A paper by Giorgio Cumai just published in the journal Ethnopoliticsconsiders the similarities between post-Soviet de facto states, including Nagorno Karabakh, with small dependent jurisdictions, such as Pacific and Caribbean island nations. “De facto states, according to the most established elaborations of the concept, by definition strive towards full-fledged, internationally recognized independence,” writes Cumai in the paper’s abstract. “However, in many cases, independence may actually be perceived as a second best option.”
Cumai notes the de-facto states’ dependence on their patron states for economic support and security and limited local opportunities outside public sector. “Conceptualizing post-Soviet de facto states as small dependent jurisdictions contributes to a more nuanced understanding of their state-building project, their relationship with the patron state, their political economy, as well as their long-term path of development,” he argues.
Cumai is a researcher at Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso – Transeuropa, a think tank based in Italy. He previously lectured on the “Unrecognized states in the international system” at Dublin City University in Ireland.