Olga Onuch


  • Professor in Comparative and Ukrainian Politics, Politics

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


PROF. OLGA ONUCH (DPhil Oxford 2010) is Professor (Chair) in Comparative and Ukrainian Politics at the University of Manchester (making Onuch the first-ever holder of a Full Professorship in Ukrainian Politics in the English-speaking world and making UoM the first English language University to host such a Professorship).

Onuch joined UoM in 2014, after holding research posts at the University of Toronto (2010-2011), the University of Oxford (2011-2014), and Harvard University (2013-2014). Since 2014, in addition to her post at UoM, Prof. Onuch was: an Associate Member (Politics) of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford (2014-2021), a Fellow at the Davis Center at the University of Harvard (2017), a Visiting Professor at Universidad Di Tella (2019-2020), and a Senior Research Associate at CERES, Munk School at the University of Toronto (2021).

A scholar of comparative politics of eastern Europe and Latin America Onuch’s work looks at the motivations driving citizens to vote, protest, and/or migrate and factors related to their media consumption, as well as identity formation and policy preferences.Onuch’s research demonstrates that civic identity and duty (or its absence) is central in shaping political behavior in democratizing contexts. Onuch’s comparative study of engagement and democratic civic duty has made her a leading expert in Ukrainian and Argentine politics specifically, but also in east European Comparative Politics and inter-regional comparative analysis.

Onuch is the author of two books, as well as, numerous scholarly articles (published in The Journal of Democracy, GeoPolitics, Social Media + Society, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, Nations and Nationalism, Nationalities Papers, and Post-Soviet Affairs among other journals), book chapters, and policy briefs. Advancing findings, from her first monograph, Mapping Mass Mobilization (2014, reviewed in Europe-Asia Studies), Onuch has produced high-impact publications developing generalizable theories on the measurement and role of “civic identity,” “democratic dispositions” and “affective polarisation.” This research culminated in her second monograph, The Zelensky Effect (OUP/Hurst 2023/2022, co-authored with Henry Hale, reviewed/cited in New York Review of BooksTLS  Foreign AffairsGuardian, Washington Post, New York Times, The Diplomatic Courier, The Times Radio Podcast, The Telegraph, Ukraine Lately Podcast, The Democracy Paradox, Ukraiinska Pravda, Forbes Ukraine, Elle Ukraine and more), analyzing the rise of democratic duty and state attachment in Ukraine.

Prof. Onuch is the Lead and UK Principle Investigator of MOBILISE “Determinants of ‘Mobilisation’ at Home and Abroad: Analysing the Micro- Foundations of Out-Migration & Mass Protest”. A multi-year project (2018-2023) funded through the Open Research Area (ORA) Scheme with the 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 is also the PI of the IBIF project funded by the British Academy (2019-2024).

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



Professor Onuch is currently accepting Doctoral Thesis supervision proposals related to:

  • Ukrainian Politics
  • 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).


Prof. Onuch previously supervised 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)
  • Emma Mateo (Oxford University), Regional Diffussion of Mass Mobilistaion in Ukraine (Primary Supervisor)

Prof. Onuch is currently supervising the following PhD Students:

  • Ana Martinez, Resistances to reproductive rights: Argentina & Spain
  • Cressida Arkwright (Case Studentship with British Council Ukraine),Youth Engagement in Young Democracies (Primary Supervisor)
  • Fansisco Espinoza, Economic voting in Latin America (Primary Supervisor)

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

  • EU-Ukraine Relations.
  • Frozen Conflicts in FSU.
  • War in Ukraine.
  • Civil society in the Former Soviet Union.
  • Democracy Promotion.
  • Russia's Foreign Policy in Georgia and Ukraine.
  • Social Media and Protest.
  • Rape as a tool of War.
  • EU Elite Politics and Policy
  • EU accession.
  • NATO foreign policy.

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. Ukraine Rises: Contemporary Politics of Ukraine, UG Level Three, (Convener 2023-)
  2. Comparative Democratization in EE and LA, Postgraduate MSc/MA Level (Convener 2017-)
  3. Comparative Protest Politics, Undergraduate Year Three & MA (Convener 2014-)
  4. How To Conduct Politics Research, Undergraduate Year Three (Convener 2016-2020)
  5. East Central European Politics, Undergraduate  Year Two (taught on course in 2015)
  6. Politics Research Project, Undergraduate Year Two (taught on course 2014-2015, convened course 2015-2016)
  7. Engaging Social Research, Undergraduate Year One (taught on course 2015-2019)
  8. Study Skills (Essay Writing), Undergraduate Year One
  9. Dissertation, Undergraduate Year Three (Supervisor 2014-)
  10. Dissertation, Postgraduate MA/MSc (Supervisor 2014-)

Past 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
  3. Director of PhD Program


Office hours

To book a meeting with Professor Onuch please use Calendly. 


Policy Engagement and Pathways to Impact

Professor 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. Ukrainian Refugees in the EU and UK
  2. Think Tanks in Ukraine (OSI, Think Tank Fund),
  3. 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),
  4. Constitutional Reform, Decentralization in Ukraine as part of the Open Society Foundation coordinated, Strategic Advisory Group to the Ukrainian Government (OSF, EBRD),
  5. Russia's War Against Ukraine (several EU and North American governments/ Ministries),
  6. Good Governance Analysis (OECD),
  7. Think Tanks in Ukraine (OSI, Think Tank Fund, USAID, Uniter-PACT),
  8. Political Parties in Ukraine (ISS),
  9. Election Analysis/Monitoring in Ukraine (OSCE),
  10. Political Preferences of Ukrainian Migrants (Oxford),
  11. Eastward Enlargement & ENP in Ukraine & Moldova (EU/LSE),
  12. Lustration and Democratic Dialogue in LA (UNDP),
  13. Land Tenure Policies in Developing States (Queens’ University, Canada),
  14. (2001) Good Governance in Ukraine (World Bank).

Prizes and awards

Research Grants & Awards:

  • 2019 - 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

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


Master of Science, Comparative Politics ( Latin America Stream)


External positions

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

2017 → …

Associate , Nuffield College, University of Oxford


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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