Latest Issue

The Kosovo precedent

The west's recognition of Kosovo's independence has given fresh impetus to other separatist movements. Consider Abkhazia

By Shaun Walker   April 2008

There are four “breakaway states” in the former Soviet space: entities that were autonomous within their parent Soviet republics, and that when the Union collapsed in the early 1990s demanded their independence.

Some of them—like tiny South Ossetia, which demands independence from Georgia—are inconceivable as “real countries.” But Abkhazia, a strip of beautiful subtropical coastline on the Black sea, which was also part of Georgia during Soviet times, would probably be viable as an independent state.

Abkhazia’s population is around 170,000. About 90,000 of these are ethnic Abkhaz, who speak a throaty language with 64 letters. There is also a…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect