Sharon Werning Rivera
Sidney Wertimer Professor for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring, Professor of Government; Director of Russian Studies
Sharon Werning Rivera, who earned a doctorate at the University of Michigan, specializes in the post-communist countries of Eurasia with a focus on Russia. Rivera’s research and teaching interests are in the field of comparative politics with emphases on democratization, elite political culture, elites in post-communist Russia, and survey research. Her articles have appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, Party Politics, and Demokratizatsiya, among others. In 2012-13 she was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Russian Federation. In 2017 Rivera was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to support her project on the foreign policy attitudes of Russian elites. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the Survey of Russian Elites, a project spanning more than two decades that is on deposit with the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan.
In February 2022, she launched the Ukraine Assistance Initiative in conjunction with Hamilton’s Levitt Center and Russian Studies Program. Students working with Rivera on the initiative coordinate efforts aimed at educating the Hamilton community about the Russo-Ukrainian War, acquainting students with Ukrainian culture, assisting Ukrainian refugees in the Utica area, documenting human rights abuses committed by Russia during the war, and supporting prisoners detained in Russia on political or religious grounds.
Recent Courses Taught
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Politics in Russia
Transitions to Democracy
Russians and their Relationship to Authority
Topics in Survey Research
- Levitt Center Research and Innovation Award, 2022, 2023
- National Science Foundation Award #1742798, 2017
- Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Award for Notable Year Achievement, 2017
- Christian A. Johnson Teaching Enhancement Fellowship, 2016, 2019, 2022
- Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Russian Federation, 2012-13
- Levitt Center Award for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2021
- Kirkland Summer Scholarship Award for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2014
- Class of 1963 Faculty Fellowship, 2012
- Teaching Innovation Grant, 2010, 2014
- Faculty Grant Development Funds, 2008, 2013
- Class of 1966 Career Development Award, 2004, 2007
- Class of 1966 Faculty Innovation Grant, 2006
- Emerson Grant for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2003
Articles and Book Chapters in English:
- “The Views of Russian Elites on Military Intervention Abroad,” Russian Analytical Digest, No. 299, August 4, 2023, pp. 2-7.
- “Why No Collective Action by Russian Mothers?” The Russia File (blog), The Kennan Institute, July 14, 2023. With Vladimir Gel’man.
- "The Child-Rearing Scale as a Measure of Authoritarianism in a Non-Western Context: Evidence from Mass and Elite Surveys in Russia.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 35, No. 1 (Spring 2023). With Kirill Zhirkov and Eduard Ponarin.
- “Are Siloviki Still Undemocratic? Elite Support for Political Pluralism during Putin’s Third Presidential Term,” Russian Politics 4, No. 4 (2019): 499-519. With David W. Rivera.
- “Introduction: New Directions in Survey Research on Russian Elites,” Post-Soviet Affairs 35, Nos. 5-6 (2019). With William Zimmerman. doi: 10.1080/1060586X.2019.1660482.
- “Understanding the Sources of Anti-Americanism in the Russian Elite,” Post-Soviet Affairs 35, Nos. 5-6 (2019). With James D. Bryan ’16.
- “The Militarization of the Russian Elite under Putin: What We Know, What We Think We Know (but Don’t), and What We Need to Know,” Problems of Post-Communism65, No. 4 (2018): 221-32. With David W. Rivera.
- “Governing Nizhny Novgorod: Boris Nemtsov as a Regional Leader,” in Andrey Makarychev and Alexandra Yatsyk, eds., Boris Nemtsov and Russian Politics: Power and Resistance (Germany: ibidem Press, 2018), pp. 87-110. With Vladimir Gel’man.
- “Is Russia Too Unique to Learn from Abroad? Elite Attitudes Toward Foreign Borrowing and the West, 1993-2012,” Sravnitel’naya politika 7, No. 1 (2016): 31-39.
- “Nemtsov and Democracy in Nizhny Novgorod,” Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 24, No. 1 (Winter 2016): 36-38.
- “Is Russia a Militocracy? Conceptual Issues and Extant Findings Regarding Elite Militarization,” Post-Soviet Affairs 30, No. 1 (2014): 27-50. With David W. Rivera. (Supplementary appendix)
- “Yeltsin, Putin, and Clinton: Presidential Leadership and Russian Democratization in Comparative Perspective,” Perspectives on Politics 7, No. 3 (September 2009): 591-610. With David W. Rivera.
- “Engaging Students Through Extended Simulations,” Journal of Political Science Education 4, No. 3 (July 2008): 298-316. With Janet Simons.
- “The Russian Elite under Putin: Militocratic or Bourgeois?,” Post-Soviet Affairs 22, No. 2 (April-June 2006): 125-144. With David W. Rivera.
- “Interviewing Political Elites: Lessons from Russia,” in David Rochefort, ed., Quantitative Methods in Practice: Readings from PS (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2006). With Polina Kozyreva and Eduard Sarovskii. Updated version of article in PS: Political Science and Politics 35, No. 4 (December 2002): 683-88.
- “Elites and the Diffusion of Foreign Models in Russia,” Political Studies 52, No. 1 (March 2004): 43-62.
- “Elites in Post-Communist Russia: A Changing of the Guard?” Europe-Asia Studies 52, No. 3 (2000): 413-432.
- “Historical Cleavages or Transition Mode? Influences on the Emerging Party Systems in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia,” Party Politics 2, No. 2 (1996): 177-208.
- Survey of Russian Elites, Moscow, Russia, 1993-2020 [Data file and codebook]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023-06-01. With William Zimmerman and Kirill Kalinin. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03724.v8
- 2020 Report: “Survey of Russian Elites 2020: New Perspectives on Foreign and Domestic Policy,” July 28, 2020.
- 2016 Report: “The Russian Elite 2016: Perspectives on Foreign and Domestic Policy,” May 11, 2016.
- “Elections in West Europa,” Congressional Quarterly Press, 2009. Online simulation for comparative politics courses.
Foreign-Language Articles and Book Chapters:
- “Ansichten der russischen Eliten zu militärischen Interventionen im Ausland” [The Views of Russian Elites on Military Intervention Abroad], Russland-Analysen No. 431, February 16, 2023, pp. 2-6.
- “Siloviki i demokratiya po-prezhnemu nesovmestimy? Analiz dannykh Issledovaniya rossiiskikh elit 2016 goda” [Are Siloviki and Democracy Still Incompatible? An Analysis of the 2016 Survey of Russian Elites], Monitoring obshchestvennogo mneniya: ekonomicheskie i sotsial’nye peremeny, No. 5 (2021): 163-176. With David W. Rivera. doi: 10.14515/monitoring.2021.5.
- “Kritika militokraticheskoi paradigmy formirovaniya vlasti pri prezidente V. Putine: obzor rossiiskoi i zarybezhnoi literatury” [A Critique of the Militocracy Paradigm Regarding Government Formation under Putin: A Review of the Russian and Foreign Literatures], Sotsial’no-gumanitarnye znaniya, No. 1 (2019): 153-175. With David W. Rivera.
- “El’tsin, Putin i prezidentskaya vlast’” [Yeltsin, Putin, and the Power of the Presidency], Politicheskie issledovaniya [Political Research], No. 3 (2012): 19-29. With David W. Rivera.
- “El’tsin, Putin, i Klinton: prezidentskoe liderstvo i rossiiskaya demokratiya v sravnitel’noi perspektive” [Yeltsin, Putin, and Clinton: Presidential Leadership and Russian Democratization in Comparative Perspective], Mir i politika [The World and Politics] 9, No. 48 (September 2010): 35-52. With David W. Rivera.
- “K bolee tochnym otsenkam transformatsii v Rossiiskoi elite” [Towards a More Accurate Assessment of the Transformation of the Russian Elite] (with David W. Rivera), Politicheskie issledovaniya [Political Research], No. 5 (2009): 149-157.
- “Unikal’nyi put’ Rossii? Obzor politicheskikh elit” [“A Unique Path for Russia? A Survey of Political Elites”], in A. D. Shutov, ed., Uchenye zapiski 2006 (Moscow: Nauchnaya kniga, 2006), pp. 46-59. Publication of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Interview in Dominik Kalus, “In den häufigsten Fällen erfolgt der Sturz nicht durch das Volk” [In Most Cases, a Dictator is Not Overthrown by the Mass Public], Die Welt, March 24, 2023.
- “Why We’ll Miss Mikhail Gorbachev,” Syracuse Post-Standard, September 8, 2022. With David W. Rivera.
- “Can Putin Keep the Oligarchs and Russian Elites on His Side?” The Monkey Cage (blog), The Washington Post, March 1, 2022.
- “Russia’s Referendum Could Keep Vladimir Putin in Power until 2036. What Do High-Ranking Russians Think?” The Monkey Cage (blog), The Washington Post, July 1, 2020. With Henry E. Hale.
- Interview in Joshua Tucker, “It’s Russia Day. What Do High-Ranking Russians Think about the U.S.?” The Monkey Cage (blog), The Washington Post, June 12, 2020.
- “Ability, Virtue, and Donald Trump: What Alexander Hamilton Would Say about the 2016 Election,” Medium.org, November 16, 2016. With David W. Rivera.
- “Russian Elites Are More Militaristic and Anti-American than They’ve Been in Years,” The Monkey Cage (blog), The Washington Post, July 22, 2016. With James Bryan ’16, Emma Raynor ’18, and Hunter Sobczak ’17.
Member, American Political Science Association
Member, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Appointed to the Faculty1999
Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
M.A., Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
B.A., University of California at Davis