Anti-government Non-state Armed Actors in the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

Keywords: Ukraine, armed conflict, Donbas, opolchentsy, ANSA, Russia, foreign fighters, insurgency


This article presents the main ANSA involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. It focusses on an analysis of the specific phenomenon of the opolchentsy - Narodnoe opolchenie Donbassa. The aim of this paper is to introduce and describe these actors and to ground them in certain theoretical conceptions. The paper also tracks the changing motivations of the various ANSA brought under the umbrella of the quasi-state actor NOD throughout the conflict, and the changing array of formations that made up the opolchenie during a particular period of time. Evidently, the opolchenie do not fit into the usual classifications of ANSA.

Author Biographies

Tomáš Šmíd, Ambis College, Brno, Czech Republic,

Political Scientist and Security Expert, Assistant Professor at Ambis College, Brno, Czech Republic. Former Fulbright Fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC (2010-2011). Author or co-author of a couple of monograph and many articles. Research interests: conflict analysis, state failure, organised crime, security issues in Eurasia and the Post-Soviet Space (especially the Caucasus region).

Alexandra Šmídová, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

Political Scientist and Security Expert, Ph.D. student at the Department of Political Science, FSS MU. Research interests: conflict analysis, state failure, the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, post-Soviet politics.

Research Articles