chapter  6
20 Pages

After the war ends: violence and viability of post- Soviet unrecognized states


The most common types of conflict in the world today are conflicts within, rather than between, states, often between central governments and ethnic groups in pursuit of greater autonomy or independence – self-determination, or separatist, conflicts (Marshall and Gurr 2005). This chapter focuses on the aftermath of such struggles. While much research has addressed why violent selfdetermination struggles emerge (see, for example, Gurr 2000; Hechter 2000; Horowitz 1981; Hale 2008; Toft 2003), we know less about the conditions that bring about peace and stability after the fighting officially ends. Indeed, in many cases, the post-war era is far from peaceful. Peace settlements are assumed to bring an end to the war, but they are, in some cases, followed by high levels of criminal violence and civilian victimization and, in other cases, they are followed by political violence among former enemies – even among former allies (see, for example, Keen 2001; Zinecker 2006; Boyle 2009; Atlas and Licklider 1999). Why? The consequences of continued violence in states that have just emerged from an armed conflict can be dire. In the worst case, continued violence can lead to a recurrence of the war or even state failure, which has destabilizing effects both regionally and internationally (see, for example, Collier et al. 2003; Rotberg 2004). Short of that, continued violence has grave effects for the well-being of the population, as well as the capacity of the post-war society to recover from the war. While a growing body of research has examined features of postconflict societies (see, for example, Tishkov 2004; Suhrke 2007; Bakke et al. 2009; O’Loughlin and Toal 2009), there is a need for both theoretical and systematic empirical investigation of the dynamics that foster stability and peace following war. The issue at stake is not only the recurrence of civil war between former enemies, but also low-level violence among both former enemies and allies.1