Fairbanks- Revolution Reconsidered.pdf

Rather the old forms fell away and the absence of

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forms. Rather, the old forms fell away, and the absence of forms required ethnic separation in order to define a political community. The need for a definition comes from the absence of any explicit revolutionary ideol- ogy that could legitimate the rule of certain human beings over others— for example, of the people over the king and aristocrats, or of the working class and its vanguard over the other classes. 10 It is striking that the leaders of the new political communities cre- ated through ethnic cleansing differed from traditional revolutionary leaders in that they did not try to strengthen the state that they nomi- nally came to control. Leaders such as Alija Izetbegoviæ in Bosnia, Ibrahim Rugova in Kosovo, Dzhokar Dudayev in Chechnya, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia, Vladislav Ardzinba in Abkhazia, Ludwig Chibirov in South Ossetia, and Abulfaz Elchibey in Azerbaijan all presided over new regimes in which the imperative of state-building was extremely weak. In Kosovo, the new postcommunist government did not even attempt to establish uniform sovereignty over its territory by a monopoly of the means of coercion—that is, through an army. Instead, Ibrahim Rugova’s Albanian authorities operated a pacifist administration that organized most aspects of life in Kosovo but coexisted for nine years with the parallel Serb government (which represented only the small Serb minority). The Kyrgyz upheaval of 2005 resembled the overthrow of communism in this respect, with the already weak Kyrgyz state becoming even weaker. The other two “color revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine returned to the revolutionary practice of strengthening the state. This was espe- cially true in Georgia, where Saakashvili, in his January 2004 inaugural address, emphasized the strengthening of the state and its necessary instrument, the army. The subsequent restoration of effective Georgian sovereignty over Ajaria and the dramatic increase in revenue collection returned Georgia to a more traditional postrevolutionary pattern. Contemporary Thought and Revolution Even before the collapse of communism, classical revolution had been largely superseded in thought. The theoretical understanding that guided those seeking to promote change in communist countries came primarily from three bodies of thought that began to emerge during the 1970s. The first of these approaches to develop was the dissident thinking of East Central Europe. The earliest strategy for liberation from commu- nist rule was guided by traditional revolutionary models and produced the long postwar insurgencies in Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania. But the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the failure of the West to support it seem to have marked a turning point. Gradually, dissidents began to disavow revolutionary violence, believing that So-
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Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. 49 viet power made it hopeless. They concentrated instead on building a decent, nonideological “civil society” underneath the ruling commu- nist regimes in which men could live more freely. Not all dissidents
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