The consolidation of de facto regimes: a comparison of post-Soviet cases




  • Agents and Patterns of Security and War

The project builds on a preceding project on irregular armed groups in the conflict in Ukraine and on field research by project staff. The project compares the modus operandi of de facto regimes in the post-Soviet space – non-recognized territories that shy away from the supremacy of their mother state. It is a continuation of the prior project on irregular armed groups in the Ukraine conflict. The debate on de facto regimes is usually dominated by international law perspectives and the assumption of state erosion or fragility. The project, by contrast, takes up the plea of recent studies to investigate informal governance or the mode of operation of non-recognised states and thus to identify reasons for their performance. The project is relevant in theory because it will offer a typological classification of de facto regimes. Furthermore, it is politically significant because it contributes to the development of criteria for dealing with de facto regimes. The project compares four post-Soviet de facto regimes (Transnistria, Nagorno Karabakh, Abkhazia and Donbas/Ukraine) based on five dimensions that could explain different degrees of consolidation. These four cases were selected for the exploratory study, which serves to generate theoretical knowledge because the cases have relevant commonalities, but at the same time allow complex explanations and can be used to analyse the relative weight of preconditions for consolidation. An English language monography, a special issue of the journal ‘Osteuropa’ and three peer-reviewed English language journal articles as well as workshop presentations and the presentation of the project outcomes at the International Political Science Association (IPSA) are planned to be the outcome of this project. The project is scheduled to run for three years.

Project Team


  • Volkswagenstiftung

Duration of project