Evelyn Pihla

Doctoral defence: Ivan Ulises Kentros Klyszcz “How does violent conflict affect paradiplomacy? An exploratory research with cases from the North Caucasus”

On 21 October at 16:00 Ivan Ulises Kentros Klyszcz will defend his doctoral thesis “How does violent conflict affect paradiplomacy? An exploratory research with cases from the North Caucasus”.

Professor Eiki Berg

Associate Professor David Criekemans, University of Antwerp (Belgium) 

This thesis explores how violent conflict affects the international relations of provincial governments. Unlike countries, local governments are subordinate to a central authority. They also lack the legitimacy that countries have in international relations as local governments do not have seats at the United Nations, for example. Yet, provincial governments do engage in international engagements in what has been called ‘paradiplomacy’. This phenomenon has been examined from various perspectives in the past.

This thesis proposes to explore how paradiplomacy changes when there is violent conflict in the territory of a provincial government. The cases chosen are Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia, four regions inside the Russian Federation. This research proceeds by comparing the international relations of these four cases. Three of these four neighbouring regions were affected by high levels of conflict intensity in the 2000s and 2010s, while one of them, North Ossetia, was relatively spared into the 2010s. In this sense, this one region serves as a control case.

By comparing these four regions, the thesis argues that violent conflict affects paradiplomacy in several possible ways. First, violent conflict compels the central government to impose restrictions, monitoring and engagement onto the affected regions. Second, violent conflict imposes new conditions on how the affected local government can engage foreign partners, making it harder to continue some old partnerships but also facilitating new partnerships in the humanitarian sphere. Future research will be needed to prove or disprove these hypotheses.


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