I am a Ph.D. Candidate at the Fletcher School and a Senior Ph.D. Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies at Tufts University. My research focuses on civil-military relations, intrastate conflict, democratic governance, and international security with a regional interest in Russia, Ukraine, and Israel.
I rely on a quantitative and qualitative methodology. Being proficient in Russian, Ukrainian, Hebrew, and English allows me to collect data through fieldwork, archival research, and the analysis of original sources. My work was published or is forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies, Perspectives on Terrorism, War on the Rocks, and the World Peace Foundation.
I was selected as a 2019 - 2020 US Institute of Peace - Minerva Peace Scholar Fellow and World Politics and Statecraft Fellow at Smith Richardson Foundation. My research is also supported by the World Peace Foundation and Bradley Foundation.
Before coming to Fletcher, I studied Diplomacy, Conflict Resolution, and Counterterrorism at IDC Herzliya (Israel). I also worked as a professional educator in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Tel Aviv, Israel.
In my free time, I enjoy birdwatching, hiking, practicing yoga and Krav Maga.
Dissertation and Book Project
Don’t Blame the Generals: How Governmental Policies Weaken Civilian Control
My current book project investigates the problems of civilian control and security policymaking under conditions of intra-state conflict. It explores how governmental policies about domestic use of the military affect democratic civilian control of the military. I argue that governmental policies prescribing the use of the armed forces in domestic political disputes create favorable conditions for the erosion of democratic civilian control and contribute to the overall weakening of democratic norms.
I use my proficiency in Russian, Ukrainian, Hebrew, and English to compare Russia in the First Chechen War, Ukraine at the beginning of the war in Donbas, the United Kingdom in the Northern Ireland conflict, and Israel during the First Intifada. I gathered evidence through two rounds of fieldwork in Russia and Ukraine, interviews with Israeli military elites, and the analysis of archival records and secondary sources.
Challenging the conventional wisdom, this study shows that elected officials’ policies rather than the military’s political ambitions lead to the weakening of civilian control. This book project helps place the literature on intrastate conflict and civil-military relations within the context of democratic backsliding. It spotlights the role of the elected officials in the erosion of one of the essential requirements of democratic governance — civilian control of the military.
Erosion of Civilian Control in Democracies: A Comprehensive Framework for Comparative Analysis, Comparative Political Studies, Forthcoming (2021)
Say Terrorist, Think Insurgent: Labeling and Analyzing Contemporary Terrorist Actors,
Perspectives on Terrorism 8, no. 5 (2014), with Assaf Moghadam and Ronit Berger
Erosion by Deference: Civilian Control and Generals in Policymaking
Research in Progress
Armed Conflict and Electoral Volatility in post-Soviet Democratizing States
Leading or Following: the Role of the Military in Democratic Backsliding
Analytical Reports and Commentary
COVID-19 and the Limits of Putin’s Power, War On the Rocks
How Does the Kremlin Kick When It’s Down?, War On the Rocks
Corruption in the Russian Defense Sector, w/ Sam Perlo-Freeman, World Peace Foundation
How U.S. Security Assistance Helped Kyiv Strengthen Civilian Control, Center for Strategic Studies
Fieldwork in Moscow: Practical Tips, Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program