Simon Schlegel

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine

Crisis Group Role

Simon joined Crisis Group in February 2022 as Senior Analyst for Ukraine. He conducts research on the war in Ukraine and its far-reaching political, humanitarian and economic consequences. His work focuses on identifying the small spaces for compromise or improvement on the ground.

Professional Background

Prior to joining Crisis Group, Simon worked for a humanitarian aid project in war-torn Donbas. In an earlier phase of the war, he also worked for Germany's Civil Peace Service program in Kyiv in a project that documented human rights violations in Donbas. Simon holds a PhD in Social Anthropology that he gained while working at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany, with a thesis on the history of ethnic boundaries in rural south-western Ukraine. He has worked as a researcher at Loughborough University (UK), where he focused on commemorative politics in Kyiv. He studied social anthropology and Slavic languages at the University of Zurich.

Areas of Expertise

  • Nationalities policies
  • Language policies
  • Commemorative politics
  • Clientelism
  • Humanitarian aid


  • German
  • Russian
  • Ukrainian

Select Publications

2021. “Identity Politics as Pretext and Prediction — Vote Buying and Group Boundaries in Ukraine.” Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 29 (2): 113–33.

2021. (with Alena Pfoser) “Uncovering Disciplined Pasts: Tour Guiding through Kyiv’s Changing Place Names.” History and Anthropology.

2020. (with Alena Pfoser) “Navigating Contested Memories in a Commercialised Setting: Conflict Avoidance Strategies in Kyiv City Tour Guiding.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 27 (5): 487–99.

2019. Making Ethnicity in Southern Bessarabia — Tracing the Histories of an Ambiguous Concept in a Contested Land. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

2018. “Soviet Bureaucracy as a Category Coining Machine: Ethnicity, Ethnography, and the ‘Primordial Trap.’” Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society 4 (2): 1–26.

In The News

24 Jun 2023
If Russian soldiers feel their commanders are not in control, their trenches will be much easier to take for advancing Ukrainian troops. The Hill

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
10 May 2022
It’s really quite striking how much this defense effort has roots in [the Ukrainian] civil society. There are little networks of people who can buy almost anything, short... New York Times

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine

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