Abstract draft

Contemporary political scientists were puzzled by the wave of pro-democracy revolts in the former Soviet Union now known as the Color Revolutions. These events confounded existing theories, and researchers have been working to catch up ever since. But the literature as it currently stands has some shortcomings. First, researchers have had a tendency, when analyzing the cause of the Color Revolutions and their path, to only look at those revolts that were effective in changing the government they targeted. If less effective movements are analyzed, they are treated as a separate kind of event than the successful Color Revolutions. This same false categorization can be seen in literature on what factors led to these movements’ success or failure. There is bountiful research examining diffusion of tactics and personal leadership, and other literature analyzing the role of foreign democracy assistance. My research intends to bridge this gap by examining the impact of US and European democracy assistance, and the lack thereof, on revolt leaders in Ukraine and Belarus. Examining contemporary news reports and data from NGO’s dedicated to monitoring civil society, I argue that governments who successfully contained or prevented foreign democracy assistance were able to effectively resist the revolts that targeted them. Hopefully this research can aid policy makers and academics interested in protest movements and democratization.