The Time Of The Rebels: Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century Revolutions paints an intriguing picture of former Soviet bloc societies in transition, and the role of youth movements and peaceful resistance in dismantling undemocratic regimes. The narrative begins in Serbia, where the student group Otpor waged a dissident campaign against then president Slobodan Milosevic using traditional media-savvy tactics, successfully selling resistance like Coca-Cola, running the movement like a corporate brand. From the successful push to defeat Milosevic in the presidential elections of 2000, the book shifts focus to Ukraine’s much publicized Orange Revolution and a Georgian group, Kmara, appropriated Otpor’s tactics and iconography in its struggle against the ruling liberal autocracy of Eduard Shevardnadze.
Collin’s extensive research and vivid style provides an almost sociological snapshot of a political dissident in 21st century post-Soviet society, and while his sympathies clearly lie with the dissidents, he acknowledges the movements’ seamier sides—the internal squabbling, murky funding sources and accusations that they are supported by the CIA. The result is a valuable overview of the political movements that sought to renew democracy in a region frequently overlooked by the Western press.