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ECONOMISTS IDENTIFY NEXT "COLOR" REVOLUTION COUNTRY

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MOSCOW, April 21. (RIA Novosti)-The "color" revolutions in the former Soviet Union were caused by objective economic reasons and new uprisings are probable in Tajikistan, Russia and Azerbaijan. This forecast comes in a report, The Long Transition to the Market, which was published yesterday by FBK Consulting, and picked up by today's issue of Biznes. Experts say the forecast is based on an analysis of many years of statistical data.

The economists decided to find out how quickly the former communist countries had managed to establish a market economy. GDP in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, was taken as the starting point. Many former Soviet republics have now restored their economies to the previous level. In particular, five years ago, Estonia's GDP reached the 1991 level. Uzbekistan achieved the same result in 2001 and Turkmenistan in 2002. Most eastern European countries saw GDP reach the pre-crisis level in 1993-1999 and did not decline at all in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The countries that have not yet completed their transition to a market economy include Moldova (in 2004 its GDP was 54.6% of the 1991 level), Georgia (65.6%), Ukraine (66.8%), Tajikistan (75.6%), Kyrgyzstan (81.8%), Russia (89.3%) and Azerbaijan (89.8%). Power recently changed hands amid violence in Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

The "color" revolutions on post-Soviet territory have objective social and economic grounds. The experts believe the protracted transition from the administrative and command economy to the market leads to heightened social tension with all the ensuing consequences. According to FBK, Russia will reach the Soviet Union's GDP level only in 2006.

Yevgeny Saburov, the director of the Institute of Investment Problems, on the whole agrees with the conclusions of FBK analysts. He says people overthrow the authorities when they have failed to live up to their expectations. "Azerbaijan, where the level of human capital is high and people expect a great deal from reforms, deserves the closest attention as a candidate for a revolution," Saburov said.

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