Moscow's Own Color Revolutions

Half a decade after a series of "color revolutions" replaced Moscow-backed rulers across the former Soviet Union with pro-Western ones, the Kremlin may finally be getting its payback. Already this year the presidents of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan have been ousted by challengers friendlier to Moscow. While Russia wasn't the sole architect of Ukraine's election and Kyrgyzstan's coup, it sheltered Kyrgyz opposition leaders and made it clear to Ukrainian voters that Viktor Yanukovych's victory would usher in a new era of cheap gas and increased trade. More, this year's strategic wins have inspired the Kremlin to encourage further regime change nearby.

Target No. 1 is Georgia and its pro-NATO president, Mikheil Saakashvili. Since last year Kremlin leaders have been publicly meeting with Georgian opposition figures. On May 9 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stood with opposition leader Nino Burjanadze at Victory Day commemoration ceremonies. The Kremlin has also invited other Georgian opposition leaders to Moscow for talks on how to topple Saakashvili.

After Georgia, Moscow may aim at Belarus's Alexander Lukashenko, who has been demanding rent for Russian military bases and sheltering the ousted Kyrgyz president. "Russia is terribly tired of Lukashenko," says Igor Bunin from Moscow's Center of Political Technologies. Lukashenko "has been scared lately after he saw how Russia can support a revolution in former Soviet countries." Looks like the colored pendulum may be swinging back in Russia's direction.

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