Preprints are early versions of research articles that have not been peer reviewed. They should not be regarded as conclusive and should not be reported in news media as established information.
demovracy_discr_final.docx (886.68 kB)

Revolutions and democracy. Can democracies stop violence?

Download (886.68 kB)
posted on 2022-08-23, 22:17 authored by Vadim UstyuzhaninVadim Ustyuzhanin, Andrey Korotayev


In recent years, the question of what form a revolutionary uprising will take — armed or unarmed — has been raised more and more often. This is because, as shown by numerous studies, revolutionary nonviolence can explain why the uprising failed or succeed to lead to democracy. In the recent decades the likelihood of revolution being nonviolent appears to have significantly increased, but it is still not clear why this tendency is observed. Moreover, there are only a few quantitative cross-national studies on this topic, in which the authors tried to explain the apparent pattern. However, none of them considered political factors separately. This paper tests the hypothesis that a country's level of democracy can inhibit the spread of revolutionary violence. By applying logistic regression to the NAVCO database, we analyze 400 episodes and conclude that, in general, the more democratic the political system, the more likely the revolution take a nonviolent form. Nevertheless, the various revolutionary events could be of a rather different nature, and it is further shown that the level of democracy matters only for sociopolitical revolutions, while for separatist revolutions it does not play a significant role. In other words, democracy can stop effectively violence only in revolutionary episodes caused by sociopolitical (but not ethno-nationalist) grievances. 


Russian Science Foundation #18-18-00254


Declaration of conflicts of interest


Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Russian Federation

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Researcher

Lead author institution

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

Terms agreed

  • Yes, I agree to Advance terms

Comments (3)

Log in to write your comment here...

It is an informative articleRead More

Agreed with this. Click here

Agreed terms and conditions name style