"The Problems of Defining a State" examines the statuses of Kosovo, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia in international law after they have unilaterally proclaimed independence and have been recognised by a number of states. The aim is to determine to what extent the ‘traditional'' understanding of state-creation has become obsolete in the light of the new developments in international politics. A thorough analysis of the three entities'' legal status leads to a conclusion that for the time being the entities are in a sort of a legal limbo. The author investigates possible bases for their self-determination (constitutional, remedial, factual) and argues that the issue of the three self-proclaimed independences is insoluble in contemporary international law and that these special cases call for redefinition of some key concepts, especially self-determination and the importance of recognition. The point is shown by successfully making case both for and against the independences, at the same time underlining some problems at the core of the international legal system. A useful read for both professionals and laymen interested in self-determination and international law.