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How Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Caused The Wave of Protests

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has produced a wealth of social and psychological dilemmas. In February 2022, BBC News reported on spontaneous anti-invasion demonstrations by Russian citizens in many Russian major cities including St Petersburg and Moscow. Russian protesters stated that ‘they were protesting because they were shocked and disgusted by the aggression of their country towards the neighbouring country of Ukraine’ as they had friends and relatives who were from Ukraine. These people see the conflict as a personal betrayal. They were also surprised that ‘there were not more Russians who felt the same disgust as them’. According to the United Nations, more than 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees because of the Russian invasion, which is Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since WW2 and many of these are entering countries where they don’t speak the language and there are cultural barriers.

Firstly, there are possible connections here to Theme 1, as the protests draw attention to how people engage in political action for social change. In all protests, there is a focus on a changing world and the Russian citizens who are protesting are voicing their disillusions with their country’s choices. The actions of the Russian protesters challenge the idea of people as contemporary subjects. The protests involve a rejection of established ideas of what the Russian people should do such as obeying the country’s rules and accepting the authority of Putin’s regime. Instead, they are claiming authority for themselves as the protests are a form of political action and they are participating and taking part in society to make a difference, using their own beliefs. The protesters have shared social identities with other people engaging in protests. To act and protest against the social injustice dealt to the Ukrainian citizens who are their friends and family, the protesters see themselves as members of a group of similar-minded Russians and not as an individual. Additionally, there are connections to the changing social world concerning globalisation, as the migrating refugees are entering different relationships and making connections with host families and communities in different countries, due to the movement of refugees from Ukraine to other countries. The integration of Ukrainians into other countries will assist in the production of a single global culture that replaces national and local cultures.

There are also possible links to Theme 2, for example, the importance of studying cultural specificities is emphasised and this relates to the plight of the refugees and their actions and interactions within social groups, which will link them together with their hosts, as it is important for the host families in different countries to understand Ukrainian culture and language. It implies that social psychological knowledge is situated in specific contexts such as cultural specificities and emphasises the difference between communist Russia and democratic Ukraine which are clearly distinct and in opposition to each other. Also, theme 2 is important in regard to the protester’s participation as not meaning the same thing to different people as the social-psychological conceptualisation of citizenship in practice suggests that protesters are dynamic and political actors.

Theme 3 emphasises the importance of studying cultural identities in new ways and this concept assists in highlighting how important it is for host countries to understand the cultural identities of the Ukrainian refugees. An example of this is ‘multiculturalism where the refugees coexist in diverse cultural communities in a given society’. It also discusses what it means to be a contemporary citizen which relates to the passion that Russians feel against the invasion. Moreover, psychodynamic concepts can assist social psychology in the future to understand why the Ukrainian invasion has occurred and maybe prevent future conflicts.

Theme 4 suggests that a country’s dynamic system of culture can change over time due to intercultural encounters and this implies that the host country’s culture could be infiltrated by Ukrainian culture over time. This somewhat challenges the assumption that cultural contexts are national. The actions of the Russian protesters might be discussed by social psychologists interested in process practice and change as the protester’s actions may be contradictory to common-sense assumptions about people belonging to national territories and also about national problems requiring action by national authorities. Instead, they are calling for all countries to address the invasion as a global problem as they are claiming the identity of global citizens. They are portraying concerns that it is possible that the invasion may be having a negative effect on many countries especially as Putin threatens a Nuclear Attack on allies of Ukraine.

There are possible connections to Theme 5 as the migration of refugees draws attention to the relationship between the individual and society. Discursive psychology can assist in understanding the context of positioning of the Ukrainian refugees in society as they have gone from having jobs and roles in their own countries to become dependent on the host countries and families that they have migrated to. Their relationships of power have shifted.

It is possible that the social scale of the refugee problem and its causes, which ultimately were decisions made by Putin and his regime, has impacted on all individuals’ lives and futures who make up society. Social psychology suggests that the protests can be seen as a form of participation in contemporary life in a group as group efficacy suggests that people can make a real change if they stand together as global citizens.

In conclusion, the Russian Invasion of Ukraine has affected people as collectives and not as self-contained, independent individuals, both inciting them to protest together for change, as citizens all around the world have done in response to the invasion and also through migration as refugees from their mother country and the conflict, to host countries where they must live in multicultures with other nationalities.

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How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Caused the Wave of Protests. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
“How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Caused the Wave of Protests.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
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