Collective action of non-state armed groups in the Ukrainian conflict (a comparison of pro-Russian and Ukrainian non-state armed groups)




  • Agents and Patterns of Security and War

The rise of non-state armed groups is a common phenomenon, in civil wars, during regime change or as a side effect of inter-state wars. This also pertains to the Maidan revolution in Ukraine 2013/14 and its aftermath.
The project studies, how irregular violent actors in the conflict in Ukraine cope with the challenges of collective action. It examines recruitment and organization of non-state armed groups. A comparison between and among the groups on the pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian side will identify commonalities and differences and show, which incentives for membership are shared by combatants, which resources are important and how members judge the risks of participation in the conflict.
The research project is a result of the call “Trilateral partnerships—Cooperation project between researchers from the Ukraine, Russia and Germany” by the Volkswagen Foundation.
The project teams regularly conduct workshops in order to exchange insights.

Project Leader

Project Team

  • Olena Shevchyk


  • Volkswagen Foundation

Duration of project

2016 until 2019


Heinemann-Grüder, A.

Geiselnehmer oder Retter des Staates? Irreguläre Bataillone in der Ukraine