Elite defection and legitimacy in democratic revolutions: a comparative case study of Serbia, Ukraine, and Iran
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Recent scholarship on democratic revolutions has focused on revolutions occurring in post-communist countries and argued that defection among elites within the ruling authoritarian regime is necessary for revolutionary success. In a comparative case study of two of these cases, Serbia (2000) and Ukraine (2004), with the failed revolution in 2009 Iran, I attempt to answer the question of whether the revolutionary framework established by this literature can be applied outside the post-communist context. I find that Iran's attempted revolution failed due to the lack of elite defection within the regime, a conclusion that fits well within post-communist revolutionary research. Furthermore, to fill a gap in this literature that stresses the importance of elite defection but does not address the cause of said defection, I use the concept of elite legitimacy to explain why elite defection failed to occur in the Iranian case.
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