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Nurturing dependence: the role of patron states in the state and institution building processes of de facto states

Spanke, Till (2019) Nurturing dependence: the role of patron states in the state and institution building processes of de facto states. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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De facto states are not the likeliest candidates for state building, due to their limited financial capabilities and external parent state pressures. While some de facto states built relatively stable state structures without an external patron state (e.g. Somaliland), others are largely dependent on the backing of patrons to provide basic public services and goods (e.g. Northern Cyprus). This thesis uncovers the extent to which patron states influence state and institution building efforts of de facto states. A case study of Russian involvement in Abkhazia’s state building pursuits complements statistical analyses of a data set of 34 de facto states between 1945 and 2011. This thesis argues that patrons nurture the dependence of de facto states on patron support by pursuing a multi-layered policy of granting de facto state agency in an international setting of limited alternatives and providing aid that discourages self-sufficiency. Patrons support de facto states in guaranteeing minimal civilian governance to ensure a degree of sustainability and internal legitimacy. Patrons provide little state building assistance beyond this stage to ensure the status quo of dependence. Russia, for instance, concentrates on infrastructural reconstruction rather than capacity development in Abkhazia and takes on government responsibilities from the de facto authorities. By distinguishing between direct and indirect diffusion influences of patrons, this thesis clarifies why Abkhaz elites adjusted their actions according to perceived Russian interests and activities even during Abkhazia’s period of partial isolation. Due to the limited availability of viable alternative choices, de facto regimes are less likely to resist coercive influences and more susceptible to indirect diffusion influences. The agency of dependent de facto states is therefore bound by patron interests and activities, which encourages legislative and institutional isomorphism. Despite limited room for manoeuvre, Abkhazia has repeatedly displayed agency in the fields of language and private property policies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Till Spanke
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Lankina, Tomila

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