Four Positions on the Recognition of States in and after the Soviet Union, with Special Reference to Abkhazia, by Bruno Coppieters

From the book: Trans-Caucasia by Harold Buxton (1926)

Europe-Asia Studies Vol. 70, No. 6, August 2018, 991–1014 

Issue 6: Manifestations of Nationalism: The Caucasus from Late Soviet Times to the Early 1990s

Abstract

This essay looks at why, how and with what degree of success the international community has applied its recognition policies in the post-Soviet space. The essay addresses the issue from a normative perspective by comparing these policies with alternative policies on recognition that have arisen in Soviet and post-Soviet debates. A basic distinction is made between four normative positions. The essay compares the kind of just cause these positions claim to defend, the motives of those supporting each of these positions, the likelihood of success in achieving the stated objective, and the consequences and drawbacks inherent in each of these positions for post-Soviet conflicts over sovereignty generally and more specifically for the Georgian–Abkhaz dispute.

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Professor Bruno Coppieters is Professor emeritus at the Department of Political Science of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He was head of this department from 2015 to 2019. He obtained his Phd in Philosophy from the Freie Universitât Berlin in 1991. His published works deal mainly with federalism, the ethics of war and secession, and conflicts on sovereignty in the Caucasus and the Balkans. He coordinated a EU financed teaching project on European Studies for the Abkhazian State University in 2012-15, and participated as an expert to the International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (IIFFMCG) in 2009. He was a research fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University in the academic year 2003-04. He has co-edited the following books: Contextualizing Secession: Normative Studies in Comparative Perspective, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003; Statehood and Security: Georgia After the Rose Revolution, Cambridge/Mass., MIT Press, 2005; Moral Constraints on War: Principles and Cases, Lanham/Md., Lexington Books, 2008 (2d edition).

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