The paper explains the different trajectories followed by countries that launched colour revolutions and those that remain authoritarian, contrasting revolutionary Ukraine with non-revolutionary Russia. It argues that both types of regime change came about for similar reasons, but had different natures, namely, that while the Orange Revolution is a discontinuous regime change, soft authoritarianism is a continuous one. Both implement the preferences of the influential elite, i.e. business groups. The nature of change depends upon the differences in characteristics within business groups, the availability of the oligarchic rents and the degree of implementation by which these preferences enter into Ukraine’s and Russia’s state politics.