Mikhail Savva holds a doctorate in political science and is a member of the board of experts at the Center for Civil Liberties, the Ukrainian NGO that won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

In the 1990s, he worked in the Russian civil service, then taught at Kuban University. Mikhail Savva has written extensively on migration, ethnic conflict, separatism, the interaction between government and civil society, and political repression.

Arrested in 2013 in a case of embezzlement, he was recognized as a political prisoner by the NGO Memorial. Russian civil society figures are now campaigning for his release. Mikhail Savva spent a year in detention before being given a suspended prison sentence. He left Russia in 2015 to settle in Ukraine, where he obtained political refugee status.