From Pariahs to Influencers: Foreigners in the Russo-Ukrainian War

When the Russo-Ukrainian war erupted in 2014 a small group of foreigners rushed to join both sides of that conflict. At that time, they were mostly seen, and to a large degree rightly, as a band of misfits or pariah, often associated with the far-right or the far-left, who went to Donbas to find meaning in their lives. Fast forward eight years and the situation is different: the foreign mobilisation is predominantly for the Ukrainian side, constitutes an actual multi-national social movement, and no longer are its members “pariahs.” For better or worse, some became influencers and attracted considerable global fame. This presentation, based on the author’s more than 80 members of this aforementioned movement, will account for this change of reality for the foreigners fighting for Ukraine in 2022-3.