Sharon Rivera

Associate Professor of Government Sharon Werning Rivera has been awarded a $49,999 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support her project, “Russian Elite Attitudes toward Conflict and the West.”

The project is aimed at understanding the sources of the resurgent conflict between Russia and the U.S. that has accompanied President Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012.  

Rivera will bring together leading scholars from the U.S., Europe, and Russia to present papers based on a unique data source that spans close to 25 years and extends to 2016—a series of more than 1600 interviews with high-ranking individuals working in Russia’s federal bureaucracy, parliament, military and security agencies, private businesses, state-owned enterprises, universities and academic research institutes, and major media outlets.

At two conferences (the first to be held at Hamilton College in the spring of 2018 and the second at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in the fall of 2018), scholars will explore critical questions related to both foreign policy formation and Russian politics.

The conference papers will be published as a co-edited volume designed for both academic and policy audiences.

In collaboration with scholars at the University of Michigan and the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg (Russia), Rivera directed the seventh wave of the elite surveys in 2016.  Funded by the college's Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, the most recent data were collected in February and March of 2016. 

Rivera and her students in Government 333 (Introduction to Survey Research) summarized key findings of the 2016 Hamilton College Levitt Poll in a report titled The Russian Elite 2016.  In addition, Rivera and students in her Levitt Summer Research Group published a synopsis of their findings in a Washington Post blog, The Monkey Cage, last summer.

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