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Title:Territorial integrity and identity within the Republic of Georgia: a comparative case study of Ajaria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Author(s):Butterworth, Kathryn
Advisor(s):Skalnik Leff, Carol
Department / Program:Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center
Discipline:Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
South Ossetia
Abstract:The presence of de-facto independent entities infringe on Georgia's traditional perception of its territorial integrity and importantly, inhibit the consolidation of its democracy. Imperative to an understanding of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian 'frozen conflicts' necessitates an understanding of regional histories, domestic politics, international involvement, territorial claims and the composition of ethnic identities. Further, examination of the reasons why the Autonomous Republic of Ajaria did not transition to a separatist region, as did Abkhazia and South Ossetia, provides a useful analytical marker from which one can discern the complexities of Georgia's situation. Using Barbara Walter's work regarding reputation building as a framework for examination of the political dimension of separatist conflicts as well as Monica Toft's work on the territorial aspect of conflict provides the theoretical anchor for this research. It is a result of differences on all analytical fronts that the current political status of Ajaria as an Autonomous Republic within the Republic of Georgia is ultimately subject and accountable to the Georgian government. Likewise, the de-facto independent condition of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia results from disparity regarding its history, geographic location, territorial resources and domestic politics. Currently, Georgia aims to join the security paradigm constructed by NATO and the United States, as well as reaping the benefits of eventual membership in the European Union. In response to a Georgian trajectory now oriented toward Europe, Russia is resolved to serve as the guarantor of Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence as well as their further integration into Russia's political sphere via the signing of substantive bi-lateral agreements. Thus, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are at the epicenter of the fight for regional hegemony and the balance of power in South Caucasus.
Issue Date:2015-05-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Kathryn Butterworth
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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