Unique or modular? Armenian Velvet Revolution in comparative approach

Wyjątkowa czy modułowa? Armeńska aksamitna rewolucja w perspektywie porównawczej

Bartłomiej Krzysztan

ORCID: Bartłomiej Krzysztan: 0000-0001-5632-6884

Afiliacja: Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Strony: 143-171

Wydanie: Lublin 2020

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.3.7

Sposób cytowania: B. Krzysztan, Unique or modular? Armenian Velvet Revolution in comparative approach, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 3, s. 143-171, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.3.7.

Słowa kluczowe: , , ,

Abstrakt: Most of the previous revolutions in the post-Soviet sphere were concentrated around two dimensions: reluctance to challenge abuses of power and the will to redirect the external trajectory. The Armenian Velvet Revolution marked the change of the axiology of revolution. Civil disobedience was only focused on the corrupt political system based on clientelism and patronage. It was not addressing any issues related to the international situation. In statements, activists avoided references to foreign policy and change of geopolitical direction. The purpose of the paper is to identify convergent and separate features characterizing the Velvet Revolution in comparison with breakthroughs classified as revolutions in the post-Soviet space after 1989. The research question is how the Armenian Velvet Revolution’s features stand out from previous revolutionary changes of power in the post-Soviet space, and to what extent they are convergent. The theoretical framework is based on multi-dimensional academic reflection on the factors characterizing particular revolutionary waves in post-Soviet space. Using comparatively the rich achievements of study on the Autumn of Nations, Color Revolutions, and Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, this essay aims to inscribe the unique and modular factors characterizing the Armenian Velvet Revolution into a broader spectrum of theoretical and practical considerations on political breakthroughs in post-Soviet space.


Anderson, B., Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition, London–New York, 2006.

Arendt, H., On Revolution, London, 1990.

Auer, S., ‘The Paradoxes of the Revolutions of 1989 in Central Europe’, Critical Horizons, vol. 5, no. 1, 2004.

Auer, S., ‘Violence and the End of Revolution After 1989’, Thesis Eleven, vol. 97, no. 1, 2009, https://doi.org/10.1177/0725513608101906.

Baev, P.K., ‘A Matrix for Post-Soviet ‘Color Revolutions’: Exorcising the Devil from the Details’, International Area Studies Review, vol. 14, no. 2, 2011, https://doi.org/10.1177/223386591101400201.

Beacháin, D.Ó, Polese, A., ‘“Rocking the vote”: new forms of youth organisations in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union’, Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 13, no. 5, 2010, https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2010.487523.

Beacháin, D.Ó, Polese, A., The Colour Revolutions in the Former Soviet Republics: Successes and Failures, Routledge, 2010, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203848951.

Beissinger, M.R., ‘Structure and example in modular political phenomena: The diffusion of bulldozer/rose/orange/tulip revolutions’, Perspectives on politics, vol. 5, no. 2, 2007, https://doi.org/10.1017/s1537592707070776.

Bunce, V.J., Wolchik, S.L., ‘International Diffusion and Postcommunist Electoral Revolutions’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, vol. 39, no. 3, 2006, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postcomstud.2006.06.001.

Derluguian, G., Hovhannisyan, R., Iskandaryan, A. et al., ‘Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization. Special Issue’, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 26, no. 4, 2018.

Diuk, N., ‘EUROMAIDAN: Ukraine’s Self-Organizing Revolution’, World Affairs, vol. 176, no. 6, 2014.

Dudwick, N., ‘Political Transformations in Postcommunist Armenia: Images and Realities’, in: Conflict, Cleavage, and Change in Central Asia and the Caucasus, eds. K. Dawish, B. Parrott, Cambridge, 1997, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511559204.004.

Eisenstadt, S.N., ‘The Breakdown of Communist Regimes and the Vicissitudes of Modernity’, Daedalus, vol. 121, no. 2, 1992.

Feldman, D.L., Alibašić, H., ‘The Remarkable 2018 “Velvet Revolution”: Armenia’s Experiment Against Government Corruption’, Public Integrity, 0, no. 0 (11 April 2019), https://doi.org/10.1080/10999922.2019.1581042.

Finkel, E., Brudny, Y.M., ‘No more colour! Authoritarian regimes and colour revolutions in Eurasia’, Democratization, vol. 19, no. 1, 2012, https://doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2012.641298.

Gerasimov, I., ‘Ukraine 2014: The First Postcolonial Revolution. Introduction to the Forum’, Ab Imperio, no. 3, 2014, https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2014.0072.

Gerlach, J., Color Revolutions in Eurasia, Cham, 2014.

Grigoryan, A., ‘Armenia’s Constitutional Referendum’, The CACI Analyst, 29 December 2015, https://www.cacianalyst.org/publications/analytical-articles/item/13317-armenias-constitutional-referendum.html.

Grigoryan, A., ‘Armenia’s path to democratization by recursive mass protests’, Caucasus Survey, 13 May 2019, https://doi.org/10.1080/23761199.2019.1614751.

Grigoryan, S., The Armenian Velvet Revolution, Independently Published, 2020.

Hakobyan, T., Karabakh Diary, Green and Black: Neither War nor Peace, Yerevan, 2010.

Hale, H.E., ‘Regime Change Cascades: What We Have Learned from the 1848 Revolutions to the 2011 Arab Uprisings’, Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 16, no. 1, 2013, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-032211-212204.

Heil, A., Baumgartner, P., ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me: Serzh Sarkisian’s Breakup Letter To Armenia, Annotated’, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, 23 April 2018, https://www.rferl.org/a/armenia-annotating-longtime-leader-sarkisians-breakup-letter/29187836.html.

Hess, S., ‘Protests, Parties, and Presidential Succession’, Problems of Post-Communism, vol. 57, no. 1, 2010.

Ishkanian, A., Democracy Building and Civil Society in Post-Soviet Armenia, London–New York, 2008, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203929223.

Ishkanian, A., ‘Self-Determined Citizens? New Forms of Civic Activism and Citizenship in Armenia’, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 67, no. 8, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2015.1074981.

Iskandaryan, A., ‘Armenia Between Autocracy and Polyarchy’, Russian Politics & Law, vol. 50, no. 4, 2012, https://doi.org/10.2753/rup1061-1940500402.

Jones, S.F., ‘Reflections on the Rose Revolution’, European Security, vol. 21, no. 1, 2012.

Kuzio, T., ‘Transition in Post-Communist States: Triple or Quadruple?’, Politics, vol. 21, no. 3, 2001, https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9256.00148.

Kuzio, T., ‘Ukraine’s Anti-Soviet Euro-Revolution’, Research Institute for European and American Studies (blog), 4 December 2014, http://www.rieas.gr/images/kuziotaras22.pdf.

Lane, D., ‘“Coloured Revolution” as a Political Phenomenon’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, vol. 25, no. 2-3, 2009.

Lanskoy, M., Suthers, E., ‘Armenia’s Velvet Revolution’, Journal of Democracy, vol. 30, no. 2, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1353/jod.2019.0027.

Laverty, N., ‘The “party of power” as a type’, East European Politics, vol. 31, no. 1, 2015.

Legvold, R., Return to Cold War, 1st edition, Cambridge, UK–Malden, MA, 2016.

Mitchell, L.A., The Color Revolutions, Philadelphia, 2012.

Monaghan, A., ‘A “New Cold War”? Abusing History, Misunderstanding Russia’, Research Paper, London 2015, https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/field/field_document/20150522ColdWarRussiaMonaghan.pdf.

Polese, A., Beacháin, D.Ó, ‘The Color Revolution Virus and Authoritarian Antidotes: Political Protest and Regime Counterattacks in Post-Communist Spaces’, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 19, no. 2. 2010.

Pop, A., ‘The 1989 Revolutions in Retrospect’, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 65, no. 2, 2013.

Protocol of the results of the elections to the National Assembly 2017, Central Electoral Commision, 4 September 2017, https://res.elections.am/images/doc/09.12.18v.pdf.

Protocol of the results of the elections to the National Assembly 2018, Central Electoral Commision, 12 September 2018, https://res.elections.am/images/doc/09.12.18v.pdf.

Protocol on referendum results, Central Electoral Commision, 12 June 2015, https://res.elections.am/images/doc/06.12.15v.pdf.

Republic of Armenia Constitutional Referendum 6 December 2015, OSCE/ODIHR REFERENDUM EXPERT TEAM Final Report, Warsaw: ODIHR, 2 May 2016, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/220656?download=true, https://doi.org/10.1163/2210-7975_hrd-0367-2014010.

Republic of Armenia Early Parliamentary Elections 9 December 2018, OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, Warsaw: ODIHR, 3 July 2019, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/armenia/413555?download=true.

Republic of Armenia Parliamentary Elections 2 April 2017, OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, Warsaw: ODIHR, 7 June 2017, https://www.osce.org/odihr/328226?download=true.

Republic of Armenia Presidential Elections 18 February 2013, OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, Warsaw: ODIHR, 5 August 2013, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/101314?download=true.

Republic of Armenia Presidential Elections 19 February 2008, OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, Warsaw: ODIHR, 30 May 2008, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/armenia/32115?download=true.

Republic of Armenia Presidential Elections 19 February and 6 March 2003, OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, Warsaw: ODIHR, 28 April 2003, https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/armenia/14054?download=true.

Revolution in the Making of the Modern World: Social Identities, Globalization and Modernity, 1st Edition (Paperback) – Routledge, eds. J. Foran, D. Lane, A. Zivkovic, New York, 2008.

Shirinyan, A., ‘Bridging the Gaps in Armenia’s Political Space: The Political Party System after the “Velvet Revolution” ’, Caucasus Analytical Digest, 108, 2019.

Skocpol, T., States and Social Revolutions Comparative Analysis France Russia and China 2 | Political Theory, Cambridge, 1979.

Sztompka, P., Sociology of Social Change, Oxford, 1993.

The Return of the Cold War: Ukraine, The West and Russia, eds. J.L. Black, M. Johns, New York, 2016.

Therborn, G., ‘Foreword. Roads to Modernity: Revolutionary and Other’, in: Revolution in the Making of Modern World. Social Identities, Globalization and Modernity, eds. J. Foran, D. Lane, A. Zivkovic, London–New York, 2008, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203933466.

Thompson, M.R., ‘Totalitarian and Post-Totalitarian Regimes in Transitions and Non-Transitions from Communism’, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, vol. 3, no. 1, 2002, https://doi.org/10.1080/714005469.

Tilly, Ch., European Revolutions, 1492–1992, Oxford, UK – Cambridge, Mass., USA, 1993.

Tismaneanu, V., Stalinism for All Seasons. A Political History of Romanian Communism. Oakland, 2003, https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520237476/stalinism-for-all-seasons, https://doi.org/10.2307/20033944.

Way, L., ‘The Real Causes of the Color Revolutions’, Journal of Democracy, vol. 19, no. 3, 2008.

White, S., ‘Is There a Pattern?’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, vol. 25, no. 2-3, 2009, https://doi.org/10.1080/13523270903096030.

Wydra, H., ‘Revolution and Democracy: the European Experience’, in: Revolution in the Making of the Modern World: Social Identities, Globalization and Modernity, eds. J. Foran, D. Lane, A. Zivkovic, London–New York, 2008, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203933466.

Zolyan, M., ‘The Poverty of Authoritarianism: What Made the Armenian Revolution Possible’, Caucasus Analytical Digest, 108, 2019.

Słowa kluczowe: , , ,