Personal profile


I have been at the University of Manchester since 1994, as a Professor since 2006. Before coming to Manchester I completed a doctorate at St Antony's College, Oxford, under the supervision of Mary McAuley. From 1991-94 I was a Junior Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

I have been the sole principal investigator on two ESRC grants (R00022676, R000230880), the outputs of both of which were rated "outstanding" by ESRC assessors, and the recipient of numerous small grants from the British Academy and other bodies. In 2005 my co-authored book Cold Peace won the Alec Nove Prize of the British Association of Slavic and East European Studies for its "outstanding contribution to the field" and was selected as a CHOICE "Outstanding Academic Title." Another co-authored volume,  Substate Dictatorship: Networks, Loyalty, and Institutional Change in the Soviet Union (2020) was recently named a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2021. I have been a member of the ESRC Politics, Economics and Geography Research College, a Chair of the Validation Panel for the Moscow School of Social Sciences, and am currently Head of Politics. In 2020 I was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Research interests

While my research centres on Russia and the Soviet Union, it touches on broader themes in the theory of dictatorship, on the transformation of legal systems, and on the dynamics of trust networks.  I am glad to supervise Ph.D. dissertations on any of these themes and on a wide range of current or historical topics relating to Russia and Eurasia.

I am currently engaged in three research projects:

  • Ideology and Dictatorship: on the role of ideas in dictatorship (article)
  • Taking Dictatorship Seriously: Justice and the Constitution in Soviet Russia: On the emergence of a new type of legal system in the Soviet Union in the late Stalin era (book)
  • From Ideology to the Manipulation of Information: The Changing Face of Russian Dictatorship, 1970-2000: An archival examination of the transition to a new type of dictatorship in Russia in the latter part of the twentieth century (research project and book, with Oleg Khlevniuk)

Further information

Additional Information


For 13 years, from 1994-2007, I was one of two principal lecturers in the Department's introductory course to Politics, Government I (Poli10201). Although I have now stopped teaching on that course, I run a popular third year course on contemporary Russian politics (Poli30072).

I have supervised eleven Ph.D. students to completion, four of whom have gone on to permanent academic posts in the UK, while others have gone on to positions at, among others, Manchester City Council, the European Commission and in the banking sector. I am happy to take on doctoral students working on Russia, Eurasia and on theories of dictatorship.

Phd Students

Current Ph.D. Students

  • Robert Georgyi (with James Garratt) "The politics of music in Hungary"

Past Ph.D. Students

  • Sergei Kondrashov, (with Chris Binns), 'Nationalism and the Drive for Sovereignty in Tatarstan 1988-1992: Origins and Development,' successfully completed, summer 1996. Now works in the banking sector in Russia.
  • Aleksei Voskressenski (with Peter Lawler), 'Russia and China: Problems of Continuity and Change in Interstate Relations,' successfully completed, summer 1997. Teaches at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
  • Mustafa Demirtepe, (with Cigdem Balim) 'The Emergence of Uzbekistan as a Nation State,' successfully completed August 2002
  • Lucian Cernat (with Peter Humphreys), 'From Socialism to 'Cocktail Capitalism': Europeanization, state-societal interactions and economic performance in Romania', successfully completed October 2002. Works for the European Commission.
  • Cristina Chiva (with Ursula Vogel),  'The Public and the Private: Patriarchal transitions in Hungary and Romania,' successfully completed, October 2002. Has a lectureship at Salford University.
  • Oxana Poberezhnaia, 'Civic Education and the Problem of "Imitative Modernization" in Contemporary Russia,' successfully completed, June 2006
  • Elisabeth Schimpfossl (with Lynne Attwood), "The Reproduction of Elites in Post-Communist Russia" successfully competed, July 2012. Has a lectureship in Sociology at the University of Aston.
  • Jon Chang (with Peter Gatrell), "The Soviet Deportation of Koreans in 1937: A Comparative Analysis"successfully completed November 2012
  • Precious Chatterje-Taylor (with Peter Lawler) "Conceptions of Security: Ideas, Identity and Russian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century" successfully completed February 2015. Has a lectureship in Politics at the Open University. 
  • Connell Beggs (with Vera Tolz) "Soft Power, Hard Times: Russian Influence in the Post-Soviet Space during Periods of Military Conflict" successfully completed in May 2021. Employed at Manchester City Council.
  • Franco Galdini (with Stuart Shields) "The Post-Soviet Space and Uzbekistan in the International Division of Labour: From Transition to Capital Accumulation" successfully completed in May 2021. Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester. 

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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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