Military Wreaths and Blood-Free Flags

From Planet 246

by Jenny Mathers

Jenny Mathers draws on feminist security studies to shed light on militarisation and anti-militarisation within Russia, and what connects broad experiences of insecurity within society to war, arguing why the war in Ukraine is so dependent on the support of millions of ordinary Russians.

Watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been both horrifying and fascinating, perhaps in equal measure. The news media and social media have been saturated with details of the movements of troops and military equipment, bombings and ambushes, while obscure aspects of strategy and logistics are debated even by those who previously demonstrated little interest in such matters. This is not the first war to be watched in real time and streamed live on social media platforms – less than five years ago the brutal war that followed the rebellion against Assad’s regime in Syria, including the decisive role played by Russian military intervention, was at its height and was revealed to us through many of the same outlets that now bring us news from Ukraine. For a variety of reasons, though, the conflict in Ukraine has gained the attention of societies, the news media and political leaders in Europe and North America in ways that Syria’s war never managed to do.

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About the author

Jenny Mathers is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University, where she researches and teaches on Russian politics and security as well as gender and conflict. She is currently writing a book that examines the ongoing crisis in Ukraine from a feminist security studies perspective.