The Weekly Reload Podcast

Anthony Constantini On Ukraine Recognizing Civilian Gun Rights as Russia Invades

February 28th, 2022

War continues to rage in Ukraine as Russia attempts to capture cities across the nation despite fierce resistance.

Part of that resistance has been made up of civilian volunteers who've gained new protections for their right to armed defense and been given guns by the military. Anthony Constantini, who received a master's degree in arms control and strategic studies from St. Petersburg State University, joined me on the show to discuss how this strategy of arming civilians represents a departure from traditional European views. And we talk about how it may play out.

Anthony wrote an analysis piece for The Reload on how this shift towards civilian gun rights may impact the entire region's attitudes. The situation strikes at the heart of what many gun-rights advocates have long believed: an armed populace is harder to oppress.

But the reality is the fight will be brutal and could last for a long time. Arming the public, especially when done as an invasion begins, is not a magic silver bullet that guarantees an easy win. There is no reason to envy the position Ukrainians are in right now, but they've given us many reasons to admire them.

Ukraine is unique and better positioned to employ volunteer civilian fighters than many in the west may realize, though. Anthony pointed out the country has been fighting a war with Russian-backed separatists for the past 8 years and volunteers have played a major role. Plus, the government has been actively training those volunteer groups and incorporating them into the military for a good while now.

The situation is moving quickly and there is no way to know how things will turn out. However, it appears the Russian invasion has not met its main goal of capturing the country's major cities and deposing its government. We don't know for sure how much the armed population is bolstering the country's military operations, but everything we've heard from the Ukrainian people thus far indicates they have the kind of resolve that will make it extremely difficult to keep them under Putin's heel.