Archive for June, 2017

Confidence building, by any other name? Surpassing the triple bottleneck of assistance to de facto states

Originally published on

In spite of their contested nature, de facto states in the post-Soviet space engage in substantive external relations across a number of sectors, well beyond the dominant relationship they have with their patron. In recent years, confidence building programmes sponsored by the European Union have represented a venue for interactions between local actors in de facto states and the outside world. Such assistance – including capacity building projects and relatively small initiatives aimed at enhancing the social infrastructure in the health and education sector – contributes to the welfare of the local population and is welcomed by de facto authorities. However, for the most part, it is not conducive to more confidence between de facto authorities and parent state, or between local societies and the European Union. This is partly due to the context of the conflicts and contrasting long-term perspectives, but – as will be argued – is also consequence of the way in which these initiatives are framed. Changing the framing of at least some of these initiatives may be a small but meaningful step towards building a more enabling environment around these territories. Continue reading…