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


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.


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

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Author Biography

Tomáš Šmíd

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

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.