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Revolution v. Coup

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Revolution v. Coup

Postby Slava » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:28 pm

In an NYT article about events in Ukraine, there is this sentence, "[Yanukovich's] removal from office was hailed in western Ukraine as a revolution, but in the historically pro-Russian regions, it was angrily labeled a coup."

I understand the idea of a palace coup, but how would these two words differ in this situation. Is it not six of one half dozen of the other? What am I missing here?
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Re: Revolution v. Coup

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:51 pm

In my head, a coup is a smaller takeover of the government, often by a cabal with military or police support. Revolution engulfs a whole country in a civil war or something close to it.
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Re: Revolution v. Coup

Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:34 pm

Revolution: a situation in which people completely change their government or political system, usually by force

coup or coup d'état: an occasion when a group of people takes control of a country, usually by means of military force

Comparing these definitions (from the lookup function on the Alpha Dictionary top page), we see

Revolution: People;
Coup: Group of people
So a revolution is an act by the people as a whole while a coup is an act by a subset of the people

Revolution: change the government or political system;
Coup: take control of a country
So a revolution is about changing the government/political system while a coup is about controlling the country

Revolution: by force;
Coup: by military force
So a revolution is by a generalized force not necessarily including the military while a coup usually includes the military

So back to the Ukraine: The western Ukraine viewed the event as a change in the political system brought about by the people as a whole without the assistance of the military while the pro-Russian regions viewed the event as a small group of (Ukrainian speaking) people taking control of the country by force
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