The "frozen conflict" that turned hot: conflicting state building attempts in South Ossetia

Nicolas Lemay-Hebert

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The recent conflict in South Ossetia reminded everyone that things are far from settled in the South Caucasus region. Generally dubbed "frozen conflicts", the separatist conflicts in the Caucasus have been considered by many authors as political and military stalemates. This approach, however, tended to brush aside sociological dynamics at work inside what could have been more accurately described as "zones of conflict". The main argument is to demonstrate how the oppositional logic of the autocratic de facto government in power and outside interference in the region, from Russia and Georgia mainly, are affecting the state building process of South Ossetia by marginalizing the local population and its needs. In fact, no real state building will take place in South Ossetia, either as a component of a Georgian Federation or as an entity in the Russian Federation, without addressing more carefully the needs of the local population. This statement is more topical than ever, in the context of the ongoing struggle between Georgia and Russia for the future of the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-159
Number of pages10
JournalCentral Asia and the Caucasus
Issue number53
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • South Ossetia, Georgia, Russia, state-building, nation-building


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