/ revolutions / revisited /
Neal Ascherson reports from Georgia about the "Rose revolution's" rather unimpressive performance, and the less than democratic wrokings of the Saakashvili government. Tellingly he mentions in passing that:
Those who work in television... say that restrictions on reporting have become tighter than they were under the Eduard Shevardnadze regime which Misha overthrew.
This is a picture consistent with what Liz Fuller reports in RFE/RL, in an article titled "Is Georgia Becoming Progressively Less Democratic?" where she mentions that "In a lengthy and detailed analysis of the aftermath of the 2003 Rose Revolution published in December, one London-based analyst suggested that the transition from Eduard Shevardnadze to Mikheil Saakashvili (who was elected president in early January 2004 with 96 percent of the vote) was one from 'democracy without democrats' to 'democrats without democracy.'"
Indeed it is possibly indicative that in a story related to the bizarre sounding power reform in Georgia, it is mentioned that:
"On June 6, an angry crowd of around 250 people broke into the provincial government building, demanding a meeting with the governor to protest against the new system. A meeting was granted the next day, but the governor, Giorgy Khachidze, was unsympathetic.
'I will not tolerate disorder even if the whole district comes to my door, men, women and children. If the police and I cannot restore order, we will call in the military,' he said."
The prospect of the army "restoring order" in demonstrations concerning electricity price hikes, is more reminiscent of Latin America in the 1980s obviously, rather than Western European democracies (although I have a dark presentiment that I'll live to see the day where this might change)...
The Orange Revolution seems to be running into obstacles as well, mostly economic, but issues of double standards in tackiling corruption and of political inaction are also apparent.
Yet the legacy of the revolutions (such as they were) is such that one can hope that popular reaction might possibly be now a permanent democratizing option. Once people have been on the streets and tasted victory, their passivity can no longer be taken for granted. As Victor over at Apostate Windbag pointed out a few months ago, like McNuggets, McRevolutions may also leave an unwanted aftertaste.