Sharon Rivera

Professor of Government Sharon Werning Rivera co-edited a special double issue of Post-Soviet Affairs titled “The Foreign Policy Attitudes of Russian Elites, 1993-2016.” Articles in this issue are based on data from the Survey of Russian Elites (SRE), a data set consisting of seven surveys of high-ranking Russians that were fielded in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.

The 10 articles were originally presented as papers at a conference held at Hamilton in April 2018 with support from the National Science Foundation and the Dean of Faculty Office. They examine attitudes of Russian elites toward a wide range of foreign policy matters, specifically addressing four themes:

  • Cue-taking: How impactful are cues emanating from the Kremlin in both traditional media and social media on elite attitudes about foreign policy?
  • Civilizational identity: How does identification of Russia with Western civilization shape elites’ positions on foreign and domestic policy?
  • Ideological coherence: What ideological orientations structure elites’ foreign policy views and how coherent are their underlying dimensions?
  • Group affiliation: Can sub-divisions within the elite (e.g., more influential v. less influential, pro-regime v. anti-regime) explain differences in their stances on foreign policy?

In 2016, Rivera took over as principal investigator of the SRE from her co-editor, William Zimmerman of the University of Michigan. The 2016 survey was funded by the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, which has contributed generous funding to make possible the launch of the 2020 wave early next year.

Rivera and Zimmerman co-authored the introduction to the special issue. Rivera also co-authored an article with James Bryan ’16, who worked with her on the data analysis phase of the survey project in 2016 and was a member of her Levitt Summer Research Group that year.

Bryan is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in international relations at the American University School of International Service in Washington, D.C.

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