What is it about?

Military coups during popular mass uprisings are bad news for democracy. Even though the military might overthrow an unpopular leader, the consequence is likely to be a return to authoritarian rule, not democratic transition.

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Why is it important?

Our findings allow us to better understand the stakes in popular mass uprisings against authoritarian regimes, such as those of the Arab Spring, or the more recent events in Algeria, Sudan, and elsewhere. In such crisis situations, the military is a pivotal actor since uprisings are unlikely to succeed against the resistance of the armed forces. If military officers decide to intervene and take power, however, the prospects for democracy are bleak. These results caution against supporting military actors during regime crises and could inform foreign policy towards such cases.


This article is the result of a long collaborative effort. It brings a novel perspective to a topic which has received increased attention in recent years. I hope readers will find our contribution useful.

Kevin Koehler
Universiteit Leiden

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Revolutions and the Military: Endgame Coups, Instability, and Prospects for Democracy, Armed Forces & Society, November 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0095327x19881747.
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