Paramilitary motivation in Ukraine: beyond integration and abolition

Tetyana Malyarenko, David J. Galbreath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (SciVal)
395 Downloads (Pure)


A common theme in historical and contemporary warfare is the role of militias. Militias, both pro-government and rebel, act beyond their sponsors or else they would be understood as part of the armies that go to war. We think of militias as being paramilitaries, para- meaning approximate but not collocated with the military. Paramilitaries are ordinarily recruited and resourced differently. They are also ordinarily tactically different, playing a role in front line warfare where the intensity may be high, but were the position is fast changing or distributed in local areas. As the conflict literature will show, militias, or paramilitaries, are a common feature of any conflict and thus it is no surprise that we see their use in Ukraine. For the conflict in Ukraine, we use the term paramilitaries to indicate those forces that are fighting at the front line for both the Kyiv government and rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk, with these being considered ‘pro-Russian’ and even include Russian citizens. Relying on the pro-government militias literature, we show how militias on both sides play an important role in the conflict but also pose the biggest threat to a sustainable peace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-138
Number of pages27
JournalSoutheast European and Black Sea Studies
Issue number1
Early online date10 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2016


  • Ukraine
  • Militias
  • Paramilitary
  • Donetsk
  • Luhansk


Dive into the research topics of 'Paramilitary motivation in Ukraine: beyond integration and abolition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this