The events of 2014-2015 in eastern Ukraine have seen numerous Russian volunteers fighting “at their own discretion and risk” on behalf of Russia. The fact that those who lose their lives are neither properly named nor buried requires an explanation beyond the traditional categories described by political science. The type of mass-scale, militant patriotism that spurs these volunteers to become involved in such a conflict also enables the state to deny direct involvement in the crisis, while taking advantage of a society’s patriotic mood.
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