These photographs show the soldiers, volunteers, and civilians shaping the conflict in Ukraine on and off the frontline. In the beginning of the war when Russian-backed separatists were advancing through large pieces of Ukrainian land facing resistance only from poorly prepared government troops, The Ukrainian government encouraged the creation of volunteer militias to combat the push of the separatists.
These militias were created around specific ideologies often drawn from historical movements in Ukrainian culture. Many of these battalions feature explicitly fascist ideologies, all of them have different goals for the future of Ukraine. Civilians in Eastern Ukraine often have no choice other than to have their cities host rotations of these non-governmental armies of men, some of them sporting haircuts of 15th century slavic warriors, wearing insignia referencing the third reich, and bearing arms banned by the Minsk agreement.
Given their success on the battlefield, many civilians prefer certain volunteer battalions. The battalions have made a number of efforts to have a broader impact on Ukrainian society with some making moves into politics and others creating youth sports groups. The unique conditions created by this war have made Ukrainian society a petri-dish for a new kind of militant nationalism. My photographs explore where these ideologies meet the conflict, the culture, and the politics of the new Ukraine. www.jdanielhud.com