The Lawfare Podcast: All About Legionnaires

Jen Patja, Jacob Schulz, Elizabeth Grasmeder
Monday, June 27, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

An interesting subplot of the Russian invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine has been the rush of fighters from other countries to join the Ukrainian foreign legion and to fight as legionnaires on behalf of the Ukrainian government. The phenomenon of legionnaires is an interesting one that crops up all throughout history yet has remained relatively understudied. What role do legionnaires play in conflicts? How does their impact differ from that of typical soldiers? How can we distinguish them from contractors or mercenaries or other categories of fighters? And what can legionnaires tell us about the ways that states like to conduct international affairs and international conflict?

To talk through these issues, Jacob Schulz spoke with Elizabeth Grasmeder, a researcher and author of an international security article entitled “Leaning on Legionnaires: Why Modern States Recruit Foreign Soldiers.” They talked about the historical practice of use of legionnaires and what it can reveal about conflicts today.

Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Jacob Schulz is a law student at the University of Chicago Law School. He was previously the Managing Editor of Lawfare and a legal intern with the National Security Division in the U.S. Department of Justice. All views are his own.
Elizabeth M.F. Grasmeder is a foreign policy analyst and author of the article "Leaning on Legionnaires: Why Modern States Recruit Foreign Soldiers."

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