Transitions from Postcommunism

Issue Date July 2005
Volume 16
Issue 3
Page Numbers 5-19
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The years since 2000 have seen a surprising new wave of democratic breakthroughs in the postcommunist countries of Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine. This article compares and contrasts these three cases, naming seven common factors which made the breakthroughs in these countries possible: 1) a semi-autocratic rather than fully autocratic regime; 2) an unpopular incumbent; 3) a united and organized opposition; 4) an ability quickly to drive home the point that voting results were falsified, 5) enough independent media to inform citizens about the falsified vote, 6) a political opposition capable of mobilizing tens of thousands or more demonstrators to protest electoral fraud, and 7) divisions among the regime's coercive forces.