The December 2011 protests in Russia raised the question of whether the Putin regime could fall to a “color” or electoral revolution like those that have ousted other autocratic regimes in postcommunist Europe and Eurasia over the past decade and a half. Valerie Bunce and I concluded that, in these prior cases, the main factor distinguishing successful from failed attempts was the extent to which an “electoral model” of regime change was implemented. Structural factors, particularly a vulnerable incumbent, played some role in the success of electoral breakthroughs, but the main explanation, we found, lay in the implementation of the electoral model.


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