This article addresses the discourses and practices of securitization toward internally displaced persons (IDPs) after the Russian military intervention in the eastern part of Ukraine in 2014. It investigates in what ways the IDPs’ rights to vote in the local, parliamentary, and presidential elections in 2015–20 were presented as a security issue. The article discusses this unique case of securitization in the shadow of an armed conflict and the role of othering practices. The data were collected using 15 semi-structured in-depth interviews with IDP activists and experts, selected media, and legal documents. The analysis was conducted by applying a Foucauldian type of discourse analysis. It identified four types of othering practices: “suspicious” citizens and the governmentality of “unease,” routine security practices, the distinctiveness of the Donbas region within Ukraine, and “pragmatic” othering. These four types of othering practices resulted in the institutionalization of the securitization of IDPs and its tacit acceptance by the Ukrainian general public. Nevertheless, it also paradoxically paved the way for the desecuritization of IDPs’ rights, which happened with adoption of a new election code in 2020.

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