Revival of the DND (People’s Volunteer Squads) in Russia: A Case of Top-Down Social Mobilization

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Ekaterina Khodzhaeva


The late Soviet model of citizen participation in the maintenance of public order presupposed massive and quite standardized forms, regulated by the Communist Party and Komsomol units and only coordinated by the police. The post-Soviet period from 1990 until mid-2000s is characterized by a variety of practices: in some places DNDs (dobrovol’nye narodnye druzhiny, people’s volunteer squads) were preserved and developed, while in other places the practice disappeared. From the second half of the 2000s, and especially since the beginning of 2010s, the top-down mobilization process of the revival of DNDs has gradually intensified. In 2014 the general rights and procedures for DND activities were granted by federal legislation, and as a result the DNDs have had a chance to develop in Russia. This article considers the organizational mechanisms and forms of DND activism before and after the adoption of this new legislative framework from the perspective of the DND leaders and state officials. The main conclusion is that increased standardization and unification of the movement through intensive mobilization via two channels (the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the executive branch more generally), on the one hand, led to a significant revision and sometimes even a breakdown of local traditions in DNDs, which had developed at the local and regional levels, and, on the other hand, created supercentralized and simulated forms of DND in places where they had not existed.

Article in Russian

DOI: 10.25285/2078-1938-2019-11-3-105-141


Рublic Order, Top-Down Mobilization, People’s Volunteer Squads

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