Natalia Savelyeva

Resident Fellow, Future Russia Initiative, Democratic Resilience Program

Dr. Natalia Savelyeva is a Resident Fellow at the Future Russia Initiative with the Democratic Resilience Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). She is a sociologist who has been working as a researcher with the Public Sociology Laboratory of the Centre for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her current scholarship explores multiple themes, including the violent conflict that began in Ukraine in 2014. Her research takes a bottom-up approach that focuses on the perspectives of direct participants in the fighting and its aftermath. She focuses on the dynamics of the conflict, and how the motives and actions of different participants evolved over time in response to both local and external developments, with an emphasis on the pro-Russian side. Natalia analyzes combatants, both Ukrainian and Russian, who traveled to Donbas voluntarily, as well as different Russian self-organized initiatives and pre-existing political organizations and movements, which considerably bolstered the anti-Kyiv side of the conflict, especially during its first stages.

 As a member of the Public Sociology Laboratory she has participated in numerous research projects and international research collaborations, largely focused on the hottest issues of the post-Soviet region. For the last ten years, she studied waves of protest movements in Russia (2011-onward) and Ukraine (2013-2014). Her other line of research deals with the evolving work culture in Russia. She is currently exploring how different work practices and labor regimes impact how Russians feel and perceive time and formulate visions of the future.

Natalia completed her undergraduate studies at Moscow State University, her master’s degree at the European University in St. Petersburg, and her PhD in Social Sciences at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow. From 2017 to 2019 she was a full-time  Assistant Professor at the School of Advanced Studies (SAS), University of Tyumen, Russia, an innovative new institution with an international multidisciplinary team of researchers. In 2019, Natalia undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), and then in 2020 began a postdoctoral fellowship at Indiana University Bloomington sponsored by the Russian Studies Workshop.

Natalia’s articles have been published in several academic journals, such as Osteuropa, the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, and other Russian and international media outlets. She is a co-author of the collective monograph Politics of Apoliticals (2015, Russian) a work dedicated to the protest rallies in Russia in 2011-2014 and their impact on Russian political culture and civil society.

Written by Natalia Savelyeva

blank Putin Poisons a Day of Pride and Remembrance Like so much else, the May 9 celebrations have been soured by Vladimir Putin’s ambitions.
Photo: Supporters of Pro-Russian party Vazrazdane (Renascence) hold flag of Self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic on protest in front of Council of Ministers building during U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin two days visit in Bulgaria on 19 March, 2022 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Credit: Georgi Paleykov/NurPhoto Putin’s People – or Are They? Russia’s dictator takes power, money, and even human life. Will he pay the price when things go wrong?
Photo: Participants of the rally in the center of St. Petersburg against military actions on the territory of Ukraine. Saint Petersburg, Russia. February 27, 2022. Credit: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto What Do Russians Think About Putin’s War? While Russian opinion polls show support for the invasion of Ukraine, the numbers are deceptive
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Photo: DONETSK, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 21, 2022: Donetsk residents celebrate recognition of their independence by Russia. Russian President Putin signed decrees recognizing independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics on February 21, 2022. Credit: Alexander Ryumin/TASS Ukraine’s Donbas Already Another Country Today’s events show Russia is ending the Minsk peace process and with it Franco-German hopes of a compromise deal. Things have anyway changed beyond recognition in Russian-controlled areas.