Part II Case Studies

Chapter 4: The Eurasian Quartet

On This Chapter




Secession and war

State-building and foreign relations

Alternative futures

South Ossetia

Statehood and war

Alternative futures


Towards the PMR

The patron and the peacemakers

State- and nation-building

Final status options

Nagorno Karabagh

Statehood and war

External involvement


Searching for a lasting settlement



The life cycles of the four contested states of Eurasia reveal striking similarities in respect of their origins, current existence and possible future status. Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdniestria and Nagorno Karabagh are moreover located in the space of the former Soviet Union but none are formally part of Russia. The foursome owed their contested statehood to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, taking up arms individually to break free from successor states they considered alien, unrepresentative and repressive. The post-Soviet states involved are Georgia (in the cases of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), Moldova (Transdniestria) and Azerbaijan (Nagorno Karabagh). For these reasons it makes sense to examine the Eurasian quartet – incidentally among the youngest of today’s contested states – as a group.