Welcome. I'm an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. My work 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 in International Organization, International Theory, and Perspectives on Politics. I've also written for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, The National Interest, Toronto Globe & Mail, and others. See CV or "Quick Links" for details & downloads.

Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century is now available from Princeton University Press.

A Washington Post spring reading recommendation (April 2017)

Chapter 1 available HERE.

International Organization article with the quantitative component of the argument. Page 99 test here.

Recent Work

Trump-Russia money links. "Trump and the Russian Money Trail." (Duck of Minerva) Twitter thread. interview. [Also featured on National Public Radio, Democracy Now, Steele & Ungar Sirius XM, Urgente 24 (Argentina), La Tercera (Chile) and RTS radio (Switzerland).]

History of Fascism. "These are the three reasons fascism spread in 1930s America — and might spread again today." (Washington Post, Monkey Cage; previous pieces for them here.) Related Twitter thread. Radio interview with Morning Report, New Zealand.

Democracy and social media. Article in Perspectives on Politics HERE. Monkey Cage version. Also featured in The National Interest.

Measuring democracy. Chapter on problems of democratic indices (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Monkey Cage version. Short take: it's pretty bad.

Current & Ongoing Research 

Downloads of working papers (unless noted, please do not cite without permission). See RESEARCH section for publications, abstracts, paper downloads, and more info.

Democratic Waves in Historical Perspective. There have been a number of distinct bursts of democratization since the late 18th century (13, by my count). How do we compare them to each other, and what lessons can they offer about the evolution of democracy? Paper under review.

Competing Visions of Parsimony in IR Theory. The topic seems abstract but the issue is fundamental: why do we expect good theories to be simple? I examine some bad anwers to that question, and some good ones, and argue that the concept of parsimony contains three distinct and often confused meanings. Paper under review.

Great Powers and Norm Cascades in Global Politics. How does the rise and fall of great powers shape the evolution of global norms? I argue that international norms involving sovereignty and democracy promotion are often shaped not by bottom-up activism or moral beliefs, but by direct and indirect effects of hegemonic shifts. Working paper. [Rough Draft]

American IR and Russian Foreign Policy. With Andrei Tsygankov. 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 domesic autocracy - the country's foreign policy is driven by pragmatism and geopolitical paranoia. Paper under review.          @SevaUT



August 15, 2017. Radio interview with The Morning Report (New Zealand) on Charlottesville & Trump's response.

August 12, 2017. Commentary for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, on the history of US fascism.

August 11, 2017. Quoted in a Voice of America article on Russia and the Mueller investigation.

August 4, 2017. Quoted in a Vox piece on America's sanctions against Russia.

August 2, 2017. Quoted in a Mother Jones story on US-Russian relations.

July 31, 2017. Quoted in a Vox piece on Trump and kleptocracy.

July 28, 2017. Interview with WNYC, New York public radio.


Google Scholar Profile

100 St. George Street, Suite 3018
Dept. of Political Science
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G3

(416) 978-3346

3052 Sidney Smith Hall

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