Cover Osteuropa 9-10/2014

In Osteuropa 9-10/2014
Teil des Dossiers Ukraine

The Dilemma of the Militias
Ukrainian Volunteer Formations and the Monopoly on the Use of Force

Ulrich Schneckener

Deutsche Fassung


After the start of the Russian-supported insurgency in the Donbas, volunteer battalions emerged in many regions throughout Ukraine. Some are paramilitary defence forces, others are fighting alongside the Ukrainian Army in the country’s east. This form of self-defence may be legitimate. However, it is an expression of the state’s failure and brings with it considerable problems. Militias undermine the state’s monopoly on the use of force and can endanger the country’s democratisation. In the worst case, some militia units, especially those with right-wing manifestations, unwittingly become Moscow’s most important auxiliaries in the destabilisation of Ukraine.

(Osteuropa 9-10/2014, pp. 135–146)