Sharon Werning Rivera

Sharon Werning Rivera
Sharon Werning Rivera

Chair, Professor of Government

Kirner-Johnson 115

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 of Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Recent Courses Taught

Comparative Politics
Transitions to Democracy
Politics in Russia
Authoritarian Politics
Introduction to Russia
Topics in Survey Research
Senior Project


  • Hamilton College Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Award for Notable Year Achievement, 2017
  • National Science Foundation Award #1742798, 2017  
  • Christian A. Johnson Teaching Enhancement Award, 2016
  • Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Russian Federation, 2012-13
  • Levitt Award for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016
  • Kirkland Summer Scholarship Award for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2014
  • Hamilton College Class of 1963 Faculty Fellowship, 2012
  • Hamilton College Teaching Innovation Grant, 2010, 2014
  • Faculty Grant Development Funds, 2008, 2013
  • Hamilton College Class of 1966 Career Development Award, 2004, 2007
  • Hamilton College Class of 1966 Faculty Innovation Grant, 2006
  • Emerson Grant for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2003

Selected Publications

Articles and Book Chapters in English:

  • “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), forthcoming.  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-Communism 65, No. 4 (2018): 221-232. 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). 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. (copyright Cambridge University Press)
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  • “Engaging Students as Paraprofessionals through 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.
  • “Out of the Ivory Tower: Integrating Service-Learning into Russian Studies,” AAASS NewsNet 46, No. 2 (March 2006): 15-19.
  • Elites and the Diffusion of Foreign Models in Russia,” Political Studies 52, No. 1 (March 2004): 43-62.
  • “Interviewing Political Elites: Lessons from Russia,” PS: Political Science and Politics 35, No. 4 (December 2002): 683-88. With Polina Kozyreva and Eduard Sarovskii.
  • 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: 1993-2016 [Data file and codebook]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-09-11. With William Zimmerman and Kirill Kalinin. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03724.v6

Online Text:

  • “Elections in West Europa,” Congressional Quarterly Press, 2009. Online simulation for comparative politics courses.

Articles and Book Chapters in Russian:

  • “Tsel’ bakalavriata i magistratury v SShA: kratkoe vvedenie” [The Purposes of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in the U.S.: A Brief Introduction], in N. V. Makshantseva, E. P. Savrutskaya, and L.A. L’vov, eds., Rol’ lingvisticheskogo vuza v integratsii mezhdunarodnogo obrazovaniya: vektory i strategii razvitiya [The Role of the Linguistics University in the Integration of International Education: Avenues and Strategies for Development] (Nizhnii Novgorod: FGBOU VPO “NGLU,” 2014).  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.

Professional Affiliations

Member, American Political Science Association
Member, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Appointed to the Faculty: 1999

Educational Background

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

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