Why Ukraine’s Civilians are Integral to the War Effort: Understanding the Roles and Motivations of Wartime Civilian Actors

The answer to why Ukraine has proved resilient in the face of Russia’s full-scale invasion is to be found, at least partly, in the actions of Ukrainian civilians. Therefore, assisting Ukraine on the path to victory and reconstruction requires not only military support, but also understanding and supporting the vital role of civilians in the war effort. Drawing on recent fieldwork conducted in Ukraine, this talk discusses the diverse roles Ukrainian civilians are playing in the war effort and the drivers of their engagement, particularly in parts of Ukraine most acutely impacted by the war. The discussion will contextualize this engagement in Ukraine’s longer history of civilian mobilization, and finally offer reflections on how to support the vital role of ordinary Ukrainians as the country moves into its third year of all-out war.


Dr. Emma Mateo is currently the Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Ukrainian Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York. She studies protest and civil society in Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on local mobilization during mass protests and significant political events. Emma’s current research focuses on the response of Ukrainian civilians to Russia’s full-scale invasion. Emma’s PhD research at the University of Oxford (2022) explored the role of networks during nationwide protests in Ukraine and Belarus. Emma also holds a master’s degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from the University of Cambridge.



Jan 23 2024


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: Europe/Paris
  • Date: Jan 23 2024
  • Time: 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm