Ghost States of the Former USSR

The collapse of the former Soviet Union on December 25, 1991 has been described by Vladimir Putin, the president of the Russian Federation, as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century. One important component of that catastrophe relates to unresolved ethnic, religious and territorial conflicts that have manifested themselves in the form of “ghost states” and “frozen conflicts”. In this one hour course, we will survey the post-Soviet territories of Transnistria (claimed by Moldova); Donetsk and Luhansk (claimed by Ukraine); Abkhazia and South Ossetia (claimed by Georgia) and Artsakh (claimed by Azerbaijan).

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.



  • Ghost states and frozen conflicts – what are they and why do they matter?
  • Post-Soviet ghost states: Transnistria; Donetsk & Luhansk; Abkhazia & South Ossetia; Artsakh.
  • Prospects for international recognition of post-Soviet ghost states, and/or resolution of frozen conflicts.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the role of ghost states and frozen conflicts in the international system.
  2. Appreciate the geopolitical significance of post-Soviet ghost states.
  3. Comprehend the difficulties involved in resolving post-Soviet frozen conflicts.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .