The phenomenon of color revolutions has occupied a prominent place in Russian politics for a good reason. The major threat of color revolutions as modern political warfare designed by Western countries deeply affected the political process in Russia since 2005. It may have appeared that the imperative of resisting them was the result of a non-democratic regime reacting to neighboring countries’ uprisings. Some portrayed it as authoritarian learning. This paper suggests that the counteractions stemmed from the interests of disunited Russian elite groups who were seeking opportunities to reinforce their dominance and capitalize on the idea of significant external threats. The phenomenon reshaped the balance within elite groups and led to the consolidation of law enforcement networks on the eve of Putin’s third term. Further, the prevailing perception of color revolutions discouraged any elite splits that could lead to proto-democratic rules.
The article is devoted to the current state of the discussion around transition of power in Russia in 1999-2001. The authors rely both on the patronal approach to show post-Soviet specificity and on the theory of neo-elitism to show its universal features. This transition was the point at which the highly differentiated post-Soviet elite was able to create a fragile base for integration. The article shows that it is possible to apply the theory of the elite pact to the Russian case, but the effects of the pact itself may ultimately differ from the trajectory of movement towards democracy predicted by the neo-elite theory. The trajectory deviates from the given one due to the patronal ribbon structures and the reversibility of the differentiation process. A new form of elite pact in Russia is possible, but the newborn elite coalition is doomed to be unsustainable unless a new constitutional reconsolidation follows.