Issue 3-4 2018: Para-states. Life beyond geopolitics
The Summer 2018 issue of New Eastern Europe tackles the complexity of para-states in the post-Soviet space. Our authors analyse their status and position, but also take you beyond the geopolitics. They focus on elements that elude the everyday policymaker or analyst. They look at culture, identity and entrepreneurship.
This year marks a decade since the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1808 reaffirming the commitment of the international community to Georgia’s territorial integrity and promoting the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict by peaceful means. However, only a few months later, in August 2008 a war erupted between Georgia and South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Russia, resulting in the victory of the latter and expulsion of the Georgian military from both territories.
As a result, Russia and a handful of other states officially recognised the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, stating that they will never be a part of Georgia.
The rest of the international community, however, continues to adhere to the UN resolution, not recognising these regions as independent states. A decade onward, despite this lack of international recognition not only do both territories continue to exist, but are also not sole examples of para, or de facto, states that operate on the so-called post-Soviet territory. Even more, within their boundaries there are countless societies and communities whose livelihoods are surely affected by their states’ unusual status in international relations. Yet they continue to lead their lives, just like people in other states and areas.
The following stories presented in this issue tackle the complexity of para-states in the post-Soviet space. Our authors analyse their complex status and position but also take you beyond geopolitics. They focus on elements that elude the everyday policymaker or analyst. They look at culture, identity and entrepreneurship. And while generally it is our editorial policy to follow international norms, some of the authors are from these unrecognised places and may refer to their homes as a country or state. After all, as Thomas de Waal writes in his opening essay, “political scientists insist that statehood is a political definition and can exist without recognition”. While any resolution to these conflicts seems presently unimaginable, getting to know the realities on the ground could be a first step towards progress. However, we should also heed the warning in Ziemowit Szczerek’s essay, which argues that the spectre of separatism still haunts the region and could easily appear in the Western Balkans or even Central Europe, especially if the West gives up on its role in the region.
Table of Contents
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Uncertain territory. The strange life and curious sustainability of de facto states
Thomas de Waal
New separatisms. Or what could happen if the West disappeared from Eastern Europe?
How to set up your own para-state
Donbas coal bonanza
Culture in a conflicted region
A recognised pub in an unrecognised state
Peace is still far from reach
A conversation with Leyla and Arif Yunus
Georgia’s separatist regions at a standstill
The red shoes of Transnistrian women
De facto states and Non-recognition. A special series from the Black Sea Institute
A series of essays related to the topic of de facto state states, separatism and non-recognition by researchers from the Black Sea Institute.
The model student, the latecomer and the bully. NATO relations in Eastern Europe
Dominik P. Jankowski
A house divided. Orthodoxy in post-Maidan Ukraine
Will the long-awaited justice prevail in Ukraine?
The far right’s disproportionate influence
Sport, geopolitics and Russia. A short history
Anna Maria Dyner
From Putin’s Russia to a non-Putin’s Russia
An interview with Gleb Pavlovsky
The Odesan myth and the Ukrainian façade
An interview with Professor Borys Khersonskyy
STORIES AND IDEAS
Veterans of the Bosnian War struggle for their rights
Witnessing another Putin victory
ART, CULTURE AND SOCIETY
On mythical identities of mythical countries
A conversation with Miljenko Jergović
HISTORY & MEMORY
Renaming streets. A key element of identity politics
Anna Wójcik and Uladzislau Belavusau
Memory of independence. A gap-filling exercise
Between an axis of convenience and a return to the past
Eurasia and geopolitical thought
Ballad of a common soldier
Russia’s wars on Ukraine
Confronting the Romanian church’s cumbersome past
Russia and the Balkans. Navigating a minefield of opportunities