This project offers a new perspective on the political life of post-Soviet societies. It analyzes the rhetoric and electoral tactics of democratic movements in Ukraine and Belarus in the late 1980s and early 1990s by using the methods of historical anthropology and the history of political ideas. Based on a systematic analysis of vote tallies, the project provides insights into the geographical distribution of the democratic electorate and the degree of its consolidation over several elections. Further, it looks into how the leaders of the democratic forces perceived their position as political minorities and how this awareness influenced their public rhetoric and collective action. Finally, it explains the territorial distribution of democratic coalitions in a broader context of class cleavages and cultural-geographic divisions. By doing so, the project should rethink the relationship between the political practices of Eastern Europe and notions of the region’s “backwardness,” prevalent among local elites since the nineteenth century.