Crowdsourced War: The Political and Military Implications of Ukraine’s Volunteer Battalions 2014-2015

Montana Hunter


This article explores the use of crowdsourced volunteer battalions by the Ukrainian government in response to Russian aggression in the Donbas region. It examines the weakness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, contributions of civil-society, and the creation, development, and combat operations of volunteer battalions. The use of crowdsourcing provided the emergency military force that the Ukrainian Government needed to stabilise the Donbas region in the face of the 2014 Russian-backed separatist offensive. The article concludes by raising concerns that the negative consequences of crowdsourcing war, while mitigated by actions taken by the Ukrainian Government, have the potential to return if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.