Recent events in the post-communist republics of the former Soviet Union—notably the failure of the “Color Revolutions” of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan to overcome autocracy and corruption—have created a crisis for democracy promotion. The recent Georgian election showed that this crisis continues. The very tools that contributed so substantially to the Color Revolutions and to the perception that they were democratic breakthroughs are now viewed with suspicion by many, and are in fact often manipulated by undemocratic political leaders. Dr. Mitchell will discuss the viability of democracy promotion and how to pursue its goals if that project is to have a future in the former Soviet republics.
Lincoln Mitchell is an Associate Research Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. Before joining Columbia’s faculty, he was a practitioner of political development and continues to work in that field now. In addition to serving as Chief of Party for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Georgia from 2002-2004, he has worked on political development issues in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He also worked for years as a political consultant in New York City advising and managing domestic political campaigns. His books include: Uncertain Democracy: US Foreign Policy and Georgia’s Rose Revolution (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) adn The Color Revolutions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). His articles have appeared The National Interest, The American Interest, Orbis, and Current History.
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