Dr Olga Oleinikova is a Lecturer and Director of the Ukraine Democracy Initiative in the School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. She is a winner of the Forbes 30 Under 30 award and a finalist for the Australia's Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Future Leader Award. She is the author of Achiever or Survivor? Life Strategies of Migrants from Crisis Regimes (Palgrave, 2020) and editor of Democracy, Diaspora, Territory: Europe and Cross-Border Politics (Routledge, 2019). Dr Oleinikova also holds a Honorary Research title with the School of Political and Social Sciences, Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney.
Dr Oleinikova holds PhD in Sociology (2016) from University of Sydney. She has held Research Fellowships at Oxford University's European Studies Centre (2018-19) and the WZB Berlin Social Science Research Centre (2015).
Olga is currently leading two research projects, working with the Sydney Democracy Network (Sydney, Australia), WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center (Berlin, Germany), The University of Oxford (Oxford, UK). The two main projects are: one on diaspora and democracy in Ukraine and one on outmigration from Ukraine to Asia-Pacific following the collapse of Soviet Union. Both projects are mixed-method studies examining the challenges, performance and prospects for democracy in Europe and Ukraine.
Olga has raised over $1M for various social and commercial projects. She holds positions in several non-profit organisations active in Australia, serves as advisor to the Australia-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce and mentor at 1991 Open Data Incubator. She is regularly called to offer expert opinion on the events unfolding in Ukraine and Europe, writing analytical pieces for The Conversation, ABC News, SBS World, SBS Australia, KyivPost, and TheGlobalist. Dr Oleinikova delivered 30+ international talks and keynote speeches, including at the University of Oxford, WZB Berlin Social Science Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, University of Sydney.
Major Grants & Awards
- Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia Grant (2019-2021) to support Ukraine Democracy Initiative and establish 1st Visiting Fellowship Program between Ukraine and Australia.
- Forbes 30 Under 30 Award (2018)
- University of Oxford Visiting Research Fellowship (2018)
- 2018 CHASS Australia Prize for a Future Leader by Council of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in Australia to honour distinguished achievements and leadership in HASS (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) (2018)
- Dean's Quiet Achievers Award (2018) for outstanding leadership and contribution towards engagement and research activities at the School of Communication
- European Forum Alpbach (EFA) in Austria Grant (2017) to organise expert panel “War and Democracy in Ukraine: What’s the Future?” within the Political Symposium.
- Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia Grant (2017) to support expert panel “War and Democracy in Ukraine: What’s the Future?” at the 2017 European Forum Alpbach & book workshop “Reimaginging Diaspora and Democracy in Ukraine”
- WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center Grant (2017) to conduct book workshop "Reimaging Diaspora and Democracy in The Heart of Europe"
- Rudewych Research Grant (2017) to support the project “Reimagining Diaspora and Democracy in The Heart of Europe”
- Rudewych Research Grant (2015-2016) to support the establishment of Ukraine Democracy Initiative at the Sydney Democracy Network (University of Sydney)
- Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia Research Grant (2016) to support the establishment of Ukraine Democracy Initiative at the Sydney Democracy Network (University of Sydney
- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Fellowship Award (2015)
- University of Sydney Postgraduate Award (UPA) (2015)
- WZB/Sydney Democracy Network Research Fellowship (2014)
- Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia Research Grant (2013) to support qualitative fieldwork of the the project “Achievement vs. Survival Life Strategies of Ukrainian Migrants in Australia”
- Jerzy Zubrzycki Award by The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) in recognition of the best paper with potential to contribute to national multiculturalism and migration policy.
- The Australian Sociological Association Travel Grant (2012)
- Crane #1 Research Scholarship, St. Andrew’s College (2012)
- ·University of Sydney PhD International Research Scholarship (USydIS) (2012-2015)
- 2011-2012: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Manager, TNS Ukraine
- 2012-2015: Teaching Fellow, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney
- 2013-2015: Academic Advisor & Executive Officer, Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia
- 2014: Research Fellow, Department of Democracy and Democratization, WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center
- Since 2016: Director & Founder, Ukraine Democracy Initiative
- 2016 – 2017: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Government and International Relations, Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney
- Since 2017: Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Government and International Relations, Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney
- Since 2017: Lecturer, School of Communication, University of Technology Sydney
- 2018: Research Fellow, European Studies Centre, St Antony's College, University of Oxford
Can supervise: YES
- diaspora politics
- regimes crisis and post-communist transitions in Eastern Europe (with particular focus on Ukraine)
- migration from Eastern Europe to Asia-Pacific
- (im) migration/ethnicity (policies, settlement, and transnationalism)
54082 Sex, Race and Empire
54050 Self and Society
54000 Citizenship and Communication
54051 Politics, Ideologies and Beliefs
This book offers a profoundly new examination of life strategies of migrants from regimes in crisis. As more European regimes are in crisis and migration to Asia-Pacific accelerates, people are called to re-assess their everyday lives and experience different reactions: some choose to ‘survive’, while others choose to ‘achieve’. Establishing the ‘life strategy’ of a migrant as the outcome of a mix of personal choices, individual actions and structural frames, this volume takes migration from post-independence Ukraine to Australia as a central case study to show how people shape their lives in response to regime transitions and crises; what life strategies individuals pursue to cope with social change; and why these individuals chose migration to Australia. By focusing on the unique paired comparison of two opposing life strategies—the dynamic, risk-taking and future-oriented ‘achievement life strategy’ and the conservative, risk-minimizing and survival-oriented ‘survival life strategy’, the book compels us to reassess what we mean by migration and regime crisis in order to adequately respond to the global challenges confronting numerous democracies today. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology and politics with interests in migration, political theory and democracy.
This volume offers a profoundly new interpretation of the impact of modern diasporas on democracy, challenging the orthodox understanding that ties these two concepts to a bounded form of territory. Considering democracy and diaspora through a deterritorialised lens, it takes the post-Euromaidan Ukraine as a central case study to show how modern diasporas are actively involved in shaping democracy from a distance, and through their political activity are becoming increasingly democratised themselves. An examination of how power-sharing democracies function beyond the territorial state, Democracy, Diaspora, Territory: Europe and Cross-Border Politics compels us to reassess what we mean by democracy and diaspora today, and why we need to focus on the deterritorialised dimensions of these phenomena if we are to adequately address the crises confronting numerous democracies. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology and politics with interests in migration and diaspora, political theory, citizenship and democracy.
Drawing on recent debates about expanded concepts of islands and of Island Studies, this article suggests that Crimea can be regarded as “almost an island” in sociocultural, political and infra-structural terms. The article discusses Crimean historical moments and events, socio-cultural encounters and autonomies as important dimensions in the establishment of an “islandness” that extends beyond the geographical into the imaginative space. Crimean “almost-islandness” is argued to be created by a combination of the diverse marine spaces that border substantial parts of its terrain, the history of tensions and conflicts between its ethnic groups and the current historical transition from one social and political practice to another (ie the transition associated with its annexation by Russia in 2014).
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Democratic Transition Research: From Western to Post-Soviet East European Scholarship', East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 147-167.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper is the first of its kind to provide a comparative overview of Western (Western European and North American) and post-Soviet East European transition theories and literature that can be used to understand specifics of post-Soviet transition in Eastern Europe. Bridging the two broad theoretical traditions of East and West, and taking Ukraine as a case study, this literature review adds to the transition literature a discussion that relates to the emergence and interplay of structure and agency theories since the 1950s. In particular, the review sets out the various ways in which the transition from post-Communist government to democracy has been theorized, from a structuralist to an agency-structure approach. Meanwhile, it puts new wind into the sails of the idea that the interplay of structure and agency is more relevant to understanding the transition in Ukraine—reflecting similar dynamics in other post-Communist Eastern European states. This review is a good starting source for those who want to understand the roots of democratic transition research and theories.
Oleinikova, O 2017, 'Foreign Funded NGOs in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine: Recent Restrictions and Implications', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 85-94.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The opportunity for public participation through NGO action in post-communist societies is continuously starved by legal framework. Since the collapse of Soviet Union, NGOs in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other post-Communist states have traditionally looked abroad for their funding, and are dismayed at recent legislation setting up new barriers to this practice. This paper discusses the new laws and restrictive amendments to legislative acts on the operations of foreign funded NGOs in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, adopted since 2011.
Oleinikova, O 2015, 'Migrants' life strategies and opportunity structures: Focus on post-independence Ukrainian labour migrants', Italian Sociological Review, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 323-348.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Significant scale and innovative character, diversity and unexpectedness of life collisions depict the current nature of transnational labor migration from post-Soviet Eastern Europe to the 'developed' West. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between the life strategy and its realization via international migration in the first decade of the 21st century, based primarily on study of Ukrainian labor migration to Italy and Poland. More specifically, the emphasis is on the migrants' life strategies employed in shaping their individual life paths in the recipient countries, while concurrently dealing with the current uncertainties of societal post-Soviet transformations within their homeland. The paper discusses the bifurcation of post-independent Ukrainian migrants into two opposing life strategies: (1) dynamic, risk-taking and future-oriented 'achievement strategies' and (2) conservative, risk-minimizing and survival-oriented 'survival strategies'. The discourse analysis of transcribed interviews with 37 respondents revealed that the majority of the migrants interviewed implement achievement strategies rather than survival, though most framed 'achievement' in terms of the accomplishment of individual goals. This article takes stock of what is known about labor migrants' life strategies that are determined and framed by the level of ancestral homeland development.
Oleinikova, O 2013, 'Beyond Two Decades of Social Transition in Ukraine: The Underestimated Power of Agency in Transition Research', Australian and New Zealand Journal of European Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 45-60.
The purpose of this article is twofold. Firstly it explains the process by which democratic social transformations are realised in post-Soviet Ukraine; and secondly it introduces models describing the life-course strategies that Ukrainians utilise in facing the uncertainties of a society in transition. By analyzing and dissecting the individual’s ways of dealing with systemic structural changes in the economic, political and social spheres this paper demonstrates how the sociology of life strategies can be applied to the specifics of post-Soviet Ukraine. Particularly, by drawing on mainstream post-Soviet scholarship and statistical data, the life pathways of Ukrainians are observed to be distinctly polarised. Agents adopt one of two opposing life strategies: one dynamic, risk-taking and future-oriented “achievement strategies” (or “creation strategies”), which are open to mobility; and the other conservative, risk-minimizing and survival-oriented “survival strategies” and “strategies of adaptation” that are less conducive to any type of change. Focusing on existing problems of a continuously fragile internal political and economic stability in Ukraine which have threatened to further delay the incorporation of Ukraine into the democratically advanced and developed West, this article puts forward the idea that the proliferation of life strategy type can determine the vector of development of the whole society, giving insight into the circular relationship between social transformations and actions of individuals in conditions of social change.
Oleinikova, O 2013, 'Life-Course Strategies and Labor Migration: Ukrainians in Italy and Poland', Bulletin of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. Sociology, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 34-41.
Current labor migration from post-Soviet Ukraine to the European Union' countries is characterized by significant scale and intensity,
innovative character, diversity and unexpectedness of life collisions. Among all the EU countries, Italy and Poland emerge as a new
migration space for labor migrants from post-Soviet Ukraine. The purpose of this paper is to examine post-Soviet Ukrainian labor
emigrants to Italy and Poland and to reveal their strategies of adaptation their individual life paths to the new environment. It is identified
and discussed the relationship between life course strategies and their realization via international labor migration during the last decade
of the 20th century. The research paper proposes highly relevant life strategy models of Ukrainians based on the study of intentions,
means and results of life strategy implementation as well as of values, target orientations and the rationality of life strategy choice by
migrants. The study is based on the qualitative research conducted during 2009-2011, using the method of discourse analysis of
transcripts and "thick descriptions" of in-depth interviews with Ukrainian labor migrants in Italy and Poland. The following strategy
models were analyzed: a strategy of achievement and a survival strategy. The empirically based analysis gave evidence concerning an
ambivalent life strategy models widespread among the Ukrainian labor migrants, which can be defined as either a strategy of achievement
or survival strategy
Oleinikova, O 2011, 'Crime as a Display of Marginalization in Contemporary Ukrainian Society', Gileya: scientific herald, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 626-632.
Oleinikova, O & Bayeh, J 2020, 'Democracy, Diaspora and Ukraine: Thinking Beyond the Territorial Mentality' in Oleinikova, O & Bayeh, J (eds), Democracy, Diaspora, Territory: Europe and Cross-Border Politics, Routledge, London.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In this chapter, the authors explore the volume’s main themes and theoretical concerns, focusing on the often unnoticed central place of territory in democracy and diaspora studies. It presents reasons for the need to bring territory out of the shadows in order to see how it is limiting research and critical thinking in the fields of diaspora and democracy. It draws on Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation to explain the fundamental significance and power of cross-border political activity on processes of democratisation. It explains why modern Ukraine and the activation of its diaspora in relation to the 2013 and 2014 Euromadian revolution, provides the perfect a key case study to probe and test the ideas put forward in this volume regarding the need to unseat the so-called ‘territorial mentality’. It concludes with an overview of the volume’s chapters and potential future research directions.
Oleinikova, O 2017, '“Moving out of “Their Places”: 1991 - 2016 Migration of Ukrainians to Australia' in Pikulicka-Wilczewska, A & Uehling, G (eds), Migration and the Ukraine Crisis: A Two-Country Perspective, E-International Relations.
Since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the beginning of the war in Donbas, Eastern Europe has been facing a migration crisis. Several million Ukrainians are internally displaced or have fled the country and now face an uncertain future. At the same time, Western-imposed sanctions and the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union have affected Russia’s migration policies. These largely ignored processes have a potential to change the social landscape of the region for many years to come. The aim of this collection is to shed light on the forgotten migrant crisis at the European Union’s doorstep and make sense of the various migration processes in and out of Ukraine and Russia.
Oleinikova, O 2020, 'Guest Lecture "From International Student to Forbes 30 Under 30"', Academy of Entrepreneurs, Sydney, Australia.
Oleinikova, O 2020, 'Speaker, "Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change"', International Women's Day Panel Discussion, BCG Digital Ventures, Sydney, Australia.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Keynote Speaker at VISA University', Singapore.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Speaker "Kickass Women Slaying The Tech World: International Women's Day Edition"', General Assembly Panel Discussion, Sydney, Australia.
Oleinikova, O 2018, '"Democracy, Diaspora and Ukraine: Thinking Beyond the Territorial Mentality"', 2-Day Book Workshop at University of Oxford, University of Oxford, St Antony's College, European Studies Centre (Oxford, UK).
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Invited Talk: "Migration into Australia: Achievement vs Survival Life Strategies of Migrants"', School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore).
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Keynote Speaker at the Prizes Ceremony School of Social & Political Sciences, The University of Sydney.', The Prizes Ceremony School of Social & Political Sciences, The University of Sydney.
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Migration for Achievement: The Life Strategies of IT Professional Migrants from Ukraine in Australia', XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, Canada.
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Organised and Coordinated 2-Day Book Workshop “Diaspora and Democracy: Europe and Cross-Border Politics”', 2-Day Book Workshop, University of Oxford, St Antony's College, Centre of European Studies.
Oleinikova, O 2017, 'Re-imagining Diaspora and Democracy in The Heart of Europe', 2-Day Book Workshop, WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center.
Oleinikova, O 2017, 'War and Democracy in Ukraine: What is the Future?', 2017 European Forum Alpbach, Alpbach, Austria.
Oleinikova, O 2015, '“Deconstructing the Communist and Post-Communist Past in Emigration: The Image of Post-Independence Ukraine (Case-Study of Post-Independence Ukrainian Migrants in Australia)”', A Quarter Century of Post-Communism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand).
Oleinikova, O 2014, 'Coping with Post-Soviet change: Achievement Vs. Survival Life strategies of post-independence Ukrainian migrants in Australia (1991-2013)', Workshop for “Migration, Integration, Transnationalization” Unit, WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center.
Oleinikova, O 2014, 'Moving out of “Their Places” – Structural Factors for Post-Independence Ukrainian Migration to Australia', XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan.
Oleinikova, O 2013, 'Immigrants’ life strategies and opportunity structures: focus on post-independence Ukrainian migrants', ASA 2013: Annual American Sociological Association Conference, New York, USA.
Oleinikova, O 2013, 'Life strategies of Ukrainians in a transitional society: two decades of political, economic and social transformation', Power and Justice in the Contemporary World-Economy, New York, USA.
Oleinikova, O 2013, 'Life Strategies of Ukrainians in a Transitional Society: Two Decades of Political, Economic and Social Transformation', Ukraine: Language, Culture, Identity, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia).
Oleinikova, O 2013, 'Post-Independence Ukrainian Migration to Australia', TASA, Brisbane, Australia.
Oleinikova, O 2011, 'How to create growth? The real benefit of government contributions to European citizens – now and then', European Economic Congress on “The Future of Europe”, Kiev, Ukraine.
Oleinikova, O 2020, 'TV Interview "Resignation of Russian Parliament”', ABC NEWS.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Interview "Prisoners exchange in Ukraine"', ABC NEWS.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Interview at ABC NEWS - Weekend Breakfast on the topic "Ukraine Presidential Election"', ABC NEWS.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Interview: "2019 Presidential Elections in Ukraine"', SBS World News.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Interview: "2019 Ukraine Presidential Election: What is the Future of Ukraine?"', TV Channel Ukraina.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Interview: "Chernobyl: The History & Ukraine's Current Approach to Nuclear Power"', 2SER Radio.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Interview: "Do not be afraid to take risks and say "Yes" to every opportunity!"', SBS Australia.
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'Intreview: "Life Strategies of Success: Building Business in Australia"', International Airport Magazine "Boryspil".
Oleinikova, O 2019, 'The Project 22/4 on Channel 10: Comment about the results of Ukrainian presidential elections', Channel 10.
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Four Years After the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine: Key Gains and Losses', The Conversation.
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Interview: Dr Olga Oleinikova - Academic named on Forbes list of achievers under the age of 30', University of Sydney Website.
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Interview: Martial law declared for 30 days in Ukraine', ABC News.
Oleinikova, O 2018, 'Interview: 'Zero Progress': The Beef Between Ukraine And Russia Just Got Fiercer', 10 Daily News.
Oleinikova, O & Bayeh, J 2018, 'Reimagining Diaspora and Democracy in The Heart of Europe'.
Oleinikova, O 2017, 'Interview: Olga Oleinikova, Director Ukraine Democracy Initiative: "We raise awareness about Ukraine in Australia"', Ukrinform.
Oleinikova, O 2017, 'Ukraine, A Young Democracy In The Heart Of Europe?', The Conversation.
Oleinikova, O 2017, 'War Ramps Up in Ukraine', The Wire.
Oleinikova, O 2016, 'Olga Oleinikova: China’s impact on Ukraine’s unstable democracy', KyivPost.
Oleinikova, O 2016, 'Will Chinese Investment sacrifice Ukraine’s dream of democracy to economic needs?', The Conversation.
Oleinikova, O 2015, 'Interview for SBS Ukraine Radio3 around recent trends in Ukrainian migration to Australia and future Sydney-Berlin-Kyiv project on Ukraine Democracy “Performance, Challenges and Futures”', SBS Ukraine Radio.
Oleinikova, O 2014, 'Comment: My hope for Ukraine', SBS World News.
Oleinikova, O 2014, 'Interview for Perth Radio Station around Euromaidan and global effects of Ukrainian social movement', Perth Radio Station.
Oleinikova, O 2014, 'Post-referendum Crimea and its Russian Future: Voices from the Inside', The Paris Globalist.
Sydney Democracy Network (SDN) (Sydney, Australia)
University of Sydney (Sydney, Australia)
WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center (Berlin, Germany)
Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University (KNU) (Kyiv, Ukraine)
Victor & Maria Rudewych
Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia (USFA) (Sydney, Australia)
Mykola Zerov Center for Ukrainian Studies (Melbourne, Australia)
European Forum Alpbach (Viena, Austria)
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (Washington,US)