de facto states

Russia hacked: problematic sources for insights on conflicts in Ukraine and the South Caucasus

In recent years, high-level leaks and hacks have featured prominently in media reporting. Russia has been repeatedly blamed for carrying out cyber-attacks against a variety of actors in Western countries, including the US Democratic party and then-presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron in France. However, Russian government actors have themselves been repeatedly hacked in recent years, including by alleged Ukrainian hacker groups and others (e.g. #SurkovLeaks). People associated with the de facto authorities in the Donbas region have also been hacked.

The EU and De Facto States: Adjust Expectations, Support Small Steps

As of early 2019, policy-makers looking for pragmatic and forward-thinking approaches to meaningful engagement with de facto states in the EU’s neighbourhood should keep as their point of reference Thomas de Waal’s recently published book “ Uncertain Ground: Engaging With Europe’s De Facto States and Breakaway Territories”. He argues in favour of a “more sophisticated rules of engagement within a framework of non-recognition”, suggesting that the international community should “be prepared to engage more directly with de facto authorities on a give-and-take principle,” and further presents a number of specific recommendations on issues such as higher education, health, minority rights, and trade (in a previous commentary for ISPI, I have similarly argued in favour of a pragmatic, nuanced approach to increased engagement focusing on human rights and trade).

Should the EU talk more or less about conflict?

Developing a New Research Agenda on Post-Soviet De Facto States

The scholarship on post-Soviet de facto states has structurally focused on issues related to their contested status, and has long …

Ten Years After the War in South Ossetia, Time to Embrace Nuance

Ten years after the war between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia, in a context where grand bargains and comprehensive agreements are difficult to imagine, it is time to embrace a nuanced approach to conflicts in the post-Soviet space. Pragmatic and humane solutions that acknowledge local agency are the way forward The one book I recommend reading on the 10th anniversary of the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia is Gerard Toal’s Near Abroad.

After a new president came to power, what happened to Transnistria’s media?

I have analysed Transnistrian online media 18 months after Vadim Krasnoselski came to power. I found clear evidence of selective removal of “unpleasant” old news items, but no evidence of mass dismissal of journalists. In Transnistria – a de facto independent state located within the internationally recognised borders of Moldova – in the aftermath of the December 2016 presidential vote, the risk of increased tensions seemed to be particularly high, as Vadim Krasnoselski – who won the vote – had threatened to jail the incumbent Shevchuk on live TV during a pre-electoral debate, and people in top positions close to Shevchuk knew they had a lot to lose from an unfavourable electoral outcome.

Non-recognition is the symptom, not the cause

My PhD thesis - What is the effect of non-recognition? The external relations of de facto states in the post-Soviet space - is now online and can be downloaded freely. Aware of the limited allure of a 300-pages pdf file, I decided to outline here some key outcomes (not necessarily the conclusions), as well as some additional thoughts. 1. Non-recognition is the symptom, not the cause First, a one-paragraph summary of my conclusions.

Conceptualising Post-Soviet de facto States as Small Dependent Jurisdictions

De facto states, according to the most established elaborations of the concept, by definition strive towards full-fledged, …

Confidence Building by Any Other Name? Surpassing the Triple Bottleneck of Assistance to De Facto States

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.