INTRODUCTION de facto state : are appearing in violating the de jure borders, but present normal appearance of a state, but even if three of the de facto state from South Caucasus survived untill now (Abkhazia, South-Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh), they are more studied in a « strategic objects » approach regarding the patron and central state or international community -in other words in the relationship with external entities- than in an internal approach. But their survival through conflicts and time show that their governance and institutions should be analysed more specifically and deeplly. DE FACTO STATE IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS initial problems and sui genesis features: -the marginalisation of the de facto states is increasing the vulnerability of which they are already suffering (illustrated by armed conflicts, violence, exclusion from markets and financial systems, isolation) ? vicious circle in which the isolation does not animate the willing to engage talkings with these states -birth through war and secessionists victories make the process of democratisation hard in this difficult militarised governance environment -ethnocracy makes it difficult and inacceptable for the international community to engage discussions with the political entities (applying a non-civic discourse ? not democratic) -association with Russia as a patron state/active player/conflict manipulator: hard for the de facto states to separate from the « aura of imperial residue » in the first hand because of the assimilation to a Russian identity and the fact that they are attached to this master-narrative and have no own legitimacy; and on the second hand because of the popular consent to imperial treamtment and local enthusiasm ? this is reinforcing the « stereotype of the willing satellite rather than freedom-fighters », even if these entities prefer a more self-determinist future and take every chance of independence from Russia BUT : the influence of Russia is clear and none of the states would have survived till now without the russian support as a patron state ? this is clearly changing the international attitudes toward these states regarding their own relation with Russia (for instance : the fact that Venezuela recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Poland not does have a connection with their own relationship with Russia) -legacies of forced displacement: most of the time, the forced out population is the representative of the majority of the central-nation, which is a « transgression of jus cogens -norms of international law that can never be derogated-» and reinforce the isolation of the de facto state in the case of the ethnocracy of Abkhazia, mass demographic displacements were a justification for the non-recognition of the presidential and parliaments elections but did not stopped international community to engage discussions : « internal ethnic contours of a society could be changed by force, yet not its external territorial borders » ? they have a certain marge of changes and purchase of ethnic groups as long as it has no impact on the borders (? jus cogens) -external support rarely search to build up a democracy: as Russia is the main patron state, they are usually not willing to bring help for a democratic end, which is increasing the isolation and make it difficult to find international resources to promote democratisation -isolation, russian support and legacies of mass displacement are real obstacles for the de facto states to find a place in international order and engage dialogueDE FACTO STATES IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS : THREE PHASES OF ENQUIRY differents phases of enquiry because of time and the changing international norms and laws and with it, the appearance of new questions about these de facto states; moreover, the experts had to take in account what the entities of the de facto states would promote and let the others know about these countrie (selection of informations)PHASE 1 : Explaining violent ethnic secessionism first specificity : whereas the collapse of the USSR was peacefull, the de facto states emerged all after a serie of violent conflicts in the purpose to defend democratisation and nationalist mobilization ; the dysfunctionnings of the governance was at first linked to the failed soviet one ? these first annalyses could be described as «advocate litterature » made of documentating events, direct protagnists or media sources which were all not objective ? they were all more or less « explicitly supporting one conflict party » ? then came institutional analyses and in particular the research of the russian rôle in a certain « territorializing identity » based on the nationalist feeling and ethnic groups : this could be the reason for the conflicts but also the solution2, even if in the last 1990’s, the discussions about the existence of de facto states -or also named as « anarchical badlands »- were not imaginable and so not yet on the national and international agenda: the dialogue only turned around a feredalist solution and a resolution was still possiblePHASE 2 : Living with de facto states in the early 2000s : new researches and studies about the internal and external drivers of the de facto states emerged, supported by a number of factors : 1- the de facto states are not just an ephemeral phenomena : they survived through time and conflicts, which increased the questions about their internal logic and encouraged the dialogue and willing to understand their internal institutions and politics ? studies pointed out the fact that these entities were determinated by external factors but also by « internal drivers … such as belief in absolute sovereignty, fear and unsecurity » 2- « new axis of comparison » : studies permited to see that there were not just failed against positive cases but that they could compare the success of de facto states by their different outcomes and between the different nationalist groups in the patron state and the peripheral one 3- appearance of new sorts of literature and studies by increasing the researches on the ground and with the local partners ? increased the understanding by comparing the different perspectives and listen to the local people to create a better environment for a potential resolution 4- mid-2000s : « surprising political outcomes » : elections of local candidates and mass protestations against the imposition of pro-Russian candidates showed that the inner dynamics of these communities were not so anarchical and unorganised as the international entities believed? these factors were observed during the period of colour revolutions and showed the willing of transition of the de facto states : they developed their own language of governance and increased institutionalisation of their entities ? tried to deploy a democratic image of themselves to open discussions to legitimize their state and engage little by little procedures fo recognition ? the initiatives to do local researches increased dialogue and cooperation and even if the international community did not accept the self-determination will, they were able to recognise the different interpretations of the conflicts which means that the resolution of the conflicts could not be engaged without taking in account the views of the inhabitants and local politics.PHASE 3 : Renewed fragmentation new fragmentation took place in the latter half of the 2000s because of the lake of trust in the belief in recognition for good governance which changed behaviours and expectations and increased the2 Coppieters, 2001polarity between Russia and Western powers but this increasing deeplening did not affect the studies about the internal features, which CASPERSEN linked obviously to external support and international norms (TRIANGULAR DIALECTIC) ? internal sovereignty can exist without the external one but recognition and nonrecognition influence the development of the internal policies of the de facto states ? Abkhazia, because of its multi-ethnicity, was the best entity to study the transition from this ethnocratic based policies to a more civic and democratic standard. But the inresolved ethnic conflict will never end up in a fully democracy, even if Abkhazia has free and respected elections.An other survey about Abkhazia and the others states showed that this fragmentation can be explain by the different suppositions in the policy-making and the sometimes opposite conceptions ? this led to a period of dissatisfaction and new powers came to assume the rôle and advanced new policies : as the possibility from outsiders to observe the situation was shot down and critizised, the unfriendly russian influence grew.