Alexander Motyl

Alexander Motyl


ajmotyl [at]



Office Location

728 Hill Hall

Courses Taught

The Government and Politics of Russia and the Soviet Union; Nationalism, Revolution, and War; Research Methods; Politics, History, and the Arts; Great Political Speeches and the Art of Rhetoric; Seminar on the Soviet Union; Comparative Politics


Ph.D. in Political Science, 1984, Columbia University.

                       Dissertation: “The Ethnic Stability of the Soviet Multinational State: Conceptualization, Interpretation, Case Study.”

M.Phil. in Political Science, 1983, Columbia University.

Master of International Affairs, 1979, School of International Affairs, Columbia University.

                       Specialization: International Media & Communications.

Certificate, 1979, Institute on East Central Europe, Columbia University.

B.A. in History, 1975, Columbia College (summa cum laude).


Soviet and post-Soviet-politics; comparative politics; theory and methodology; revolutions; nationalism; empires


Non-Fiction Books


Pidsumky imperii [Imperial Ends]. Kyiv: Krytyka, 2009.

Puti imperi [Imperial Ends]. Moscow: School of Political Studies, 2004.

Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1993.

Sovietology, Rationality, Nationality: Coming to Grips with Nationalism in the USSR. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Will the Non‑Russians Rebel? State, Ethnicity, and Stability in the USSR. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.

The Turn to the Right. The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919‑1929. Boulder: East European Monographs, 1980.

Edited Volumes


The Holodomor Reader. Edmonton, Canada: CIUS Press, forthcoming. With Bohdan Klid.

Russia’s Engagement with the West: Transformation and Integration in the Twenty-First Century. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 2004. With Blair Ruble and Lilia Shevtsova.

The Encyclopedia of Nationalism. 2 vols. San Diego: Academic Press, 2000.

Nations in Transit 2004. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2004. With Adrian Karatnycky and Amanda Schnetzer.


Nations in Transit 2003. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2003. With Adrian Karatnycky and Amanda Schnetzer.

Nations in Transit 2002. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2002. With Adrian Karatnycky and Amanda Schnetzer.

Nations in Transit 2001. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2001. With Adrian Karatnycky and Amanda Schnetzer.

Nations in Transit 2000. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2000. With Adrian Karatnycky  and Aili Piano.

Nations in Transit 1998. New Brunswick: Transaction, 1998. With Adrian Karatnycky and Charles Graybow.

Nations in Transit 1997. New Brunswick: Transaction, 1997. With Adrian Karatnycky and Boris Shor.

Thinking Theoretically about Soviet Nationalities: History and Comparison in the Study of the USSR. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

The Post‑Soviet Nations: Perspectives on the Demise of the USSR. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

“The Soviet Nationalities despite Gorbachev,” Special Issue of  Nationalities Papers, spring 1991. With Henry Huttenbach.

“The Soviet Nationalities against Gorbachev.” Special Issue of Nationalities Papers, spring 1990. With Henry Huttenbach.

“The Soviet Nationalities and Gorbachev.” Special Issue of Nationalities Papers, spring 1989. With Henry Huttenbach.

Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Diary: 1921‑1925. Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1983. With Hryhory Kostiuk.


Fiction Books

The Jew Who Was Ukrainian. Somerville, MA: Cervena Barva Press, 2011.

Flippancy. New York: Cantarabooks, 2009.

Who Killed Andrei Warhol. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks, 2007.

Whiskey Priest.  New York: iUniverse, 2005.

Articles and Chapters


“Fascistoid Russia: Putin’s Political System in Comparative Context,” in Susan Stewart, Margarete Klein, Andrea Schmitz, and Hans-Henning Schröder, eds., Presidents, Oligarchs and Bureaucrats: Forms of Rule in the Post-Soviet Space (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012), forthcoming.

“The Ukrainian Nationalist Movement and the Jews: Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism, Fascism, Rationality, Primordialism, and History,” POLIN: Studies in Polish Jewry, forthcoming.

“Tolerance and Minority Integration: On the Incoherence of International Norms,” Peter Sinnot, ed., Festschrift in Honor of Edward Allworth, forthcoming.

“Was Andy Warhol Ukrainian? An Investigation of Ethnic Identity and Cultural Context,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, forthcoming.

“Introduction: Understanding the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933,” The Holodomor Reader. (Edmonton, Canada: CIUS Press, forthcoming). With Bohdan Klid.

“Counterrevolution in Kiev: Hope Fades for Ukraine,” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011. With Rajan Menon.

“The Paradoxes of Paul Robert Magocsi: The Case for Rusyns and the Logical Necessity of Ukrainians,” Nationalities Papers, January 2011.

“Why Is the KGB Bar Possible? Binary Morality and Its Consequences,” Nationalities Papers, September 2010.

“The Social Construction of Social Construction,” Nationalities Papers, January 2010.

“Deleting the Holodomor: Ukraine Unmakes Itself,” World Affairs, September/October 2010.

“Ukrainian Blues: Yanukovych’s Rise, Democracy's  Fall,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2010.

“Can Ukraine Have a History?” Problems of Post-Communism, May/June 2010.

“Russia’s Systemic Transformations since Perestroika: From Totalitarianism to Authoritarianism to Democracy—to Fascism?” The Harriman Review, March 2010.

“The Key to Kiev: Ukraine’s Security Means Europe’s Stability,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2009. With Adrian Karatnycky.

Rosiya ta Ukraina na vahakh demokratii [Russia and Ukraine on the Scales of Democracy],” Krytyka, March-April 2009.

“Russland: Volk, Staat und Führer: Elemente eines faschistischen Systems, [Russia: People, State, and Leader: Elements of a Fascist System],” Osteuropa, January 2009.

“Looking at the Holodomor through the Lens of the Holocaust,” in Lubomyr Y. Luciuk, Holodomor: Reflections on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine (Kingston, Canada: Kashtan Press, 2008).

Warum ist die KGB Bar möglich? [Why Is the KGB Bar Possible?],” Transit, summer 2008.

“Three Years After: Theoretical Reflections on Ukraine’s Orange Revolution,” Harvard International Review, winter 2008.

“Is Putin’s Russia Fascist?” National Interest Online, December 3, 2007.

“Na osoblyvomu shlyakhu do fashyzmu [On the Road to Fascism],” Krytyka, November 2007.

“Post-Weimar Russia,” Internationale Politik, Fall 2007.

“Der eingebildete Starke,” Internationale Politik, March 2007.

“The Myth of Russian Resurgence,” The American Interest, March/April 2007. With Rajan Menon.

“Empire Falls,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2006.

“Is Everything Empire? Is Empire Everything? ” Comparative Politics, January 2006.

“Pomarancheva kryza v demokratychniy perspektyvi [The Orange Crisis in Democratic Perspective],” Krytyka, September 2005.

“Evrokryzova transformatsiya postsovyets’kykh tyahlostey [European Crisis and the Transformation of Post-Soviet Continuities],” Krytyka, July-August 2005.

“Chy vse ye imperiyeyu? Chy imperiya ye vsim? [Is Everything Empire? Is Empire Everything?],” Krytyka, April 2005.

“Institutional Legacies and Systemic Transformation in Eastern Europe: Ukraine, Russia, and the European Union,” Forum für osteuropäische Ideen- und Zeitgeschichte, no. 1, 2005.

“State Stability and Political Risk in Emerging Markets,” in Sam Wilkin, ed., Country and Political Risk (London: Risk Books, 2004). With Preston Keat.

“Russia’s Reintegration into the West: The Challenges Before Russia” and “Integrating Russia into the West: The Challenges Before the United States, Russia, and Europe,” in A. Motyl, Blair Ruble, and Lilia Shevtsova, eds., Russia’s Engagement with the West: Transformation and Integration in the Twenty-First Century (Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 2004). With Blair Ruble and Lilia Shevtsova.

“Communist Legacies and New Trajectories: Democracy and Dictatorship in the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe,” in Yitzhak Brudny, Jonathan Frankel, and Stefani Hoffman, eds., Restructuring Post-Communist Russia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

“Natsional’no-vyzvol’ni zmahannya natsionalizmu z liberalizmom [The National Liberation Struggles of Nationalism with Liberalism],” Krytyka, November 2003.

“Theorizing Ukraine: Pessimistic Prognoses, Optimistic Rejoinders, and a Provocation or Two,” in Wsevolod Isajiw, ed., Society in Transition: Social Change in Ukraine in Western Perspectives (Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2003).

 “Ukraine, Europe, and Russia: Exclusion or Dependence?” in Anatol Lieven and Dmitri Trenin, eds., Ambivalent Neighbors: The EU, NATO, and the Price of Membership (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003).

“Imagined Communities, Rational Choosers, Invented Ethnies,” Comparative Politics, January 2002.

“Reifying Boundaries, Fetishizing the Nation: Soviet Legacies and Elite Legitimacy in the Post‑Soviet States,” in Ian Lustick and Brendan O’Leary, eds., Rightsizing the State: The Politics of Moving Borders. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

“The Challenge of Russian Reform at a Time of Uncertainty,” in The Russia Initiative: Reports of the Four Task Forces (New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2000). With Thomas Graham and Blair Ruble.

“Ten Years after the Soviet Collapse: The Persistence of the Past and Prospects for the Future,” in Adrian Karatnycky, Alexander J. Motyl, and Amanda Schnetzer, eds., Nations in Transit 2001 (New Brunswick: Transaction, 2001).

“Liberalism, Nationalism, and National Liberation Struggles,” Hagar: International Social Science Review (Israel), 2001.

“Inventing Invention: The Limits of National Identity Formation,” in Ronald Grigor Suny and Michael D. Kennedy, eds., Intellectuals and the Articulation of the Nation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999.

“Why Empires Reemerge: Imperial Collapse and Imperial Revival in Comparative Perspective,” Comparative Politics, January 1999.

“State, Nation, and Elites in Independent Ukraine,” in Taras Kuzio, ed., Contemporary Ukraine: Dynamics of Post‑Soviet Transformation. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 1998.

“After Empire: Competing Discourses and Inter‑State Conflict in Post‑Imperial Eastern Europe,” in Barnett Rubin and Jack Snyder, eds., Post‑Soviet Political Order. London: Routledge, 1998.

“Making Sense of Ukraine,” The Harriman Review, winter 1998.

“Structural Constraints and Stating Points: The Logic of Systemic Change in Ukraine and Russia,” Comparative Politics, July 1997.

“Institutional Legacies and Reform Trajectories,” in Adrian Karatnycky et al, eds., Nations in Transit 1997. New Brunswick: Transaction: 1997.

“Thinking about Empire,” in Karen Barkey and Mark von Hagen, eds., After Empire: Multiethnic Societies and Nation‑Building. Boulder: Westview, 1997.

“The Non‑Russian States: Soviet Legacies and Post‑Soviet Transformations,” in Roger Kaplan, ed., Freedom in the World. New York: Freedom House, 1997.

“Ukraine: From Empire to Statehood” (with Bohdan Krawchenko), in Ian Bremmer and Ray Taras, eds., Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, 2nd ed.

“Ukraine,” Collier’s Encyclopedia.

“Russia: Soviet Remnants,” in Roger Kaplan, ed., Freedom in the World. New York: Freedom House, 1996.

“Russia, Ukraine, and the West: What Are America's Interests?” American Foreign Policy Interests, February 1996.

“The Conceptual President: Leonid Kravchuk and the Politics of Surrealism,” in Timothy Colton and Robert Tucker, eds., Patterns in Post‑Soviet Leadership. Boulder: Westview, 1995.

“Zurück zum Kalten Krieg? Russland und die Zukunft Europas,” in Urs Altermatt and Emil Brix, eds., Schweiz und Österreich. Vienna: Böhlau, 1995.

“Reform, Transition, or Revolution? The Limits to Change in the Post‑Communist States,” Contention, fall 1994.

“Negating the Negation: Russia, Not‑Russia, and the West,” Nationalities Papers, spring 1994.

“Vladimir Zhirinovsky: A Man of His Times,” The Harriman Review, spring 1994.

“Russian Security, Neoimperialism, and the West,” Atlantisch Perspectief, no. 2, 1994.

“The Labyrinth of Social Theory,” Obshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost', no. 1, 1994.

“Will Ukraine Survive 1994?” The Harriman Institute Forum, January 1994.

“Imperial Collapse and Revolutionary Change: Austria‑Hungary, Tsarist Russia, and the Soviet Empire,” in Jürgen Nautz, ed., Die Wiener Jahrhundertwende. Vienna: Böhlau, 1993.

“The Dilemmas of Sovietology and the Labyrinth of Theory,” in Frederic Fleron and Erik Hoffmann, eds., Post‑Communist Studies and Political Science. Boulder: Westview, 1993. 

“Nach der Sintflut: Totalitarismus und Nationalismus im ehemaligen Sowjetreich,” Österreichische Osthefte, no. 2, 1993.

“The End of Sovietology: From Soviet Studies to Post‑Soviet Studies,” in Alexander J. Motyl, ed., The Post‑Soviet Nations. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

“Concepts and Skocpol: Ambiguity and Vagueness in the Study of  Revolution,” Journal of Theoretical Politics, January 1992.

“The Modernity of Nationalism: Nations, States, and Nation‑States in the Contemporary World,” Journal of International Affairs, winter 1992.

“Building Bridges and Changing Landmarks: Theory and Concepts in the Study of Soviet Nationalities,” in Alexander J. Motyl, ed., Thinking Theoretically about Soviet Nationalities. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

“Dmytro Dontsov,” Politolohichni chytannia, no. 1, 1992.

“Russian Hegemony and Non‑Russian Insecurity: Foreign Policy Dilemmas of the USSR's Successor States,” The Harriman Institute Forum, December 1991.

“Empire or Stability? The Case for Soviet Dissolution,” World Policy Journal, summer 1991.

“Totalitarian Collapse, Imperial Disintegration, and the Rise of the Soviet West,” in Michael Mandelbaum, ed., The Rise of Nations in the Soviet Union. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1991.

“From Imperial Decay to Imperial Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Empire in Comparative Perspective,” in Richard Rudolph and David Good, eds., Nationalism and Empire: The Habsburg Monarchy and the Soviet Union. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.

“Helping Gorbachev or Helping the Republics? The Unreformable Soviet Federation and the West,” in Allan Kagedan, ed., Ethnicity and the Soviet Future. Ottawa: The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, 1991.

“Rights, Rituals, and Soviet‑American Relations,” in Robert Jervis and Seweryn Bialer, eds., Soviet‑American Relations after the Cold War. Durham: Duke University Press, 1991.

“Reassessing the Soviet Crisis: Big Problems, Muddling Through, Business as Usual,” Political Science Quarterly, summer 1989.

“Policing Perestroika: The Indispensable KGB,” The Harriman Institute Forum, August 1989.

“`Sovietology in One Country' or Comparative Nationality Studies?” Slavic Review, spring 1989.

“The Sobering of Gorbachev: Nationality, Restructuring, and the West,” in Seweryn Bialer, ed., Politics, Society, and Nationality inside Gorbachev's Russia. Boulder: Westview Press, 1989.

“Viacheslav Lypyns'kyi and the Politics of Ukrainian Monarchism,” Canadian Slavonic Papers, March 1985.

“Ukrainian Nationalist Political Violence in Inter‑War Poland,” East European Quarterly, March 1985.

“Poland and the USSR: Troubles in the Workers' Paradise,” Great Decisions, Foreign Policy Association, 1982.

“The Foreign Relations of the Ukrainian SSR,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, March 1982.

“Poland,” “Czechoslovakia,” in Adrian Karatnycky et al., Workers' Rights, East and West. New Brunswick: Transaction, 1980.

“Roy Medvedev: Dissident or Conformist?” Survey, summer 1980.

“The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Galician Working Class,” Suchasnist, February 1980.

“The Rural Origins of the Communist and Nationalist Movements in Wołyn Województwo,” Slavic Review, September 1978.

Associated Programs

Non-Resident Senior Fellow, The Atlantic Council, 2009-present.

International Advisor, Ph.D. Program in Media Studies, National University-Kyiv Mohyla          Academy, Kyiv, 2009-present.

Faculty Associate and Program Director, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights,  Rutgers University-Newark, 2007-present.

Member, Ukrainian Studies Advisory Board, The Harriman Institute, 1999-present.

Member, International Advisory Board, Association for the Study of Nationalities, 1998-present.

Senior Academic Advisor, Freedom House, 1995‑present.

Member, Advisory Board, The Orange Circle, 2005-2007.

Senior Academic Advisor, Eurasia Group, 2001-2006.

Consultant, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1994‑1999.

Consultant, Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1999.

Member, Program Committee, International Research & Exchanges Board, 1995‑1998.

            Member, Board of  Directors, American Friends of the Centre  for European Security Studies,

                        University of Groningen, 1995‑1998.

Consultant, Social Science Research Council, 1997.

Consultant, U.S. Institute of Peace, 1997.

Vice‑President, Association for the Study of Nationalities, 1994‑1998. 

            Member, Advisory Board, East European, Russian, and Eurasian National Resource Center,     Columbia University,             1990‑1998.

Consultant, RFE‑RL, Inc., 1989‑90, 1995, 2003-04.