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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has met with fierce resistance from the Ukrainian military but from ordinary citizens. Drawing on survey evidence, Pippa Norris and Kseniya Kizilova explain who among the Ukrainian population is willing to fight, and what motivates their decision to take up arms. Overall, WVS data suggests that willingness to engage in defending the country prior to the outbreak of war is predicted by strong feelings of Ukrainian nationalism, as many expect. But it is also associated with the endorsement of democratic values among ordinary citizens, controlling for the demographic characteristics of sex and age. This is not just rhetoric; feelings of nationalism (our land), as well as the genuine desire to protect democratic freedoms (our rights), fuel activism in the resistance. In Zelensky’s words to the European Parliament: “Our people are very much motivated, very much so, we are fighting for our rights, for our freedoms, for our life.”


Norris, Pippa and Kseniya Kizilova. "What mobilises the Ukrainian resistance?" Europpblog, 3 March 2022.