Four Positions on the Recognition of States in and after the Soviet Union, with Special Reference to Abkhazia

Bruno Coppieters

Europe-Asia Studies, 70:6, 991-1014.

This essay looks at why, how and with what degree of success the international community has applied its recognition policies in the post-Soviet space. The essay addresses the issue from a normative perspective by comparing these policies with alternative policies on recognition that have arisen in Soviet and post-Soviet debates. A basic distinction is made between four normative positions. The essay compares the kind of just cause these positions claim to defend, the motives of those supporting each of these positions, the likelihood of success in achieving the stated objective, and the consequences and drawbacks inherent in each of these positions for post-Soviet conflicts over sovereignty generally and more specifically for the Georgian–Abkhaz dispute.