In many respects, de facto states play a highly specific role as actors within the international system of sovereign states. The lack of international recognition has tangible political and economic impacts on the functioning of such states, and so the attempt to persuade domestic actors and the international community of the legitimacy of their claims to independence ranks among the most important components of these states’ policy—not only in foreign policy, but also in domestic policy. The aim of this text is to contribute to our understanding of how internal legitimization strategies for Abkhazian statehood are constructed and how they impact upon the foreign policy of this de facto state. Field research was carried out via interviews with important official state representatives of Abkhazia and important non-state actors—including journalists and representatives of nonprofit organizations, universities, the Church and other key institutions, which influence public opinion within and beyond this de facto state.
This paper presents “social moves” as a new strategy de facto states can use in their interactions with the international community, with or without the possibility of a formal recognition of sovereignty. Special attention is paid to Abkhazia’s continuing desire for an independent state compared to South Ossetia’s desire for Russian absorption in light of both regions’ ethnic histories and turbulent relationships with Georgia. Key analysis includes discussion of the diplomatic soft power “social moves” the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry has begun in the last two years and the absence of similar “social moves” within the South Ossetian Foreign Ministry.
According to a recent study by Adrian Florea, the post-Soviet area is a home for seven defactostates: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, and Transnistria, as well as, in a historical perspective, Ajaria, Chechnya, and the Gagauz Republic (Gagauzia).
Facto State” by Marcin Kosienkowski of the John Paul ii Catholic University of Lublin (Lublin, Poland). Kosienkowski reveals that the post-Soviet area is a home for a several defactostates, which are entities that resemble so-called “normal” states, but lack international recognition. Kosienkowski
), 38-54; and “Kosovo in Abk- hazia or the Universality of DeFactoStates”, in Samir Kumar Das (ed.), Minorities in South Asia and in Europe: A New Agenda (Samya, Kolkata, West Bengal, 2010). Soili Nystén-Haarala is Professor of Civil Law in the Faculty of Social Sci- ences and Business Studies at the
(2010), 38-54; and “Kosovo in Abkhazia or the Universality of DeFactoStates”, in Samir
List of Contributors 153 Kumar Das (ed.), Minorities in South Asia and in Europe: A New Agenda (Samya, Kolkata, West Bengal, 2010). Alexey Lisachenko was born in Tomsk and educated at the Ural State Legal
States: Unresolved Conflicts and DeFactoStates ( USIP Press: 2004, Washington D . C .).
New thinking about ‘frozen’ conflicts Helsinki Monitor 2005 no. 3 193 Control Commissions and the CIS peacekeeping operations in South Ossetia and Transnistria. In fact, the record is poor. The peacekeeping
–3 ); Tetyana Malyarenko and Stefan Wolff, The Dynamics of Emerging De-FactoStates: Eastern Ukraine in the Post-Soviet Spac e (Boca Raton, Fl.: crc Press, 2019); David R. Marples, Ukraine in Conflict (Bristol: E-International Relations, 2017); Taras Kuzio, Ukraine: Democratization, Corruption
speaking—part of Georgia, because only in this case can they provide important policy levers for Russia, which then can be used to impose pressure on Tbilisi. 2 However, Russia has proven everyone wrong and chosen the hardly predictable path of recognizing both defactostates. This again will lead to a