Olga Onuch


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Personal profile


Biographic Sketch: Dr. Onuch (DPhil Oxford 2010) is a Senior Lecturer [Associate Professor] in Politics. She joined the University of Manchester in 2014, after holding posts at the University of Toronto (2010-2011), University of Oxford (2011-2014, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, DPIR, St Antony's and Nuffield Colleges) and Harvard University (2013-2014). She was an Associate of Nuffield College (2014-2021, Oxford) and is an affiliate of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. Onuch was also a visiting Professor/Senior Research Fellow at the Davis Center (Harvard) in 2017 and CERES at the Munk School of Global Affairs in 2021. 

Onuch’s comparative study of protest (elections, migration & identity) in Eastern Europe and Latin America has made her a leading expert in Ukrainian and Argentine politics specifically, but also in inter-regional comparative analysis. Her recent book The Zelensky Effect (Hurst/OUP) co-authored with Henry Hale, explores the Ukrainian civic nation that made Zelensky and which he embodies as he leads Ukraine against Russia's all out invasion and war of agression. The book has been reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement and Foreword Reviews and has been covered in the New York Review of Books, the Guardian, Times Radio, Intelligence Squared, The Telegraph, Ukrainska Pravda, Voice of America, Elle Ukraine, KontakTV, and The Democracy Paradox. Her first book “Mapping Mass Mobilizations” (2014, reviewed in Europe-Asia Studies), explores the processes leading up to mass protest engagement in Ukraine (2004) and Argentina (2001). She is the author of several scholarly articles (in Journal of Democracy, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, Post-Soviet Affairs, GeoPolitics, Nations and Nationalism, Nationalities Papers among other journals), book chapters, and policy briefs. Specifically, her articles "EuroMaidan Protests in Ukraine” and “Studying identity in Ukraine” are both Top 10 all time most read articles in Problems of Post Communism and Post Soviet Affairs respectively and also among the most cited articles. Recently Onuch's article “Antiregime action & geopolitical polarization” on protests in Belarus in 2020 is 2nd most read article in the last 12 months in Post Soviet Affairs.

Her research regularly appears in leading media outlets (The Washington Post, The Times, The Guardian, BBC, ITV, Al Jazeera, AFP, among others). Onuch’s research on protest politics in Ukraine has resulted in her consulting policymakers in Canada, Ukraine, the UK and US. Her research received praise and awards placing her on the map as one of the foremost experts on protests and activism in Ukraine.

Onuch is currently Principle Investigator (ESRC) of MOBILISE “Determinants of ‘Mobilisation’ at Home and Abroad: Analysing the Micro- Foundations of Out-Migration & Mass Protest”. A three year project (2018-2021) funded through the Open Research Area (ORA) Scheme with direct support of the ESRC in the UK, the DFG in Germany, the ANR in France and the NWO in the Netherlands (€2,002,039 total [£595,369 to UoM]).

Onuch’s is Co-PI (with Hale, Colton, Kravets) of a National Science Foundation funded study of Ukrainian political opinion. In 2014 Onuch was awarded (did not take up) the Leverhulme EC Fellowship for exceptional and promising young scholars. Onuch was Principle Investigator of the Ukrainian Protest Project: Comparative Protest Politics funded the British Academy.

Previously she held: the Shklar Research Fellowship at HURI, Harvard; the Newton Prize Fellowship, at Nuffield College, Oxford; The Petro Jacyk Prize Fellowship, at CERES, Toronto; and a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (mentored by Enrique Peruzzotti and Guillermo O’Donnell).

Media availability: Yes (written and spoken: English, Ukrainian, Polish, Spanish, and French).



Dr. Onuch is currently accepting Doctoral Thesis supervision proposals related to:

  • Comparative Protest Politics, Social Mobilization, Social Movements (all regions but specifically in EE and LA).
  • Measure and Capturing ethnicity and ethno-linguistic identies.
  • Political behaviour and democratic institutions in Eastern Europe or Latin America region (i.e. elections, protest, civil society, political parties).
  • Contemporary politics of country cases that I work on: Ukraine, Poland, Argentina and Brazil.
  • The relationship between migration and protest.
  • The EU’s role in EE, Eastward Enlargement and The ENP.
  • Comparative assessment of the 'Quality of Democracy'.
  • Democracy promotion (specifically in EE but also more broadly).

Dr. Onuch is currently supervising the following PhD Students:

  • Craig Proctor, Explaining Radical Right Wing Mobilization in Post-EuroMaidan Ukraine (Primary Supervisor)
  • Anna Glew, Memory Politics in Ukraine in the Post-EuroMaidan Period 
  • Alina Nychyk, EU-Ukraine-Russia relations during the conflict in Ukraine (Primary Supervisor)
  • Ana Martinez, Resistances to reproductive rights in Latin America: Argentina & El Salvador
  • Emma Mateo (Oxford University), Regional Diffussion of Mass Mobilistaion in Ukraine (Primary Supervisor)
  • Cressida Arkwright (Case Studentship with British Council Ukraine),Youth Engagement in Young Democracies (Primary Supervisor)

Onuch has in the past advised on and co-supervised Postgraduate Theses focusing on:

  • EU-Ukraine Relations.
  • Frozen Conflicts in FSU.
  • Inter-ethnic conflict in Ukraine.
  • Civil society in the Former Soviet Union.
  • Democracy Promotion.
  • Russia's Foreign Policy in Georgia and Ukraine.
  • Social Media and Protest.

Units taught

Dr. O, as she is known to her students (circa 2008 Oxford), has previously taught Comparative Government, Comparative Politics, Research Methods, EU Enlargement, Politics of The EU, Politics of Europe, Russian and East European Politics, as well as, Latin American Politics at several colleges and the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford and at CERES at The Munk School of Globa Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Currently, at the University of Manchester, Dr. O teaches/convenes: 

  1. Comparative Democratization in EE and LA, Postgraduate MSc/MA Level (Convener 2017-)
  2. Comparative Protest Politics, Undergraduate Year Three (Convener 2014-)
  3. How To Conduct Politics Research, Undergraduate Year Three (Convener 2016-)
  4. East Central European Politics, Undergraduate  Year Two (taught on course in 2015)
  5. Politics Research Project, Undergraduate Year Two (taught on course 2014-2015, convened course 2015-2016)
  6. Engaging Social Research, Undergraduate Year One (taught on course 2015-)
  7. Study Skills (Essay Writing), Undergraduate Year One
  8. Dissertation, Undergraduate Year Three (Supervisor 2014-)
  9. Dissertation, Postgraduate MA/MSc (Supervisor 2014-)

Current teaching-related administrative posts at the University of Manchester:

  1. Politics Coordinator for the BA in Social Sciences Pathway, Politics Department
  2. Director of the MA in European Politics Pathway, Politics Department


Office hours

To book a meeting with Dr. O please use Calendly. 


Policy Engagement and Pathways to Impact

Dr. Onuch has engaged with policy makers and practitioners internationally. Currently, she is coordinating a team of researchers investigating the state of thinktanks, and their policy impact, in Ukraine. in 2014 Onuch joined the Open Society Foundation coordinated, Strategic Advisory Group, tasked with advising the President and Government of Ukraine. In this role, she contributed to policy development work related to three policy areas: good governance, anti-corruption and transparency, and social and human development policy.

Further examples of past policy engagement include her experiences as both a researcher and consultant: at the IBRD (World Bank) in Kyiv, Ukraine, as part of the ‘Good Governance Project’, (2001); at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean in New York City, as part of the ‘Democratic Dialogue Project’ (2004); for USAID, PACT Uniter and the OSI Think Tank Fund, on an assessment of Ukrainian Think Tanks; for Oxford Analytica, providing briefings on Ukrainian politics and industry; for the OSCE, research and work related to elections in Ukraine, and for the OECD, on the quality of democracy and quality of Governance, research and indicators. Onuch continues to seek opportunities to not only produce policy-relevant research but also engage and collaborate with larger policy and practitioner communities. 

This is a selected list of consulting, as well as, other academic projects, where I was employed as a researcher.

  1. (2018) Think Tanks in Ukraine (OSI, Think Tank Fund),
  2. (2017-2018) Consultant (Ukraine Expert) on a project examining cultural diplomacy/ cultural relations of British Council and Goethe Institut in Ukraine and Egypt (Project led by Open University and Hertie School of Governance),
  3. (2014) Constitutional Reform, Decentralization in Ukraine as part of the Open Society Foundation coordinated, Strategic Advisory Group to the Ukrainian Government (OSF, EBRD),
  4. (2014-present) Ukrainian Crisis (several EU and North American governments/ Ministries),
  5. (2014-2015) Good Governance Analysis (OECD),
  6. (2012) Think Tanks in Ukraine (OSI, Think Tank Fund, USAID, Uniter-PACT),
  7. (2009) Political Parties in Ukraine (ISS),
  8. (2009-2010) Election Analysis/Monitoring in Ukraine (OSCE),
  9. (2009-2010) Political Preferences of Ukrainian Migrants (Oxford),
  10. (2007-2008) Eastward Enlargement & ENP in Ukraine & Moldova (EU/LSE),
  11. (2004) Lustration and Democratic Dialogue in LA (UNDP),
  12. (2002-2004) Land Tenure Policies in Developing States (Queens’ University, Canada),
  13. (2001) Good Governance in Ukraine (World Bank).

Activities and esteem

Present Academic Appointments

2014 - Senior Lecturer in Politics, Politics Department, SoSS, University of Manchester, UK.

2014 - Associate, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK. (Competitively appointed).

2017 - Research Fellow, Davis Center, Center For Government and International Studies, Harvard University, USA. (Competitively appointed).

Previous Academic Appointments

2013 - 2014 -Shklar Research Fellow, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, USA. (Competitively appointed).

2012 - 2014 - Newton International Fellow. Funded by: British Academy & Royal Society. Hosted at: Latin American Center, School of International and Area Studies, University of Oxford, UK. (Competitively awarded).

2011 - 2014 - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK. (Competitively appointed).

2011 - Research Fellow, Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (MDCEE). Funded by: Framework Programme 7 IDEAS, CORDIS, ERC, PI: Prof. Jan Zielonka. Hosted at: St. Antony's College, Department of Politics and IR, University of Oxford, UK (€2,056,276.00). (Competitively appointed).

2010 - 2011 - Petro Jacyk Post-Doctoral Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada. (Competitively awarded).

2007 - 2009 - Doctoral Researcher, Human and Minority Rights in the Life Cycle of Ethnic Conflicts 'MIRICO'. Funded by: Framework Programme 6, ERC, STREP, PI: Prof. James Hughes. Hosted at: Government Department, LSE, UK (e1,186,227.00).

2004 - Research Intern, Democratic Dialogue Project, United Nations Development Program, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations New York Headquarters, USA.

2001 - Research Intern, External Affairs Office, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank, Regional Headquarters, Ukraine.

Previous Visiting Appointments

2013 - Visiting Scholar, Ciencia Politica, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, B.A, Argentina.

2009 - Visiting Scholar, Ciencia Politica, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, B.A, Argentina.

2006 - Visiting Scholar, National Institute for Strategic Studies. Kyiv, Ukraine

Reviewer at:

American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, Democratization, Democratizatsiya, Electoral Politics, East European Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Government and Opposition, International Aairs, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, JEPS, Journal of Ukrainian Studies, Mobilization, Nations and Nationalities, Nationalities Papers, Political Studies, Press Politics, Problems of Post-Communism, Research and Politics, Social Forces, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, World Politics.

Prizes and awards

Research Grants & Awards:

  • 2018 - PI role, MOBILISE - Determinants of Mobilisation at Home and Abroad: Analysing the Micro-Foundations of Out-Migration & Mass Protest, Open Research Area Scheme, ESRC in the UK, the DFG in Germany, the ANR in France and the NWO in the Netherlands, Amount awarded (amount attr. to UoM): € 2,002,039 ($595,369)
  • 2017 - PI role, Competitive Authoritarian Protest Research Network, UoM Internationalization Grant, Amount awarded (amount attr. to UoM): $7500 (all)
  • 2017 – Winner, Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching (new entrant category), Political Studies Association, UK, Amount awarded (amount attr. To UoM): $100 (all)
  • 2017 – PI role, Three Annual workshops on Ukraine related topics, UoM Alumn Funded, Amount awarded (amount attr. To UoM): $6000 (all)
  • 2016 – PI role, Exit and Voice: Grant Writing Workshop, SoSS Conference Grant, Amount awarded (amount attr. To UoM): $2000 (all)
  • 2015 - PI role, Political Identities, Preferences and Participation in Times of Crisis, European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant, Shortlisted for final round of 2015/2016
  • 2014 – 2015 - Joint PI (with Henry Hale, Timothy Colton, Nadiya Kravets), Ukrainian Crisis Election Survey Project, National Science Foundation RAPID Grant, US Government and Ukrainian Studies Fund, Amount awarded (amount attr. To UoM): approx. $120,000 ($6000)
  • 2014 – 2015 - Joint PI (with Sorana Toma), Examining 'Exit' and 'Voice' in Romania and Ukraine, John Fell Fund, Oxford University Press, Amount awarded (amount attr. To UoM): $7000 ($3500)
  • 2014-2017 – PI, Migration and Protest in Europe, Leverhulme Trust ECF, Not-transferable from UCL to University of Manchester
  • 2013 – PI, Comparative Protest Politics: Workshop, John Fell Fund, Oxford University Press & Politics Group Grant, Nuffield College, Amount awarded (amount attr. To UoM): $4500 combined
  • 2012-2014 – PI, Understanding Processes and Actor Decisions in Mass-Mobilization, Newton Fellowship Award, British Academy and Royal Society, Amount awarded (amount attr. To UoM): $66000

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Revolutionary Moments and Movements in Ukraine (2004) and Argentina (2001), Oxford University


Award Date: 18 Jun 2011

Master of Science, Comparative Politics ( Latin America Stream)


Bachelor of Arts, BA Honors in Development Studies and Political Studies (Medial/Double Major)


External positions

Research Fellow (Competitively appointed), Davis Center, Center For Government and International Studies, Harvard University

2017 → …

Associate , Nuffield College, University of Oxford

2014 → …

Shklar Research Fellow (Competitively appointed), Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University


Newton International Fellow (Competitively awarded), Latin American Center, School of International and Area Studies, University of Oxford


Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Competitively appointed), Nuffield College, University of Oxford


Research Fellow (Competitively appointed), Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, St. Antony's College, Department of Politics and IR, University of Oxford


Petro Jacyk Post-Doctoral Fellow (Competitively awarded), Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto


Doctoral Researcher, Human and Minority Rights in the Life Cycle of Ethnic Con icts 'MIRICO', Government Department, LSE


Research Intern, Democratic Dialogue Project, United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP)


Research Intern, External Affairs Office, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank, Regional Headquarters


Areas of expertise

  • JA Political science (General)
  • Comparative Politics
  • Protest
  • Mass-mobilization
  • Activism
  • Social Movements
  • Elections
  • Ethnic Identity
  • Transition
  • Democratisation
  • Eastern Europe
  • Ukraine
  • Argetina
  • Latin America
  • Former Soviet Union
  • Post-communist politics
  • Post-authoritarian politics
  • Migration
  • Civil Society
  • Good Governance
  • Political Behavior
  • Public Opinion
  • H Social Sciences (General)


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