News
18 mar 2022

What mobilises the Ukrainian resistance?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has met with fierce resistance from the Ukrainian military and from ordinary citizens, who have abandoned their normal humdrum lives and loved ones to take up arms and defend the mother country with AK-47 assault rifles, homemade incendiary Molotov cocktails, and even by kneeling to block Russian tanks. Some are likely to be seasoned army veterans with combat experience, including fighting Russian forces in the 2014 annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas region. But others are reported to have never held a gun in their life. Why would Ukrainians, or indeed any people, voluntarily face ‘pain, dirt, blood, and death’, in the words of President Zelensky? Drawing on survey evidence, in the new EUROPP LSE blog Pippa Norris and Kseniya Kizilova explain who among the Ukrainian population is willing to fight, and what motivates their decision to take up arms.

What mobilises the Ukrainian resistance?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has met with fierce resistance from the Ukrainian military and from ordinary citizens. Drawing on survey evidence, Pippa Norris and Kseniya Kizilova explain who among the Ukrainian population is willing to fight, and what motivates their decision to take up arms.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the tragic events in Ukraine concerns the sudden uprising of thousands or even millions of ordinary citizens, who have abandoned their normal humdrum lives and loved ones to take up arms and defend the mother country with AK-47 assault rifles, homemade incendiary Molotov cocktails, and even by kneeling to block Russian tanks. Some are likely to be seasoned army veterans with combat experience, including fighting Russian forces in the 2014 annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas region. But others are reported to have never held a gun in their life. Ukraine’s Defence Minister urged anyone who can hold a weapon to join the country’s Territorial Defence Forces.

This massive civilian uprising seems unprecedented in the speed of rapid mobilisation after Putin’s fateful decision to invade. Reports suggest that after just a few days, the armed resistance, by the Ukrainian professional military and volunteer civilians, had initially strengthened national morale, slowed the expected pace of the Russian invasion, and inflicted some serious damage. Yet rifles are no match for rockets. Nor are citizen soldiers a practical defence against cluster bombs. Massive convoys of Russian tanks continued to rumble towards major cities and to encircle Kyiv. But, among ordinary citizens, who is willing to fight for Ukraine? Why would Ukrainians, or indeed any people, voluntarily face ‘pain, dirt, blood, and death’, in the words of President Zelensky?

What fuels resistance by ‘citizen-soldiers’?

Several explanations are commonly offered for the mobilisation of the Ukrainian resistance including the role of democratic freedoms, Ukrainian nationalism, and/or ethno-linguistic regional cleavages [...].

Read full text in EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, a multidisciplinary academic blog run by the London School of Economics and Political Science: LINK.

 

Check out other texts that employ EVS/WVS data for Ukraine and Russia:

Translation_RUSSIAN_What_mobilises_the_Ukrainian_resistance.pdf [Download count:22]

Translation_UKRAINIAN_What_mobilises_the_Ukrainian_resistance.pdf [Download count:16]


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