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The Proliferation of Status Proposals for Abkhazia – Distinct Concepts or Mere Labels?

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image of International Journal on Minority and Group Rights

In the conflict between Georgia and the breakaway region of Abkhazia, status talks have not been successful. Yet, between 1989 and 2008 a number of proposals for Abkhazia’s status have surfaced which can be situated along a wide spectrum of concepts, from cultural autonomy to confederalism to independence. The example of Georgia/Abkhazia serves well to outline the extent to which desired status can been formulated, re-formulated and possibly misformulated in the context of an ethno-political conflict. This is especially illustrative when contrasted with the ‘Åland Example’. The mere labels given to self-government arrangements can play an important role in status negotiations, as these might render the arrangements proposed more or less vulnerable to rejection, e.g. due to historic experiences. The aim of this article is to highlight such complexities as pertinent in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.

Affiliations: 1: Researcher, Åland Islands Peace Institute, Mariehamn, Åland/Finland


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