Sunday, December 30, 2018

Map: Which Countries Recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2018?

This is our new, completely redesigned map of which countries consider disputed South Ossetia and Abkhazia to be independent from Georgia. From now on, PolGeoNow will report on any changes to Abkhazian or South Ossetian recognition with updates to this map.

Map of what countries recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent from Georgia in December 2018. Includes Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, new recognizer Syria, disputed or withdrawn recognitions from Tuvalu and Vanuatu, and unrecognized countries Transistria, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), and Western Sahara whose self-proclaimed governments also recognize the so-called Georgian breakaways.(Colorblind accessible)
Click to enlarge. By Evan Centanni, modified from public domain blank world map.
Contact us for permission to use this map.

What are South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

South Ossetia (purple) and Abkhazia (green) within the claimed borders of Georgia. Click to enlarge. Map by ChrisO based on UN map of Georgia (public domain; source).
The self-declared republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are among the world's partially-recognized countries. Though most other countries consider them part of Georgia, which claims both as part of it, the two areas have been mostly outside of Georgian control since wars of independence in the early 1990s, during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

For 15 years after declaring independence, neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia was recognized by any United Nations (UN) member country. But all that changed in 2008, after Russia's military jumped to their aid in a new war with the Georgian government.

Who Recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Countries?

Flag of the Republic of Akhazia Short Name:  
• Abkhazia (English)
• Apsny (Abkhazian)
• Abházija (Russian)
Apxazeti (Georgian)
Full Declared Name:
• Republic of Abkhazia (English)
• Apsny Ahwyntkarra (Abkhazian)
Respublika Abhazija (Russian)
Capital: Sukhumi
Claimed by: Georgia
Name According to Georgia:
• Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia (English)
• Apkhazetis Avt'onomiuri Resp'ublik'is Mtavroba (Georgian)
The two disputed republics, which had already grown very close to Russia over the years, came out of the war securely separate from Georgia under Russian guardianship. As a gesture of support - or perhaps justification for its invasion of Georgia - the Russian government soon officially endorsed both Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence.

Nicaragua soon joined Russia in recognizing them, and with Venezuela and Nauru following the next year. In 2011, Vanuatu reportedly recognized just Abkhazia. However, the action was disputed from within Vanuatu's own government, which today is no longer considered to recognize either of the self-declared republics. Later in 2011, Tuvalu recognized both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but ended up taking it back in 2014.

Related: All About South Ossetia's 2017 Name Change

Flag of the Republic of South Ossetia - State of Alania Short Name:  
• South Ossetia (English)
• Xussar Iryston (Ossetian)
• Yuzhnaya Osetiya (Russian)
Full Declared Name:
• Republic of South Ossetia the State of Alania (English)
• Respublikæ Xussar Iryston – Paddzaxad Allonston (Ossetian)
Respublika Yuzhnaya Osetiya Gosudarstvo Alaniya (Russian)
Capital: Tskhinvali
Claimed by: Georgia
Name According to Georgia:
• Tskhinvali region (English)
• Tskhinvalis regioni (Georgian)
Outside the world of accepted UN members, the two would-be countries are also recognized by each other, by fellow Russia-backed breakaway Transnistria, and by the nearby self-declared Republic of Artsakh (until recently known as Nagorno-Karabakh) - all of which had endorsed their independence even before the 2008 war.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which claims to be the government of Africa's Western Sahara but only governs a tiny part of it, also signed on in 2010. But after 2011, no more countries, UN members or not, added their own recognitions of Abkhazia or South Ossetia. That is, until this year...

Abkhazia and South Ossetia's New Recognition in 2018

On May 29, 2018, Abkhazia and South Ossetia gained their first formal supporter country in the Middle East - the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). Syria's government, which is now winning its civil war with Russian support, had already backed Russia's intervention in Georgia back in 2008. Syrian government said that it had decided to recognize the two disputed countries after they took "supportive positions" towards it in the Syrian Civil War, and announced plans to establish full diplomatic relations with them.

Related Map: Which Countries "Recognize" Taiwan?

Graphics of the Abkhazian flag and the South Ossetian flag are in the public domain.