The revolutions rolling through Russia's backyard shifted thousands of miles last week from the borders of the European Union to the Chinese frontier as Kyrgyzstan fell to the daffodil-clutching opponents of the former communist apparatchik and Leningrad physicist Askar Akayev, whose early promise degenerated into nepotism, sleaze, rigged elections and the jailing of rivals.
The daffodils of Bishkek suggested a springtime of hope in the dictatorial "stans" of central Asia. But the Kyrgyz capital was so suffused with menace and volatility that its uprising could quickly turn ugly and violent, setting it apart from the Ukrainian and Georgian revolutions of the past 18 months.
They were characterized by determined and determinedly peaceful civil resistance to the shenanigans of the incumbents. Bishkek could yet turn bloody in the fight for the spoils.
There is no clear or agreed leader of the anti-Akayev movement. The conflict is partly clan-based and between regions, not solely between democrats and despots.
Organized crime is said to be engaged in fomenting trouble.
But with luck the momentum of people power will usher in a period of fairer and cleaner government that will ring alarm bells in the neighboring post-Soviet dictatorships.
As were Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine and Mikhail Saakashvili in Georgia, the revolutionary leaders are former officials of the regimes they are overthrowing.
International mediation may be necessary if things are not to spiral out of control and turn bloody. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) volunteered itself for that important role.
After the rigged elections four weeks ago which triggered the revolt, the Americans warned Akayev not to try to entrench himself in power by fiddling the constitution before his second term expired in October. The signs were that he was doing just that, or preparing a dynastic succession by engineering parliament seats for a son and daughter.
Now, with Akayev and his family fleeing the country, the result will be hailed as another gain in the global march of freedom which the White House has proclaimed as its second-term mission -- another "outpost of tyranny" falling.
And in Russia, where such dramas are invariably seen as a zero sum game in an imperial contest for regional clout, the White House's gain will certainly be taken as the Kremlin's loss.
In Kyrgyzstan the Kremlin has not committed the blunders and experienced the humiliation it did in Ukraine. None the less, the turn of events in Bishkek demonstrates Vladmir Putin's weakness.
He has managed to manoeuvre himself into the unenviable position of being identified as a not very effective supporter and protecter of unsavory regimes throughout the post-Soviet space.
Even where incumbents have survived at the ballot box, as recently happened in Moldova, they have done so by standing on an anti-Russian platform.
Putin came to power with a promise to restore Russian greatness and prestige, particularly in the "near abroad" that Moscow used to rule.
Instead, he has presided over the greatest erosion of Russian influence in the region.
This week he appointed a new official to spearhead a "counter- revolutionary" campaign aimed at shoring up Russia's clout around its vast rim.
Meanwhile the Kremlin is blaming the Kyrgyz tumult on the OSCE, which declared the parliamentary elections deeply flawed. All but six of the 75 seats fell to the Akayev camp. Moscow applauded. The Kyrgyz revolted.