The Path to Bucha: Organisational Practices of the Russian Army and Violence against Noncombatants


The Bucha massacre raises the question of whether the Russian army predisposes its soldiers to unlawful violence against civilians. This article assumes that regardless of superior orders, perpetrators of violence must overcome the psychological barriers developed during socialisation. The psychological mechanism of "moral disengagement" allows soldiers to kill in combat and act violently on civilians. The duty of the armed forces is not only to prepare soldiers to fight and kill but also to prevent illegal violence. The case of the Russian army demonstrates how formal activities to prevent moral disengagement and violations of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) face insurmountable obstacles in the form of institutional culture and insufficient human capital.

Tomáš Kučera, PhD, born 1985, is an assistant professor at the Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. He received PhD at Aberystwyth University, UK, in 2014. His PhD thesis analysed liberal features of military and defence policies of Western European societies, Germany and the United Kingdom in particular. Routledge published the thesis as The Military and Liberal Society in 2018. His teaching focuses on civil-military relations, military sociology, and ethics of armed conflicts.

Country: Czech Republic


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