Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Defining "Revolution": Info-War in Kyrgyzstan

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports on the run-up to elections in Kyrgyzstan. The contry is deemed by many to be ready for a popular uprising along the lines of Georgia/Ukraine - but it seems as if there is an information war brewing behind the scenes.

The word "Revolution" is used by government officials to label the opposition. The opposition is trying to avoid the term, as it has been negatively loaded. A spokesperson says:

"We're not talking about a revolution, but about the peaceful, calm, and constitutional transfer of power in our country."

Of course they are. But "transfer of power" just doesn't have the same ring if you have to mobilize public support and gain foreign media attention.

This shows the persuasive power of finding a symbol that can act as a prefix to "revolution". The Czech Republic had its "velvet revolution", Georgia a "Rose Revolution" and Ukraine's was "Orange". The oversimplification is not much different from the one that parties in UK and the rest of the western world uses - Roses, donkeys, elephants, roosters, torches.

This way of wrestling over symbols is a form of branding - but sometimes it is not planned in advance and just grows out of the situation. So I predict that the transfer of power in Kyrgyzstan won't come until that kind of branding has been done successfully by the opposition.


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