Georgia’s Rose Revolution

Issue Date April 2004
Volume 15
Issue 2
Page Numbers 110-24
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The reign of strongman presidents and the routine use of electoral fraud and manipulation have produced widespread apathy, resignation, and cynicism about the prospects for democracy in the Caucasus. In the fall of 2003, these trends dominated the presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the parliamentary elections in Georgia. But shortly after the elections, a brief and nonviolent series of mass protests in Tbilisi—the so-called Revolution of the Roses—forced Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze and his Citizens’ Union of Georgia (CUG) to resign, and paved the way for democratic reform under Mikhail Saakashvili of the New National Movement. The inspiring events in Georgia hold a number of lessons for students of democratization and prodemocracy activists alike, and should make us reconsider the methods by which fragile openings to democracy may be sustained and widened.

About the Author

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Since 2006, he has been living in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he is also professor of Soviet and post-Soviet systems at Ilia State University.

View all work by Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr