This article traces the on-the-ground mobilization and recruitment strategies of Ukraine’s radical right party, Svoboda (Freedom) in the years prior to its 2012 electoral breakthrough. Ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews with Svoboda party leaders and activists in Galicia show how party leaders strategically created an organizational structure aimed at recruiting young people, making linkages with pre-existing nationalist groups, and shifting the ideological focus away from cultural and toward economic issues. Interviews with party activists reveal how personal networks were key in the recruitment and radicalization process, showing that radical right activists were radicalized, or “made,” through political participation. Consequently, Svoboda’s organizational capacity allowed the party to take advantage of a political opportunity — Yanukovych’s unpopularity and weakened national democratic parties — in the 2012 parliamentary elections.
From the provinces to the parliament: How the Ukrainian radical right mobilized in Galicia
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Alina Polyakova; From the provinces to the parliament: How the Ukrainian radical right mobilized in Galicia. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 June 2014; 47 (2): 211–225. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postcomstud.2014.04.012
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