Unrecognised States in Eurasia: Frozen Conflicts

The end of the Soviet Union produced a series of bitter struggles in Eurasia. The names of the territories involved surfaced briefly as trouble spots. But almost a decade on, the disputes are far from over – despite recent flurries of diplomatic activity, they are conflicts frozen in time.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Dov Lynch

Senior Officer, Office of the Director-General, UNESCO

Fifteen new states emerged from the rubble of the Soviet collapse. Or so we think. There are four other unrecognised ‘states’. These are not found on any map of the new Eurasian space. They are completely isolated in international relations and they all face deep internal problems, their nearest neighbours challenging their very existence.

Often, they are dismissed as criminal strips of no- man’s land and the puppets of other powers. The conflicts receded from the headlines long ago: the 1992 struggle in Moldova with the break-away region of Transdniestria, the wars in Georgia between Tbilisi and South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 1992-1994, and the bitter dispute over the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. Cease-fire agreements have been reached in all of them.

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