The paper analyses different forms of political change from putsch to revolution and contends that the 'coloured revolutions' were revolutionary coup d'etats. Conditions promoting and retarding the success of such movements are discussed and cases of 'decremental relative deprivation' are discovered which predisposed the public to insurgency. Conditions for success involve a united and organized opposition with an alternative ideology and political policy. It is contended that counter elites when in power neither carry out revolutions nor further democratic development. An unintended consequence of democracy promotion is that autocratic regimes learn to counter it and in so doing weaken genuine civil society associations.