The Democratic Revolutionary Handbook

Directed by Tania Rakhmanova

52 minutes / Color
Russian / English subtitles
Release: 2007
Copyright: 2006

As seen on CNN, the recent democratic revolutions throughout Eastern Europe—Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, and the Ukraine in 2004—all seemed to follow a quick and easy pattern: the exposure of rigged elections, followed by massive street protests, and a regime that collapsed without a fight. But THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTIONARY HANDBOOK reveals the lengthy and meticulous preparations behind these seemingly spontaneous demonstrations, showing how modern marketing techniques have combined with revolutionary politics to transform the region's governments.

In addition to news footage of the clashes between these pro-democracy political movements and the repressive forces of the police states, the film features interviews with founding members of the opposition political parties—OTPOR in Serbia, KMARA in Serbia and PORA in the Ukraine—who explain the essential ingredients of their success, including uniting various opposition forces, the use of non-violent tactics, and a carefully considered political strategy.

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The political desire to overthrow corrupt dictatorships and replace them with democracies, for example, is not enough by itself. These young political activists explain the importance of raising funds from Western foundations, marketing techniques-such as choosing an evocative name and a memorable logo for your organization-and especially the effective use of television, combining agitprop and public relations, to convey one's political message and to get out the vote or, when necessary, the protestors.

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But the democratic revolutionary game plan doesn't always succeed. The film also documents the failed 2005 attempt in Azerbaijan, when the protest movement was violently suppressed. Having learned their lessons, however, the Azerbaijan activists explain they are already preparing for the 2008 elections.

In THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTIONARY HANDBOOK, the techniques and tactics involved in the making of a modern revolution are explained in fascinating detail by those who have actually succeeded in organizing the overthrow of Eastern European dictatorships.

"This video presentation provides an introduction to a part of the world with which our education of our young should be concerned. It is dramatically organized, well-paced, and informative."-Arthur J. Spring, Bridges

"Fascinating… The visuals in this documentary are often arresting, frequenly switching scenes from the apparent chaos and mayhem of street actions where riot police pound the bodies and skulls of helpless demonstrators to the cool tones of cathode ray tubes on which simulated street actions are rehearsed and tactics refined. And the talking heads engage us as well."—Michael Urban, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics

"A most fascinating and illuminating documentary."—Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D., Journal of Media Psychology

"Fascinating!"—Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics

"A tremendous investigative work."—Telé 2 Semaines

"An invaluable documentary that throws an interesting light on mass popular movements whose genesis is not always understood in the West."—Famille Chrétienne

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