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Welcome! I'm an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

My research examines how international forces like war and globalization shape democracy and domestic reforms. I was born in Russia and received my Ph.D. from Columbia University.


Some of my work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, International Theory, and Perspectives on PoliticsI've also written for The Washington Post, The New Republic, The American Interest, Toronto Globe & Mail, and others. See RESEARCH or CV for links and details.

My book Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century is available from Princeton University Press. The book examines how sudden shocks to the global order create powerful waves of domestic reforms, both toward and away from democracy.

Named one of the Best Books of 2017 by Foreign Affairs.

Chapter 1 HERE. H-Diplo RoundtableIO article with large-n component. Washington Post recommendation. More info.


March 2, 2019. Part of the workshop "Global Populisms and their International Diffusion", Stanford University. Workshop paper here.

March 1, 2019. Guest on The Russia Guy podcast with Kevin Rothrock.

January 28, 2019. Roundtable Forum on my book at H-Diplo, with Susan Hyde, David Edelstein, and Kyle Lascurettes.

January 7, 2019. Part of a panel on autocratic technology at the Albright Institute, Wellesley College.

January 5, 2019. Research mentioned in The New York Times.

January 3, 2019. Interview on CTV News about Paul Whelan's arrest in Russia.

December 2, 2018. A review of Masha Gessen's book on Russian politics.


Author’s Response. H-Diplo Roundtable Forum 20.22. Jan 2019.

My immense thanks to David Edelstein and Kyle Lascurettes for their extremely thoughtful comments, and to Susan Hyde for chairing the roundtable. Completing a book is both liberating and constraining—constraining because the finished text cannot help but remain mute about its tensions and complications. Continuing this conversation through close critical engagement is the best outcome an author can hope for, and I thank H-Diplo for providing me the opportunity to do so. [PDF]


A Country Illegible Even to Itself. (Review of The Future Is History by Masha Gessen.) Inroads 44. Dec 2018.

There is a sense of cultural essentialism in claiming that Homo Sovieticus never died, in fact cannot be killed, and now trudges golem-like, with the aid of Putin's government, into an illiberal dystopia. But despite its flaws, the book is a serious, honest attempt at national reckoning through individual self-reflection. [PDF]


Seva Gunitsky and Andrei Tsygankov. The Wilsonian Bias in the Study of US Foreign Policy. Problems of Post-Communism 65.6:385-393. Dec 2018

We examine some common and in our view flawed assumptions about Russian foreign policy. We argue that it's a mistake to reduce Russia's motivations to Putin's pathologies or the country's domestic autocracy. Russian foreign policy is driven largely by pragmatism and geopolitical paranoia, focusing on two related goals of regional hegemony and peer recognition as a great power. [PDF]