A quasi-state or state-like entity, including what is termed a proto-state, is a political entity that does not represent a fully institutionalized or autonomous sovereign state.
The precise definition of quasi-state in political literature fluctuates depending on the context in which it is used. It has been used by some modern scholars to describe the self-governing British colonies and dependencies that exercised a form of home rule but remained crucial parts of the British Empire and subject firstly to the metropole's administration. Similarly, the Republics of the Soviet Union, which represented administrative units with their own respective national distinctions, have also been described as quasi-states.
In more recent usage, the term quasi-state has most often been evoked in reference to militant secessionist groups who claim, and exercise some form of territorial control over, a specific region, but which lack institutional cohesion.[failed verification – see discussion] Such quasi-states include the Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia during the Bosnian War and Azawad during the 2012 Tuareg rebellion. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is also widely held to be an example of a modern quasi-state or proto-state.