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An Introduction to Breakaway Regions of the Former Soviet Union
(Released January 2009)

  by Fiona Allison  


Key Citations




News & Scholarship Dissertations
News Articles
Historical Newspapers
  1. What right did Russia have? Russian intervention in Georgia and Moldova in the early 1990s

    Muller, Virginia Paige, M.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006, 76 pages; AAT 1432790

    Abstract (Summary)
    In the early 1990s conflict broke out in several former Soviet republics as different regions vied for independence. Abkhazia in Georgia and Transdniestria in Moldova were two such regions. The Russian government initially declared neutrality in both cases but soon changed course, instead supporting Abkhaz and Transdniestrian separatists. Several months later, the Russian government changed course and announced the installment of Russian peacekeeping troops in Georgia and Moldova. The intent of these peacekeeping missions was ostensibly to support the cessation of armed fighting and promote resolution of the disputes, but Russia's involvement in both cases was never as neutral or conflict-resolution based as peacekeeping missions should be. This thesis will look at Russia's rationale for intervening in the Abkhaz/Georgia and Transdniestrian/Moldovan conflicts in order to better understand Russia's justification for getting involved.

    Title Page & Contents (PDF)

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  2. Separatism or federalism? Ethnic conflict and resolution in Russia and Georgia

    George, Julie Alynn,Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2005, 316 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    Ethnic conflicts have accounted for most of the world's wars in recent decades. My dissertation, based on research on ethno-federal regions in Russia and Georgia, analyzes the factors that cause some ethnic mobilization movements to become violent while others find negotiated settlements or never become politically conflictual. Contrary to recent ethnicity literature, which emphasizes the role of ethnic group wealth, intergroup political dynamics, and historical oppression, my findings indicate that although such factors are important, central-regional elite networks and state capacity are the crucial factors that affect violent or non-violent regional strategies. Elite networks open pathways for negotiation and patronage politics. Failed states enhance the likelihood for conflict: they not only provide incentives for ethnic mobilization by enterprising regional ethnic elites, but are often unable to offer credible negotiation deals to regional groups.

    Title Page & Contents (PDF)

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  3. Complementarity and coordination of conflict resolution efforts in the conflicts over Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transdniestria

    Nan, Susan Allen, Ph.D., George Mason University, 2000, 372 pages

    The complementarity and coordination of multiple conflict resolution initiatives within the peace processes surrounding the conflicts over Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transdniestria are examined through a focused comparative case study research design of post-war peace building in these three post-Soviet inter-group conflicts. Building on a contingency approach to conflict analysis and resolution and work by David Bloomfield, Ronald Fisher, Loraleigh Keashly, Louis Kriesberg, and Christopher Mitchell, the research reports dynamics of conflict resolution efforts, their complementarity, and coordination noted by interviewees. 133 conflict resolution participants, practitioners, and funders involved in three peace processes completed semi-structured interviews between fall 1997 and summer 1998. With particular emphasis on second track diplomacy, the separate conflict resolution initiatives undertaken in each case between the end of each war and May 1998 are surveyed, their major effects noted, and any interactive effects systematically documented. These findings center on separate conflict resolution efforts that together address aspects of the conflict and contribute to an overall peace process that is more than the sum of its parts. The results suggest that separate conflict resolution efforts can and do affect the subjective, objective, and procedural aspects of conflict over time, through developing a multifaceted peace process of official negotiations, mid-level peace building and grass roots confidence building. Long-term unofficial facilitated joint analysis amongst negotiators is found to offer particularly direct complementarity to official negotiations. The results are summarized in working frameworks of complementarity and coordination dynamics, integrated with existing literature on complementarity and coordination. Finally, the results suggest guidelines for improved conflict resolution practice in multiple intervenor contexts, as well as suggesting related areas requiring additional research.

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  4. The dynamics of dissolution: Causes, manifestations, and ethnic and migratory consequences of the end of the Soviet Union for Russia and the newly independent states

    Korobkov, Andrei Vladimir, Ph.D., The University of Alabama, 1999, 619 pages

    Abstract (Summary)
    The dissertation considers the ethnic and migratory consequences of politically guided processes of nation- and state-building, developing in the newly independent states (NIS) and the ethnic federal units of the Russian Federation. The treatment of minorities is viewed as an important aspect of democratic transition and the formation of inclusive civil societies. Migrations are considered as one of the ways that minorities cope with the newly emerging situation. Thus, the intensity, structural characteristics, and territorial orientation of post-Soviet migration flows are viewed as important indicators of the effectiveness and consistency of NIS policies, officially aimed at democratization, the creation of civil society, and protecting the rights of ethnic and other minorities.

    This dissertation discusses the origins of the heterogeneous ethnic population structure in the USSR, policies of the Communist regime towards the national regions, the role of the Soviet federalism, and the development of local ethnic elites in non-Russian areas. Discussion of Gorbachev's policies (1985-1991) concentrates on the role of democratization and institutional reforms in the formation of national movements in the former Soviet republics, changes in relationships between the federal and the republican governments, and the origins of new migrations on the territory of the USSR.

    The time frame of the dissertation is limited by August 1998--the beginning of a deep economic crisis, followed by a revision of the concept of economic and political development in Russia. The analysis distinguishes between the socio-economic and political factors defining the formation of migration flows in the post-Soviet period. Special attention is given to the approaches of governments and specific political movements in the NIS towards minorities and migrants, and to the ethnic structure and territorial orientation of new migration flows.

    The study discusses measures directed at liquidation of the political causes of migrations. Special attention is given to the policies concerning minority rights and regulating the status of migrants, and to the reform of the Russian Federation as a means of guaranteeing stability of inter-ethnic relations.

    Title Page & Contents (PDF)

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News Articles

  1. Some 100 Russian troops deployed in Georgian village near South Ossetia - TV
    Rustavi-2 TV, Tbilisi, in Georgian 0800 13 Dec 08
    BBC Monitoring Central Asia 12-13-2008

    GEORGIA --

    Some 100 Russian paratroopers have been deployed to the Georgian village of Perevi adjacent to separatist South Ossetia and Mi-24 fighter jets have been carrying out reconnaissance operations over the village, the Georgian private TV channel Rustavi-2 reported on 13 December. It said that Georgian police were holding talks with a Russian commandant in the village and that European military observers and diplomats had arrived in the village too. The TV also quoted European ambassadors as criticizing the Russian re- appearance in Perevi. The following is text of report by private Georgian TV station Rustavi-2 on 13 December:

    [Presenter] Russian occupiers have returned to the positions they held earlier [in the Georgian village of Perevi, adjacent to separatist South Ossetia]. Additional paratroopers have been brought into the village of Perevi. [Russian] servicemen have been stationed in checkpoints that were removed earlier. [Russian troops'] commandant in Tskhinvali, Tarasov, has arrived in Perevi. Georgian policemen are holding negotiations with him. EU and OSCE military observers, and representatives of diplomatic corps [accredited in Georgia] have been in the village of Perevi since the morning [of 13 December], including French ambassador to Georgia Eric Fournier. Our filming crew is also working in Perevi. [Correspondent] Davit Kakulia joins us live [from Perevi]. Davit, what is the situation like in Perevi at this moment, and do Russian servicemen plan finally to withdraw from Perevi?
    [Correspondent] Keti, approximately several minutes ago, and you can probably see the Russian occupiers on camera, they started reinforcing their checkpoints at the entrance to the village of Perevi. A Russian military helicopter landed here several minutes ago. . . .

  2. 'The Cold War Is Long Over'
    Lavrov, Sergey
    Newsweek International 09-01-2008

    This month Georgia's Saakashvili chose to achieve his political vision through violence.

    It has become fashionable to view Russia's involvement in South Ossetia through the prism of the cold war, with the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia as the blueprint. But such interpretations are historical folly. They ignore the recent history of the region. They ignore the great strides Russia has made since the collapse of the U.S.S.R. And they ignore the most basic fact of the current situation: that under cover of night, on Aug. 8, Georgia launched a military attack that killed hundreds of peacekeepers and civilians, creating a humanitarian disaster that led to an exodus of more than 30,000 refugees.

    Let us be clear: Russia's involvement in South Ossetia is not about ideology. Nor is it about regime change in Georgia. Least of all is it about re-establishing the boundaries of the U.S.S.R. It is about restoring a fragile peace.

    After the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Georgia's new leadership announced that "Georgia is for Georgians," ended regional autonomy inside Georgia and moved military forces to take Tskhinvali and Sukhumi. . . .

  3. Georgia Says Abkhaz Separatists Fire on Checkpoint
    Voice of America News / FIND 11-20-2008

    Georgian authorities say separatist fighters, with Russian backing, have attacked a police checkpoint near the country's breakaway republic of Abkhazia.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili Thursday said Abkhaz fighters, backed by two Russian armored vehicles, fired grenade launchers and automatic weapons at the checkpoint near the village of Ganmukhuri, causing damage.

    Abkhaz separatists say they fired at police only after the Georgians attacked them. . . .

  4. Partner, or Bully? ; Should Europeans worry about their growing dependence on Russian energy? For a not very reassuring answer, they need only look to Georgia. It's a case study in intimidation
    Owen Matthews; Anna Nemtsova
    Newsweek International 05-08-2006

    Vladimir Putin was feeling indignant. Why don't Europeans trust Russia? "I constantly hear complaints" that Europe is "overly dependent" on Russian energy, he griped last week to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Siberian city of Tomsk. "But Russia is a reliable partner. It always has been."

    Really? Ask the Georgians--or almost any of Russia's former satellites. Rather than a reliable partner, they've found Moscow deeply vindictive toward any neighbor that crosses its interests. Ever since the pro-Western Rose Revolution of November 2003, Georgian leaders say, Moscow's been trying to ruin the country's economy--first by raising gas prices, and in recent months by blocking imports of fruits, vegetables, wine and mineral water. Ditto for Ukraine, hit with a doubling of gas prices, a gas stoppage and a blockade of meat and produce in the wake of its own Orange Revolution. Even poor Moldova, which hasn't had a revolution of any color yet, was hit with a gas hike and a ban on wine exports to Russia after it struck a deal with the European Union sealing the borders of the tiny, Russian-speaking enclave of Transdniestr, which Moscow regards as a protectorate. "Russia treats us like it treated Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany in the '50s and '60s," Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili tells NEWSWEEK. "We are being punished for our attempts to be free."

    So maybe it's not so surprising, after all, that Europeans worry. Given Russia's track record of bullying its close neighbors, won't it eventually bully distant ones too? "Europe is relying for a large portion of its energy supplies on a country that does not hesitate to use its monopoly power in devious and arbitrary ways," wrote the international financier George Soros in The Financial Times last week. "European countries are at Russia's mercy." . . .

News Articles taken from ProQuest's eLibrary.

Historical Newspapers

  1. NEW CONSTITUTION OF SOVIET RUSSIA; DAMNS CAPITALIST RULE Union of Republics Closely Resembles Union of States. SOVEREIGN POWER FOR EACH But All Are Subject in External Affairs to Majority Rule -- Full Text of New Document. NEW SOVIET CONSTITUTION
    New York Times. New York, N.Y.: Aug 12, 1923. pg. XX4, 2 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)
    The full text of the new Constitution of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, formally adopted, by the Central Executive Committee of the Union in Moscow on July 6, 1923, has reached this country. Cable dispatches noted that it would have to be confirmed by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, but there is no doubt that it will be confirmed.

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  2. Baltics Given Economic Autonomy; Soviet Legislature Grants 3 Republics Control of Land, Resources Baltics Win Economic Autonomy
    David Remnick
    The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nov 28, 1989. pg. A27, 2 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)

    The Soviet legislature voted today to grant the three Baltic republics economic autonomy beginning Jan. 1, a move that will give the region full control over its land and resources.

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  3. Soviet Georgia Revokes Autonomy for Region
    New York Times. New York, N.Y.: Dec 12, 1990. pg. A9, 1 pgs

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Taken from ProQuest's Historical Newspapers.