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Portrait of a Ukrainian volunteer from the prospective of Estonia

Recently in Ukraine was presented research from the International Centre for Defense and Security, Estonia “How to use volunteer’s military potential in Ukraine?” View from Estonia.

In ICDS researchers was reviewed the key points of potential military use of volunteers in Ukraine: personal motivation; expectations of integration into the regular military and paramilitary structures; evaluation of potential volunteers in the new system of national security of Ukraine; information and psychological support, fighting spirit and official morality.

As a result of a thorough survey of fighters of volunteer’s  battalions ( “Azov”, “Donbass”, “Dnepr-1”, etc.) and members of paramilitary organizations (among which NGO “Ukrainian Women’s Guard” as the organization that made a great  efforts  in the military training of the female population of Ukraine), Estonian researchers managed to create an interesting portrait of the Ukrainian volunteer movement.

Thus, the result shows that the volunteer’s movement equally represented all regions of Ukraine. At the time of the greatest threat of Russian aggression Ukrainian most of the volunteers, whose forces largely stopped the aggression, had no military experience – 83%. Despite the fact that the volunteer’s battalions visited almost all the “hot” fronts, only 25% of men have participant status ATO. The average age of Ukrainian volunteers – about forty years, most of them are mature people with families and children.

56% of volunteers on the question whether it is possible for them to continued military service in the regular army put forward the following requirements: qualified prudent management; modern equipment of the army; decent wages.

Estonian researchers had noted the high motivation of Ukrainian volunteers to fight against the aggressor, however, as noted at the presentation of research expert of Estonian Defense Forces Silva Kiyli, view through this a volunteer capacity as a bottomless pit is not necessary. Without solving problems and wishes of the volunteer’s members of the movement, and with no systematic work of demobilized soldiers, volunteers can lose considerable potential. But the voluntary movement can be the basis of a paramilitary volunteer defense, like the Union of Estonian Defense (Kaytselіyt), which brings together civilians and affiliated with the Ministry of Defense of Estonia.

Also, in working on the study it was found some threat to development and national security – namely, tracking some old traditions of society, especially in the admission of women to military service. In NATO countries, which opened equal rights for women and men in the access to all military specialties risks are much lower.

According to the Estonian organizations, all their results of the research were presented to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and The General Staff.

It should be noted that Estonia among all Baltic countries has the closest model to the Ukrainian defense – military service and professional army. Besides the foundation of national security of this country considered volunteer paramilitary organization Union of Defense of Estonia (Kaytselіyt) with great historical experience of volunteers in defense.