‘Color revolutions’

The so-called ‘color revolutions’ are revolts whose supporters defend their non-violent character. These mobilisations that took place, mostly, in the post-Soviet space, stand out for their pro-Western discourse and the influence of external actors.

What are they?

The ‘color revolutions’ is the name given to the political mobilizations of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, carried out, according to their supporters, against supposedly “authoritarian” leaders. The phenomenon was born in Eastern Europe (the ex-Soviet space) but it also spread to other areas, such as the Middle East.


The name ‘color revolutions’ is related to the symbolic use of colors or flower names that protesters often adopt as elements of identification (the’ Rose Revolution ‘in Georgia, the’ Orange Revolution ‘in Ukraine, the’ Revolution of the Tulips’ in Kyrgyzstan, etc.).


Gene Sharp , American anti-communist philosopher, politician, professor and writer, author of the books ‘The Politics of Nonviolent Action’ and ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy’.


The ideology of the ‘color revolutions’ is based on the principle of non-violent direct action . According to Sharp, in order to carry out these revolutions, a simple idea must be taken into account: that the power of the government rests on the obedience of the citizens to the orders of the leaders, therefore, if there is no obedience, the leaders they have no power.


A classic ‘color revolution’, according to Sharp, consists of three stages :

– Protests, rallies, demonstrations and pickets; persuasion of the people of the illegitimacy of power and formation of an anti-government movement.

– Disrepute of the security forces, strikes, social disobedience, riots and sabotage.

– Non-violent overthrow of the government.

External influence:

The ‘color revolutions’, which mostly stand out for their pro-Western discourse , are considered by many experts and politicians as a mechanism of indirect foreign interference, through which Western powers seek to change leaders who are not easily tractable for others more obedient to their interests.


As classical examples of ‘color revolution’ can highlight the ‘Rose Revolution’, which took place in Georgia in 2003; the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine a year later or the ‘Tulip Revolution’ (also known as the ‘Yellow Revolution’) in Kyrgyzstan in 2005.

These riots are considered successful, since in all three cases the protesters achieved their objectives: the departure of Eduard Shevardnadze from power in Georgia; the election of Víktor Yushchenko in Ukraine and the departure of the government of Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan.

Between failed attempts to overthrow the government are the ‘White Revolution’ in Belarus in 2006 or the ‘Saffron Revolution’ in Burma in 2007.