In addition to economic globalisation, continued attempts to form independent states offer another challenge to the stability of the existing state system. A growing number of self-declared states are now becoming semi-permanent features of the world system as a result of incomplete and contested state-making. Minority groups, dissatisfied with perceived limitations on cultural and economic expression, have been able to carve out pseudo-states, especially in the geopolitical debris of the Soviet Union. A comparison of the causes and courses of conflicts in four pseudo-states (Transniestria, Abkhazia, Chechnya and Nagorno-Karabahk) is presented, followed by a detailed account of the Transdniester Moldovan Republic (TMR). Evolving geopolitical relations between the TMR, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia will determine the course of the conflict and set the terms of the pseudo-statehood of the TMR.