This project explores the similarities in the practice of politics in the unrecognized states of the TRNC, Abkhazia, and Transnistria. The project is being carried out by Mete Hatay, following his participation, in 2012, in a series of workshops on Cyprus and Transnistria, sponsored by the Global Politics Trends Centre and the Soros Foundation. That project, in parallel with a new PRIO project on "Imagined Sovereignties" will see the project leader undertaking comparative research in 2013 on the development of political culture in unrecognized states. Unrecognized states are bodies that perform government functions, while remaining unrecognized and "illegal" in the international arena. This puts them in a liminal position, having all the trappings of states, without being recognized as such. His research explores the effects of this liminality on political culture, or the way that politics is practiced in these states. The project especially examines the relations between unrecognized states and their "patrons" - Turkey in the case of northern Cyprus, Russia in the cases of Abkhazia and Transnistria - and how the necessity for a patron state affects the way that domestic politics is conducted.
During 2013, Hatay undertook an exploratory research trip to Abkhazia in connection with this project, where he conducted interviews with NGO representatives, officials, and members of the Abkhaz diaspora. A follow-up field trip is planned for May 2014, the 150th anniversary of the expulsion of Abkhaz from the region by the Russian Empire.