Event Date: 15 – 17 May 2019
Richmond University – The American University in London
Richmond TW10 6JP
A Century of Radical Right Extremism: New Approaches
Peter Paine (King’s College London) – The Fashion of Faith in the Ukrainian Far Right
While far right groups in Ukraine received global media coverage during the mass protests of 2014 and subsequent conflict in the east of the country, the role of faith within these communities remains understudied. This paper sets out to fill this void in scholarship by exploring the extent to which religious faith sustains a sense of shared identity for members of the three largest far right groups active in Ukraine today: Svoboda, Right Sector, and the National Corps. Drawing on six months of fieldwork during 2017 and 2018, this paper sheds new light on the people behind the headlines.
Svoboda, Right Sector, and the National Corps regularly challenge the government’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Their militias boast the firepower – and the resolve – to violently overthrow the current administration. Studying these groups, and the complex array of grievances, identities, and beliefs that drive them, is a vital task for both academics
and policy-makers alike. By painting an informed picture of little-known belief patterns, sources of group cohesion, and otherworldly motivations, this paper will force us to re-think our understanding of these notorious political communities.