The "weak state" concept: theoretical roots and practical implementation




Weak states, Failed states, State, Ukraine, Democracy, Stable government, Political transfer


In the modern world, almost simultaneously in the texts on national security strategies of the United States and the European Union the weak states are mentioned as the main threat to security for the whole world. The relevance of the study lies in the fact that weak states have long been the subject of research by Western scholars. It covers the search for solutions to problems in several areas, including the post-Soviet transfer, the issues of the African continent development and formation, the study of security issues in the Middle East, and so on. The article attempts to identify discrepancies in definitions and categorizations, as well as to analyze the preconditions and ways to overcome the position of “weak state”, in particular in the foreign economic and security sector. The main theoretical approaches to the definition of weak states in the foreign literature have been analyzed, but in domestic research this question is very rarely raised by scientists. The threats to international security of countries with a "weak state" status have been summarized. The study concludes the definition and assessment of the weak states status, namely, weak states in different regions of the world and in particular in Ukraine. Within the framework of this research, it has first been proposed to clarify the definitions of "weak" and "failed" states, as well as to determine the principles of the weak state existence along with the neighboring large country, and clearly defined preconditions and ways of overcoming its political and economic weakness, on the example of Ukraine.


Brooker, P. (2000). Non-Democratic Regimes. Theory, Government & Politics. Houndmills, Basingstoke Hampshire, Macmillan Press. (In English).

Buzan, Barry (1991). People, States & Fear. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 205 p. (In English).

Chechel, A.O. &Tarasenko, D.L. & Sukhova, K.K. (2017). Realiyi ta perspektyvy rozvytku sotsialnoyi sfery v umovakh detsentralizatsiyi In: Problemy ta perspektyvy rozvytku derzhavnoho upravlinnya v umovakh reformuvannya. Bielsko-Biała (Poland): Higher School of Economics and Humanities. P. 272-287. (In Ukrainian).

Collier, D., & Levitsky, S. (1997). Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research. World Politics, 49(3), 430-451. Retrieved from: (In English).

Diamond, Larry (Ed.) and Plattner, Marc F. (Ed.) (2002). Democracy after Communism (A Journal of Democracy Book). Johns Hopkins University Press (In English).

Gossip, Hanna Samir (2015). Weak States in International Relations Theory. The Cases of Armenia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Lebanon, and Cambodia. Retrieved from: (In English).

Gruegel, J. (2002). Democratization. A Critical Introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 68-91. (In English).

Holsti, Kalevi Jaakoo (1991). The State, War, and the State of War. Cambridge: University Press, 335 p. (In English).

Hromadska dumka pro prava ludyny v Ukrayini. Opytuvannia (2016, 12.08) Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. Retrieved from: (In Ukrainian).

Karatnycky, Adrian and Motyl, Alexander (2009, May/June). The Key to Kiev. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from: (In English).

Mashura, A. (2014). Slabki derzhavy yak zahroza mizhnarodniy bezpetsi. Zovnishni spravy: Suspilno-politychnyy zhurnal. Issue 2. Vol. 12. pp. 50-53. (In Ukrainian).

Minayev, M. (2013). Problematika «slabykh gosudarstv» v amerikanskoy analitike. Mezhdunarodnyye protsessy. Zhurnal teorii mezhdunarodnykh otnosheniy i mirovoy politiki. Vol. 11, № 1(32). January-Aril. Retrieved from: (In Russian).

Munck, G. L. (2007). Democracy Studies: Agendas, Findings, Challenges. In: Berg-Schlosser, B. (ed.): Democratization. The State of Art. Barbara Budrich Verlag, pp. 45-68. (In English).

Rotberg, R. (2004). When States Fail. Causes and Consequences. Princeton University Press, 355 p. (In English).

Schedler, Andreas (1998). What is Democratic Consolidation? Journal of Democracy. 9: 2 (April 1998), 91-107. Retrieved from: (In English).

Shcherbak, Y. (2009). Ukraina kak failed state: mify i realnost. Retrieved from: (In Russian).

The Fund for Peace (FFP), 2019. Retrieved from: (In English).

Zelinska, M. (2017a). Instytut prezydentstva v mezhakh kontseptsiyi "Failed State”. In: Problemy ta perspektyvy rozvytku derzhavnoho upravlinnya v umovakh reformuvannya. Bielsko-Biała (Poland): Higher School of Economics and Humanities. P. 163-176. (In Ukrainian).

Zelinska, M. (2017b). Rozvytok derzhav v ramkakh teoriyi «weak state». In: Stratehichnyy potentsial derzhavnoho ta terytorialnoho rozvytku: Materials of the International Scientific and Practical Conference, Mariupol, October 3-4, 2017. Mariupol; Kryvyi Rih. Retrieved from: (In Ukrainian).




How to Cite

Zelinska, M., & Chechel, A. (2019). The "weak state" concept: theoretical roots and practical implementation. Skhid, (2(160), 60–65.



World History