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Regime Cycles: Democracy, Autocracy, and Revolution in Post-Soviet Eurasia

  • Henry E. Hale (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2011

Research on regime change has often wound up chasing events in the post-Soviet world because it has frequently assumed that regime change, if not simple instability, implies a trajectory toward a regime-type endpoint like democracy or autocracy. A supplemental approach recognizes that regime change can be cyclic, not just progressive, regressive, or random. In fact, regime cycles are much of what we see in the postcommunist world, where some states have oscillated from autocracy toward greater democracy, then back toward more autocracy, and, with recent “colored revolutions,” toward greater democracy again. An institutional logic of elite collective action, focusing on the effects of patronalpresidentialism, is shown to be useful in understanding such cyclic dynamics, explaining why “revolutions” occurred between 2003 and 2005 in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan but not in countries like Russia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan.

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World Politics
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