SOAS University of London

Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus

The Foreign Policy Options of a Small Unrecognised State: The Case of Abkhazia

Abkhazian flag
Thomas Frear (Independent Analyst)

Date: 23 January 2014Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 23 January 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G50

Type of Event: Seminar


The study of international relations has historically focused on the activities of large, powerful states, dismissing the smaller entities of the international system as unimportant or merely objects of policy for the larger entities. This truism extends especially to those entities that exist in an unrecognised or partially recognised limbo, neither a full part of the international system nor an ungoverned space. Yet in the post Cold War world, following the dissolution of large multi-national states such as the USSR, these entities have begun to proliferate. This proliferation provides a significant challenge to an international system in which the primary participants are states, and to the institutions created to oversee their interaction. Unrecognised entities, existing outside of this framework, represent a threat to the universal principle of sovereignty, that one true institutionalised aspect of international relations. As such the study of these entities and their interaction with the world outside their borders is a study important for a systemic understanding of the post Cold War world. This seminar aims to address the development and foreign policy of one such entity, Abkhazia.

Speaker's Biography

Thomas is a graduate of the MA International Double Award in International Relations program at the University of Kent and the Higher School of Economics, Moscow. Whilst studying in Moscow Thomas worked as a Research Assistant at the  Centre for Central Asian and Caucasus Research, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences. Currently Thomas works at a small energy consultancy based in London. His academic interests include the position of unrecognised states in the international system and the process of devolution in the United Kingdom.

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