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Strategies and Impacts of color revolutions: the case of Ukraine and Ethiopia

By Bereket Gebru
Tigrai Onlne - April 04, 2014

As stated in the first part of this article, its sequel is going to deal with the methods used to set unconstitutional changes of government of the color revolution type going with a consideration of the ongoing saga of Ukraine. It finally deals with the efforts being exerted to have that sort of unconstitutional change in Ethiopia and the subsequent result that would have in the future conditions in the country.

One basic and common characteristic of the color revolutions of the former soviet states and the Arab spring of the Middle Eastern and North African countries is that they are all orchestrated from outside. There have been evidence of American planning and support for the unconstitutional regime changes.

A study on color revolutions states: “evidence suggesting U.S. government involvement includes the USAID (and UNDP) supported Internet structures called Freenet, which are known to comprise a major part of the Internet structure in at least one of the countries – Kyrgyzstan – in which one of the color revolutions occurred.”

The subsequent coming to power of regimes that are in favor of western efforts of internationalization also rationalizes supposed U.S interference. These unconstitutional changes of government are characterized by the control of power by groups claiming to promote western inspired moves towards democratization and market rule.

The replacement of Eduard Shevardnadze with Mikhail Saakashvili, an American educated person, following the Rose Revolution of Georgia can be cited as evidence of such results. Another such case is that of the Ukranian Orange Revolution that declared Viktor Yushchenko, west favoring opposition leader, President defeating the Russia favoring runner Viktor Yanukovych in the disputed presidential election of 2004.    

In the case of what is commonly called the Arab Spring, some nations have not managed to change regimes even after about three years. In those that have been successful in ousting their respective regimes, some still have not managed to put stable governments (Libya, Egypt) while those that have managed to do so still are too far from success in security and development (Tunisia).

The one thing that all these states have in common, however, is overwhelming western political and economic interference that is unprecedented in the short term political history of some of the countries. After staying off the reach of western financial oligarchs that flood nations with their banking and energy multinationals, Libyan resources have finally been opened up to the former through the “Libyan revolution”.

Considering the huge benefits the unconstitutional change has awarded the western financial oligarchs and the chaos it has brought the Libyan people, I see hardly any reason, apart from the fact that it was held in Libya through the use of Libyans as instruments, why it should be called a Libyan Revolution. The political pressure on those that have ascended the helm of political power in their respective countries through such changes to form liberal conformist regimes is also widely evident. 

Now that we have tried to establish the fact that the U.S government and the international financial oligarchs are responsible for orchestrating these melodramatic manipulations of popular frustration in various states, let’s look into the methods they employ to “penetrate target states”, as very fittingly put in an article on color revolution.

Sreeram Chaulia in his essay, “Democratization, NGOs and Color Revolutions”, establishes that International Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are at the heart of such efforts of penetration. In explaining the role of INGOs to “penetrate target states”, the writer states the presence of two ways through which the organizations serve their purpose.

He states that the first is constructive theory which harps on norm institutionalization in issue areas like human rights that enable coalitions with powerful state actors who favor such norms. Another pathway for penetration is presented by the "boomerang pattern", wherein international contacts "amplify the demands of domestic groups, pry open space for new issues and then echo back these demands into the domestic arena."

However, claims Sreeram Chaulia, for the most apposite theoretical framework that fits the story of INGOs and color revolutions, we must leave constructivism and turn to the revolving applications of realism in world politics.

Realism asserts that transnational actors can punch above their weight and have disproportionate impact on world affairs only if they lobby and change the preferences, practices and policies of powerful states. “Norm-driven theorists fail to concede that superpowers have minds and agency of their own and only give in to transnational "pressures" when the issue area serves larger geo-strategic purposes. Rarely has the US promoted human rights and democracy in a region when they did not suit its grander foreign-policy objectives.”

He further states that the principal argument is that the main and direct causes of the color revolutions were United States foreign-policy interests (strategic expansion, energy security and the war on terrorism) as they were serviced by INGOs. “Without the intervention of these US-sponsored INGOs, the political landscapes in countries like Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan would not have been repainted in new colors.”

The most notable of such INGOs involve the Soros foundation, USAID, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute and Freedom House.

It is noteworthy that after the Orange Revolution several Central Asian nations took action against the Open Society Institute of George Soros with various means – Uzbekistan, for example, forced the shutting down of the OSI regional offices, while Tajik state-controlled media have accused OSI-Tajikistan of corruption and nepotism. Evidence suggesting U.S. government involvement includes the USAID (and UNDP) supported Internet structures called Freenet, which are known to comprise a major part of the Internet structure in at least one of the countries – Kyrgyzstan – in which one of the colour revolutions occurred. The Guardian reported that USAID, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and Freedom House are directly involved; the Washington Post and the New York Times also reported substantial Western involvement in some of these events. Activists from Serbia and Ukraine have said that publications and training they received from the US based Albert Einstein Institution staff have been instrumental in the formation of their strategies.

Part of the penetration of target states includes organizing the youth or manipulating an organized body of youth. The first of these was Otpor (“Resistance”) in Serbia, which was founded at Belgrade University in October 1998 and began protesting against Miloševic’ during the Kosovo War.

“Many of its members were arrested or beaten by the police. Despite this, during the presidential campaign in September 2000, Otpor launched its “Gotov je” (He’s finished) campaign that galvanised Serbian discontent with Miloševic’ and resulted in his defeat.Members of Otpor have inspired and trained members of related student movements including Kmara in Georgia, Pora in Ukraine, Zubr in Belarus and MJAFT! in Albania.”

Once the above conditions are met, domestic instigators are assigned with the task of organizing demonstrations frequently along with campaigns to trash the credibility of state institutions.

The 2014 color revolution in Ukraine

At the end of November, 2013, the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced his country’s rejection of an integration and trade deal with Europe. Even after announcing that there would be no deal, Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich went to the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on November 29, 2013 to personally explain his government’s move. He said Kiev wants to integrate into the EU, but is not ready to do it at the moment even after four years of preparations. He said that it would be too painful for the Ukrainian economy at present.

One of the reasons why Ukraine’s integration with the EU would cost so much is that the move would leave it barred from its traditional Russian markets. Moscow warned that it would not keep export preferences with Ukraine after it signs free trade agreements with EU, because it would effectively open the Russian market to European goods.

The Ukrainian President’s decision considered all facts and stumbled on to the one it deems beneficial to its country but the tone in the EU when he went for the summit was one of disappointment and threat. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency and who was among the most vocal proponents of the Eastern Partnership integration project, did not take long in dismissing Yanukovych’s requests. She said: “The Ukrainian elite, Ukrainian government could have changed their approach. The European Union will not bargain anymore.”


EU parliament President Martin Schulz openly stated before the meeting: “What’s very certain is that the president of a country isn’t the country.  One can agree with Yanukovich or not. Maybe another government with another orientation will come to power.” Anyway you want to interpret those statements, their sense of threat and intent cannot be taken out of them. As was clearly stated by the Russians, the summit pressurized the Ukrainians to join the EU. After all it was the interests of the financial oligarchs at stake and every one of the European giants had to extract their claws. In retrospect, that is what they exactly did.

With the opposition organizing a huge demonstration on Kiev’s main square, the ground work was set for yet another color revolution. With the mob camped on Kiev’s square, making violent advances at various governmental offices and officials as the time went on, US senators went out to the thick of action on Kiev’s square and reiterated their support for the mobsters. US Senators John McCain and Christopher Murphy in their sermons to the mob congregation in Kiev’s square preached: "the way towards change goes through peaceful protest. And in America we stand in awe of the fact that despite the violence on the square you have remained peaceful in support of change."

Of course the U.S Senators would have ordered the killing of all the people on Kiev’s square, had they stood in the way of the expansion of Europe and thus the interests of the financial oligarchs. So, it was no surprise that they denounced Russia’s interference in Ukrainian matters while at the same time stressing their concern that the EU may be suspending talks with Ukraine on the trade and political agreement.

It is at least arrogant for American Senators to go all the way to Kiev and fuel protests there but have the audacity to tell Russia to keep itself out despite the fact that 47% of the Ukrainian population is either ethnic Russian or speaks Russian.

After once again carrying out a successful color revolution that for a second time went against Viktor Yanukovych just three months after he rejected trade and political deals with the EU, the western political forces along with their financial masters have managed to get someone they approve of at the helm of power in Ukraine.

So, it is no wonder that the new puppet administration has taken the earliest of measures to put the country under the leverage of tremendous debt that marks the submission of a nation to the financial oligarchs. With the austerity measures infringing on social welfare, the debt is set to send Ukrainians to their misery.

As audacious and condescending as the financial oligarchs are, they expected Russia to sit back and let them do nothing as they literally send its people in a neighboring country into slavery. However, Putin had other ideas and he has proved himself morally and politically superior to them with the whole world watching.

The referendum and subsequent inclusion of the former Ukrainian territory of Crimea into Russia has taken just weeks. Amazingly, the European and American politicians have expressed the move as a violation of international law. The double standards they use to gauge an action legal or not have been emboldened by their own repeated success in setting the bar higher that the whole world has ridiculed their statements.

While he was in Kiev during the protests, Senator McCain said "we are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently." Well, the same statement could be used by the Russians to express what they have done in Crimea. With some other regions in Ukraine also demanding referendum to join Russia, the worst might not have come until now.

Efforts of Color Revolution in Ethiopia

With concrete moves to organize a color revolution dating back over a decade now in Ethiopia, the people need to be more vigilant than ever not to let their guard down. With the presence of a former attempt to instigate a color revolution following the 2005 election, political parties openly claiming to work with the INGOs reputed worldwide for their strong hands in organizing these menaces and them openly adopting a color (blue) for their name, the work to organize a color revolution is in full swing at present.

Recent moves by such political parties to call for demonstrations every now and then with the hope of them leading to protesters camping at one of Addis’ squares have also not materialized though given a shot. There have also been attempts to organize the youth into an instrument of dissent. The group that calls itself “daughters of Taitu” is such an example.

As has been witnessed in all the cases, color revolutions do not give power to the people; rather they serve the interests of the international financial oligarchs through the ascent of domestic groups assigned to enhance their goals by subjecting the interests of their own people on the back bench.

In the Ethiopian case, therefore, successful completion of a color revolution would lead to privatization of major institutions of social services like telecommunications, electricity, energy, banking, water, etc. That would mean the sale of the sectors to international investors who would kill whatever small domestic investment there has been in the sectors. After having control of these sectors, they would set the price of such services higher.  

The other step is the buildup of tremendous debt with very high interests rendering the country weak and vulnerable for the international financial oligarchs’ taking. That avails the country’s minerals, water and other resources to these groups while leaving its people out.

The political groups that would control the country would also have to check with their masters before approving their own plans and their execution. As derailed the concept of sovereignty is getting by the day, such moves would ensure its burial. Although not through an outright war with an armed enemy, Ethiopians would then succumb to international colonial forces for the first time in their long history spanning thousands of years.

The above mentioned conditions are all visible in the states that came out of the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and the northern African and middle eastern countries. Take a look at what is going on in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Kosovo, and Ukraine.

Therefore, any attempt to knowingly and intentionally work with the international financial oligarchs and the western political elite to organize a color revolution in Ethiopia would be handing the country out to foreign colonial forces. Accordingly, it is our duty to inform the public of the impending dangers and create a joint shield against the international forces of one world government.

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