Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Why are Russians and Ukrainians willing to fight in war?

Fri31  Mar05:00pm(15 mins)
Bute Hall


Roman David1
1 Lingnan University, China


Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has raised a question of why people are willing to fight for their country. What explains the difference in attitudes to fight for their country between the Russians and the Ukrainians? This paper examines theories according to which the willingness to fight for one's country is a result of nationalism, opportunity costs, emancipative values, attitudes to democracy, and worries about war. This leads to the formulation of a set of hypotheses at the individual level of analysis (e.g., the increasing national pride increases the likelihood to fight for country) and at the comparative level (e.g., Ukrainians are more likely to fight in order to protect democracy than Russians). In order to examine the hypotheses, this paper uses data from the latest wave of the World Values Surveys, which was conducted in Russia in 2017 and in Ukraine in 2020. The results from logistic regression show the importance of democracy, emancipative values, psychological aspects, nationalism and confidence in the army. The paper tries to interpret the observable features of mobilizations in each country in view of these results.