Lenka Bustikova Siroky1;
1 University of Oxford, UK
DiscussionThis paper examines variations in individual-level evaluations of the voluntary fighting units in Ukraine: Azov regiment and Aidar battalion. Are they perceived to be patriots or neo-Nazis? The paper develops a framework of complements and substitutes to understand the relationship between the support for these battalions and non-violent far-right movements in Ukraine that evolved into political parties (Right Sector, National Movement of D. Yarosh and Svoboda). Some individuals express complementary choices and view all armed voluntary movements and political parties in a positive light. The paper finds differences in complementarities and substitutes between parties and voluntary units. Whereas some only view Right Sector as complementary with the battalions, others see the battalions and Svoboda party as substitutes. The preliminary results also show that the voters of the Right Sector movement greatly polarize the perceptions of Azov and Aidar. Svoboda voters' views, however, are within the boundary of `patriotic mainstream right' attitudes. This suggests a shift in Ukrainian politics: the boundary between the far right and mainstream right is increasingly blurry. On the other hand, the far-right movement is not unique and a future analysis using the complement/substitute framework is justified. The paper uses an original survey conducted in Ukraine in May 2016, covering over 2000 respondents.