Meet our professors

You can watch some of our lectures here.


Prof. Robert Legvold is the academic supervisor of our Masters Programme.

In 1986 to 1992 Prof. Legvold served as Director of The Harriman Institute, Columbia University. Prior to coming to Columbia in 1984, he served for six years as Senior Fellow and Director of the Soviet Studies Project at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

For most of the preceding decade, he was on the faculty of the Department of Political Science at Tufts University.

2008-2010 he was project director for “Rethinking U.S. Policy toward Russia” at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Expert fields: international relations, Post-Soviet countries, foreign policies of Russia and Ukraine

Recent book: The Policy World Meets Academia: Designing U.S. Policy toward Russia

Our professors



In 1980-1986 Prof. Lodgaard Sverre worked at the Lodgaard Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) as a Research Fellow, after what he moved to Oslo to become a Director on International Peace Research Institute (PRIO).

Lodgaard Sverre is also known as a Director of United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (1992-1996) and a Director of Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (1997-2007).

Expert fields: geopolitics, foreign policy, the Middle East, nuclear arms control and disarmament, the nuclear programs of Iran and Korea.

Recent book: Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World?



Prof. Bruce Blair has a long teaching experience at Yale (from which he holds PhD in Operations Research) and Princeton Universities. He served as a U.S. Air Force Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile launch control officer (1972-74), as a project director at the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment from 1982 to 1985.

From 1987 to 2000 Prof. Blair was a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, Washington D.C. In 1999, Blair was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship Prize for his work on nuclear arms control.

Expert fields: foreign policy, security studies, policy tools to achieve verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.

Recent book: The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War.



Prof. Alexander Nikitin is a director of the Centre for Political and International Studies. Since 2008 he became an elected Honorable President of the Association.

Among the positions, which Prof. Nikitn held are: Vice-Chairman of the Russian Pugwash Committee of Scientists for International Security and Disarmament;

Since 2004 – the member of the Scientific-Expert Council of the Organization for Collective Security Treaty. Since 2005 – official external expert of the United Nations, nominated by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

Expert fields: international security, conflict studies, Post-Soviet space, nuclear policies, political history.

Recent book: International Conflicts: interference, peace-building, regulation.



Sergey Kolesnikov is the academician of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, who is also widely known as a director of several NGOs.

For more than 20 years Kolesnikov has been a co-president of the international movement “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War”. Sergey Kolesnikov`s spent years, working in Siberian bodies of Russian Academy of Science, while also managing the activities of Siberian branch of Pugwash Conferences.

He used to be a deputy at the State Duma of the Russian Federation and director of several NGOs.

Expert fields: Social policy, health policy legislation, innovation policy.

Recent book: The impact of vibration on the system “mother-foetus”: an experiment.


Kirill Telin holds his PhD form the faculty of political science at Lomonosov Moscow State University.

He is a founder and one of the main authors of the New Republic project. Kirill Telin is also a Deputy Director at the Lomonosov MSU Crisis Analysis Laboratory, where he manages applied studies of political behavior and cleavages in the modern Russian society.

Kirill Telin works at the Public Policy Department since 2012. At the faculty, he is famous as one of the Political Case Club founders, organizer of the political campaign simulations, which attract attention of the whole faculty.

Expert fields: public policy, public administration, political stability, federalism, national identity, political regimes, modern ideologies, electoral campiagns and processes.

Recent book: Representative Democracy and Parliamentary Institutions in the modern World: current state and trends


Thomas F. Remington is Goodrich C. White Professor of Political Science at Emory University. He studies the development of political institutions in transitional states. Dr. Remington is author of numerous books and articles on Russian politics, including The Politics of Inequality in Russia (Cambridge, 2011). His current research addresses the formation of social policy in Russia and China. He was chair of the political science department at Emory from 2001-2007. He has been a member of the Boards of Directors of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

Expertise Postcommunist political institutions, particularly in Russia; extensive research on legislative politics and legislative-executive relations; causes and consequences of income inequality; social welfare policies; and business-government-labor relations.

Education: Ph.D., Political Science, Yale University

Selected Publications
Presidential Decrees in Russia: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

The Politics of Inequality in Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

“Governors’ Dilemmas: Economic and Social Policy Trade-Offs in the Russian Regions (Evidence from Four Case Studies),” (co-authored with Irina Soboleva, Anton Sobolev and Mark Urnov), Europe-Asia Studies 65:10 (2013): 1855-1876.

“The Russian Middle Class as Policy Objective,” Post-Soviet Affairs 27(2) (2011): 1-37.

“Dominant Party Regimes and the Commitment Problem: The Case of United Russia,” (with Ora John Reuter) Comparative Political Studies


Professor, Tsinghua University

Li Bin, is a professor at the Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.


Anton Alex Bebler studied various subjects in Slovenia, Serbia, Russia, USA, UK, France and earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA in 1971. Since 1972 he has thought at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and became a full Professor of Political Science and of Defense Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. For several years he regularly taught at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, also occasionally lectured at various universities and institutes in North America, Europe and Asia and served as member of several national and international advisory boards and panels.

Dr. Bebler authored several books, wrote chapters in numerous international compendia and over 300 scholarly articles on various topics in the field of international relations, international security, arms control, comparative politics systems, European, Eastern and South Eastern European, African and other regional studies, military politics and military sociology. In 1991 -1992 Dr. Bebler chaired the Slovenian Council of the European Movement. Dr. Bebler joined Slovenian Foreign Service in August 1992 and until September 1997 served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Slovenia at the UN Office in Geneva. Since 1997 he is President, Euro-Atlantic Council of Slovenia. In 1999 – 2002 he served as President, Slovenian Emigrants` Association and in 1999 – 2002 as Vice-Chairman of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA). Since July 2006 he is a member of the Executive Committee, International Political Science Association (IPSA).


Alexander Cooley is the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute (2016-18). He also serves on Columbia University’s Tenure Review Advisory Committee (2017-18).

Professor Cooley’s research examines how external actors have shaped the development and sovereignty of the former Soviet states, with a focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus. He is author and/or editor of six academic books:

Logics of Hierarchy: The Organization of Empires, States and Military Occupations (Cornell 2005; cowinner of 2006 Marshall Shulman Prize)
Base Politics­: Democratic Change and the US Military Overseas (Cornell 2008, Reviews: JFQ, APSR, PSQ, and Military Review);
Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Relations (Princeton 2009), co-authored with Hendrik Spruyt.
Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia (Oxford 2012),
Ranking the World: Grading States as a Tool of Global Governance (Cambridge 2015), co-edited with Jack Snyder of Columbia University.
Dictators without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia (Yale 2017), co-authored with John Heathershaw.

In addition to his academic research, Professor Cooley serves on several international advisory boards and has testified for the United States Congress and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Cooley’s opinion pieces have appeared in New York Times, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs and his research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Open Society Foundations, Carnegie Corporation, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, among others. Cooley earned both his MA and Ph.D. from Columbia University.


Alena V. Ledeneva is Professor of Politics and Society at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), University College London (UCL). She is known for her studies of blat, corruption and informal practices in Russia.

Ledeneva studied Economics at the Novosibirsk State University (1986) and Social and Political Theory at the University of Cambridge (Newnham College, M.Phil.1992; Ph.D.1996). She was Postdoctoral Research Fellow at New Hall College, Cambridge (1996–1999); Senior Fellow at the Davis Center, Harvard University (2005); Simon Professor at the University of Manchester (2006), Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris (2010) and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Paris (2013–2014). She is a member of Valdai Discussion Club. Currently, Ledeneva leads the UCL pillar in the large-scale research project funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program – Anticorruption Policies Revisited: Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption (ANTICORRP).

Ledeneva‘s ‘discovery’ of informal practices started with a research of blat – the use of personal networks for getting things done in Russia (Ledeneva 1998). It has helped solve a double puzzle in the history of authoritarian regimes: how people survived in an economy of shortage, and how the regime survived under similar constraint. But it also opened an avenue to explore the nature of political and economic regimes from a new perspective — the perspective of informal practices. Informal practices have become an important indicator in assessing models of governance.

In How Russia Really Works (2006) she has identified the informal practices that have replaced blat in the functioning of the political and economic institutions of the 1990s. This book has been translated into Chinese and Korean.

Arguing that such practices constitute important indicators in assessing models of government, the third volume in the trilogy, Can Russia Modernise: Putin’s System, Power Networks and Informal Governance (2013), focuses on the role of clientele networks in informal governance, an emerging supra-national concern, and on the demands that network-based governance systems make on political leaderships.

These monographs (Cambridge 1998; Cornell 2006; Cambridge 2013) constitute a trilogy on Russia that explores workings of informal networks in the Soviet times, post-Soviet transition of the 1990s and in contemporary Russia.

The interdisciplinary study of informality has been relevant for studying social capital, consumption, labour markets, entrepreneurship, trust, mobility and migration, shortages, barter, survival strategies, alternative currencies, the shadow economy, redistribution and remittance economies, and democracy. All these developments illustrate efforts to re-integrate social dimensions into studies of politics and economy and have policy implications.

In 2018, she published the Global Encyclopaedia of Informality (UCL Press, 2018), an ambitious two volume work containing the work of over 200 contributors on the subject of informality.