Russia’s Grey Zones: The Role of Political Ambiguity on Russian Influence in Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova



Jennette, William G

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This thesis explores the ways in which the politically ambiguous status of the former Soviet grey zones allows Russia to exert influence over Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. Literature review and case studies indicate that there are a few key strategies which allow this influence to take hold: passportization, economic coercion, presence of troops, and the strategic manipulation of official peace talks. The cases of Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics illustrate the use of these strategies on the ground in different contexts. These strategies are made possible in part by the ambiguous political status that the grey zones hold and contribute to both keeping the zones in their liminal state and influencing the parent state for Russia’s political and military interests.



Russia, Grey zones, Political influence, Influence in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia