Vladimir Kolosov & Maria Zotova: “De-Facto Borders” as a Mirror of Sovereignty. The Case of the Post-Soviet Non-Recognized States. [Abstract]

The crisis of statehood in many countries has resulted in the emergence of non-recognized states that have become an intrinsic feature of the world geopolitical order. Using the concept of bordering, we study a specific type of border that was shaped in the course of state-building processes and conflicts with parent states. Some “de-facto borders” are not stable; in addition, non-recognized states often do not control all their declared territory. Looking in detail at the situation in six non-recognized republics in the post-Soviet space, we show the asymmetry of their borders with the parent state and with the external patron. Comparing the basic socio-economic indicators by regions, we conclude that non-recognized states still lag far behind both their parent and their patron state. Citizens of non-recognized republics regularly visit border areas of the patron and parent states and spend a considerable part of their income there. This can contribute to the normalization of relations between adversaries, but at the same time can perpetuate the separation between them. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the barrier functions of the borders with parent states.

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