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Case Study of the Conflict in South Ossetia

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Chapter Summary

Because of its unique qualities, South Ossetia does not fit into the traditional analysis of complex power-sharing arrangements. A tailored approach was developed for the exploration of the South Ossetian case. The objective was twofold: to identify case-specific factors that has enabled and continues to facilitate bilateral or multilateral cooperation; and to examine the areas, channels, and patterns of the existing power-sharing practices. This chapter provides an account of the origins, scope, and dynamics of conflict in South Ossetia. It then explores the second research objective and provides a detailed study of grassroots power-sharing that focuses on participants as well as on the level and scope of their involvement. The chapter analyzes which parties, internal or external, were best-positioned to capitalize on 'relative peace' and what were the most urgent and politically least sensitive issues that triggered cooperation. Comparison with Abkhazia highlights the unique character of the South Ossetia experience.

Keywords: Abkhazia; conflict; multilateral cooperation; power-sharing arrangements; relative peace; South Ossetia



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