Velvet Revolution, Armenian Style
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 26, Number 4, Fall 2018
- pp. 509-529
- Additional Information
In April and early May 2018, a rapid mass movement, known as the "velvet revolution," took place in Armenia, leading to the resignation of the prime minister and the election of a new "people's candidate." In the context of independent Armenia, which had seen a stream of falsified elections and failed mass protests, the success of this revolution was a surprise for most of the populace and remains a riddle for analysts. We attempt to show how revolution might have come about in this authoritarian former Soviet regime, looking at how it differed from earlier mass protest movements, who carried it out, and what technologies they used. Our analysis is based primarily on anthropological fieldwork conducted during the revolution: participant observation, short individual and group interviews, and monitoring media and Internet framings of the events. As the revolution was spatially dispersed, the two authors could not cover all the events and protest actions; protesters' livestreams and digital broadcasts therefore filled the gaps.