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Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
Brussels

Crisis Group Role

As Crisis Group’s Program Director for Europe and Central Asia, Olga Oliker leads the organisation’s research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy in and about Russia, Europe, Türkiye, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Oliker’s own research interests center on the foreign and security policies of Russia, Ukraine, and the Central Asian and Caucasian successor states to the Soviet Union, domestic politics in these countries, U.S. policy towards the region, and nuclear weapon strategy and arms control.

Professional Background

Prior to joining Crisis Group, Oliker directed the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and held various research and management roles at the RAND Corporation, including as Director of the Center for Russia and Eurasia. Early in her career, she served at the U.S. Department of Defense. Oliker holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.P.P. from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and a B.A. from Emory University.

Languages

  • Russian
  • English

Select Publications

Oliker is the author of numerous articles, monographs, and reports, with recent publications in Foreign Affairs, Survival, and other journals. She has also published commentary in print and online with The New York Times, The Hill, The Chicago Tribune, War on the Rocks, CNN, U.S. News and World Report, and The National Interest, among others.

In The News

8 May 2022
Given the personnel shortages, given the equipment shortages on both sides [to the war in Ukraine], but especially on the Russian side, I do wonder how long they can actually keep it up. CBC

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
2 Apr 2022
Few if any wars have been launched with as much nuclear posturing as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I think the bottom line is that Russia's doctrine allows nuclear use in case of existential threat to the state. RFE

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
15 Mar 2022
Having watched how the Russians fight wars over the years, this is nowhere close to all they can do. Washington Post

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
15 Feb 2022
There’s a certain logic if you’re Russia to keeping the pressure on and seeing what you can get. Foreign Policy

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
22 Jan 2022
For Russia, what it sees as Western encroachment into Ukraine is a very big part of how the West has been weakening Russia, and infringing on a security interest for all of this time. Vox

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
7 Jan 2022
For Russia, if things do settle down [in Kazakhstan], it will be a substantial win, demonstrating how critical it remains, and also tethering Kazakhstan to it that much more. Reuters

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia

Latest Updates

Podcast / Global

Climate, Conflict and the Implications of Russia’s War on Ukraine

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to Crisis Group expert Champa Patel about the complex relationship between climate and conflict ahead of a G7 summit that has set “climate neutrality” as one of its core goals – despite concerns that the green transition will take a backseat amid the Ukraine war.

100 Days of War in Ukraine: Russia’s Offensive in the East

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson talk about the fighting in eastern Ukraine, which continues more than 100 days after Russia launched its large-scale invasion of its neighbour.

Changing Dynamics in the Western Balkans

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker talks to Crisis Group expert Marko Prelec about the precarious situation in the Western Balkans, as Serb separatism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the frozen Kosovo-Serbia dispute continue to stoke regional instability.

Is the Danger of a NATO-Russia War Growing?

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group expert Olga Oliker about Russia's latest offensive in Ukraine’s east and south, how Western capitals have responded and whether the risk of direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is growing.

Internal Displacement and Humanitarian Response in Ukraine

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson talk to Crisis Group expert Simon Schlegel about the mass displacement resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the conflict enters its third month and fighting continues in the east and south.