I study comparative politics, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe and Eurasia. My research interests include questions related to education, propaganda, repression and resistance in authoritarian regimes. Since May 2022, I have been working on the Russia Watcher project with Grigore Pop-Eleches and Jacob Tucker. We conduct daily public opinion surveys in Russia to study public opinion regarding the war in Ukraine. See our website and Twitter page. In other ongoing projects, I am studying the politics of exiles and emigres, both in the case of Russians who fled after the February 24 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and more broadly. Finally, I am doing exploratory work with archival data on the Soviet mass literacy campaign in Moldova and mass repressive policies carried out in territories annexed by the Soviet Union through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
I completed an MPhil in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2021. My dissertation focused on international aid in Belarus and Ukraine. My project compared how differing political conditions in Belarus and Ukraine affected the provision of international aid to victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A summary of my findings was published on the website of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
I earned my BA in Government and MA in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Harvard University in 2020. My thesis focused on Soviet-Cuban educational exchange programs. I spent one month in Moscow and two months in Havana collecting hundreds of Soviet archival documents and conducting over 60 semi-structured interviews diplomats and graduates of Soviet universities. The thesis, titled “From the ‘Island of Freedom’ to the Iron Curtain: Rethinking the Role of Soft Power in Soviet-Cuban Educational Exchange Programs,” was awarded a summa grade and won several prizes, including the Hoopes Prize and the Hammond Prize for the best undergraduate thesis related to Spanish-speaking Latin America. An article that explores some of my findings from a historical perspective is forthcoming in a special edition of Cahiers du monde russe.
In another research project, I used qualitative interviews and archival documents to analyze Cuba’s reaction to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. I presented preliminary findings at the Taras Shevchenko Conference at Indiana University in March 2020 and the virtual convention of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) in August 2020. The paper won a graduate award at the ASCE convention.
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