The empirical case studies of this special issue not only provide an illuminating insight into the dynamic of political processes within the post-Soviet de facto states, they also contribute to the discussion of possible links between different strategies of state-building and the success or failure of democratization. Summing up the main findings of the issue, this article carves out the similarities and the differences in the internal political trajectories of the non-recognized but quite stable entities under analysis. Despite sometimes contradicting empirical evidence, one central outcome is clear: the established theoretical assumption that uncontested external sovereignty is a necessary precondition for internal democratization needs to be reconsidered.

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