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Security, Democracy and Development

In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region


Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes

Since the early 1990s, the southern Caucasus and its larger neighbourhood, the Black Sea region, have experienced deep and sometimes painful transformations, including bloody conflicts. They have also become an arena of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between great powers. This has attracted growing attention from social scientists. In this volume, authors from universities in Europe, the United States and the southern Caucasus focus on several of the most topical problems of the region, particularly how nascent states and societies grapple with the results of unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts and how they try to construct new civil societies from the cultural mosaic that they inherited from their Soviet past. How do elements of democracy and autocracy combine in the political regimes of the new states? Can the West have an effect on their internal development and, if so, how? How do the rich mineral resources of the Caspian region influence the development of the region’s economies and define the geopolitical standing of these countries?
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War Economies and Protracted Conflicts: The Cases of Abkhazia and South Ossetia



ABSTRACT: This chapter looks at the role of war economies in the protraction of conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the early 1990s to 2008. It mobilizes the existing literature on boundary activation, borderlands, sanctions and the transformation of war economies to map the complexity of the two cases, while relying on extensive fieldwork to elucidate the economies of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian protracted conflicts. As a result, it unveils some of the incentives in increasing or decreasing levels of violence and protracting or ending conflict.

KEYWORDS: political economies, conflict protraction, boundary activation, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia

This chapter focuses on the dynamics underpinning the protraction of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian conflicts between the ceasefire agreements of the early 1990s and the resumption of a full-scale conflict in 2008. The fact that both cases are protracted conflicts that cannot be considered to be resolved due to lack of a peace agreement, but that little full-intensity confrontation has occurred, is an important element of this analytical framework. These are not the only cases of no-peace, no-war protracted conflicts – ranging from neighbouring Nagorno-Karabakh to the 50-year long case of Korea – but contain enough variations within their development to allow us to observe the dynamics of separatist protracted conflicts from a new angle.

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