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Interpreting Non-Recognition in De Facto States Engagement: The Case of Abkhazia’s Foreign Relations

Jaksa, Urban (2019) Interpreting Non-Recognition in De Facto States Engagement: The Case of Abkhazia’s Foreign Relations. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This research looks at how Abkhazia’s political elites and foreign policy decision-makers in Russia, the EU, and the US, which engage with Abkhazia, interpret non-recognition and how this interpretation influences the formulation and implementation of their respective foreign policy objectives and strategies. Although there is an emerging literature on engagement this has tended to analyse it as a one-way interaction, while this research represents the first multi-sided account of foreign policy interaction of a de facto state. It focuses on a single case study of Abkhazia between October 1999 and November 2014. Non-recognition has largely been taken a priori as a negative constraining factor. The great majority of scholarship on de facto states takes non-recognition for granted and views it in substantive rather than in relational terms. Focusing on meaning and interpretation of non-recognition by elites in de facto states as well as decision-makers in the patron state and other significant engagers, allows for a better understanding of the interactions between de facto states and other actors in the international community. The research proceeds from a constructivist theoretical framework, claiming that non-recognition is ultimately what states (including de facto states) make of it. To capture both domestic and external dimensions, the concepts of ontological security and geopolitical role, respectively, are introduced. Methodologically, the data was gathered through process tracing and semi-structured elite interviews with policy elites and decision makers in Sukhum/i, Tbilisi, Brussels, Moscow, and Washington D.C. The main finding of this research is that the internal situation in the de facto state and wider geopolitical considerations influence interpretations of non-recognition (by both recognised actors as well as the de facto state itself), which in turn shape interaction between de facto states and other actors.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.794266
Depositing User: Mr Urban Jaksa
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2020 13:54
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2020 10:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25658

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