Why are Russian nationalists dying in Syria?

The recent death of over 200 Russian mercenaries in Syria has exposed the use of private military contractors in Russia’s wars, an affair that lay dormant after the Ukrainian conflict. Crucially, it has highlighted the use of nationalism as a rallying point for recruits and the creation of a discourse of duty to fight for the country.

Putin’s National Idea: Patriotism for Power

Much is said about President Vladimir Putin’s international strategy and tactics, from cyber attacks and information warfare to domestic repression and a campaign of international irredentism to distract from a dismal economy at home.

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