Political Orientations and Identities in De Facto States

Project coordinaton: Dr. Sabine von Löwis and Prof. Dr. Gwendolyn Sasse

This study is part of an interdisciplinary project led by John O’Loughlin (University of Colorado Boulder) with Gerard Toal (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Kristin Bakke (University College London) and Marlene Laruelle (George Washington University). It is funded jointly by the USA’s National Science Foundation, the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and ZOiS.

The project explores political attitudes, geopolitical orientations and identities arising from diverse social, economic, cultural and/or political networks, practices and interests of the populations of de facto states. The aim is to gain a better understanding of societal and sociospatial practices under the specific conditions of international non-recognition.

For the project, ZOiS is working with an interdisciplinary research group which, over the past 10 years, has conducted quantitative public opinion surveys on political orientations in de facto states in the post-Soviet space and in Eastern Ukraine’s conflict region across a variety of scales.[1] Within the research group, ZOiS is involved in developing the surveys planned for Crimea, the post-Soviet de facto states of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdniestria and the “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” in Eastern Ukraine. ZOiS can set priorities and has the opportunity to use data from previous surveys for its own studies. This allows comparative analysis of various social, political and economic developments in 2010, 2014 and 2019/20 within and across the de facto states and conflict regions. The study thus links in with Sabine von Löwis’s project Everyday Life in Conflict – Scopes for Action and Coping Strategies in De Facto StatesEveryday Life in Conflict – Scopes for Action and Coping Strategies in De Facto States and Gwendolyn Sasse’s project on The Influence of War and Displacement on Political Identities in Ukraine.