we were peaceful and no police stopped us. We did not use violence. We got hands up to show that we don’t have arms and they let us in [to the government building].”

Four years on there was another peaceful demonstration, thousands again demanding the president step down but this time Saakashvili was defiant.

The Rose Revolution has wilted and former allies have turned into Saakashvili’s bitter rivals and this week they joined with thousands in a rally, calling for his resignation.

As for Bishkek’s Tulip revolution in Kyrgyzstan – it did not bloom quite as planned.

Analysts saw the West steering the revolutionary wheels in the post Soviet space and other states cracked down on foreign funded NGOs that coached political movements.

Fyodr Lukyanov from Russia Profile magazine assumes that “It was a part of a broader agenda called ‘democracy promotion’ which at that time was a priority of the American administration. This idea has started to decline in the US and we see that no more revolutions were successful – neither in Azerbaijan, nor in Armenia, nor in Georgia again, nor in Kazakhstan and not in Moldova – now for the second time.”

“I think that this phenomenon was very much connected with the period of the Bush administration,” Lukyanov added.