Engagement Without Recognition: A New Dimension of the International Legal Status of De Facto States

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-6-124-134
Russian presidential Academy of national economy and public administration, North-Western Institute of management, 57/43, Srednii prospect V.O., Saint Petersbur, 199034, Russian Federation.

Received 29.08.2021. Revised 14.03.2022. Accepted 04.04.2022.

Abstract. The article is devoted to the analysis of forms of interaction with de facto states and tools for establishing direct ties with them. Special attention is paid to the practice of “involvement without recognition” introduced by the European Union, which is actively used today in Transdniestria and the South Caucasus. Basing on the example of the unrecognized states of the post-Soviet space, the author shows the evolution and expansion of their limited international legal personality, as well as the fact that the scope of legal personality is of great importance for partial recognition. The article concludes that the scope and content of external interaction largely determines not only the breadth of de facto recognition, but also promotes the inclusion of de facto states on the international agenda, ensures their status and, thereby, fixes a new quality of legal personality of unrecognized entities. According to the author, in matters of recognition, the geopolitical approach prevails over the normative one. Based on the evolving practice of interaction with de facto states in the post-Soviet space, the author identifies two levels of cooperation: the first is peace processes to resolve conflicts, which have led to the formation of these de facto states, and the second is international relations in the humanitarian, trade and economic fields. New realities make it possible for unrecognized entities to demonstrate to the world community their ability to fully participate in international relations, which, combined with the strengthening of internal sovereignty, qualitatively expands their compliance with the generally recognized formal characteristics of a state. Such orderly and, in some cases, legitimately regulated relations with de facto states form new rules, which, as a result of ongoing scientific and practical search, can also lead to clarification of the criteria for recognition and evolution of relevant international legal norms. Such new criteria may be: the ability to independently represent itself in multilateral international negotiation processes, participate in the achievement and implementation of international agreements, fulfil the obligations arising from them and have extensive experience of direct interaction with full-fledged subjects of international relations.

Keywords: de facto states, engagement without recognition, unrecognized entities, international legal personality, diplomatic recognition


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For citation:
Shevchuk N. Engagement Without Recognition: A New Dimension of the International Legal Status of De Facto States. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 6, pp. 124-134. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-6-124-134

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