Marlene Laruelle headshot

The Illiberalism Studies Program is led by Marlene Laruelle, Research Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, and Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES). Trained in political philosophy, she explores how nationalism and illiberal values are becoming mainstream in different cultural contexts. She focuses on Russia’s ideological landscape at home and its outreach abroad. Her latest research project is devoted to illiberalism as a new grassroots political culture in Europe, and its transnational links to both the US and Russia. She has also been working on regional and nationhood issues in Central Asia, as well as on Russia’s Arctic policy. Prof. Laruelle has published widely with Cornell, Oxford, Pittsburgh, and Johns Hopkins University Presses; Routledge, and Palgrave/McMillan, among others. She teaches courses on “Nationalisms in Eurasia,” “Populism and Illiberalism,” and “The Rise of the Far Right,” and leads the new Graduate Specialization in Democracy Studies for the MA in International Affairs.

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John_Chrobak profile

John Chrobak is a Research Program Coordinator for the Illiberalism Studies Program. He has an MA in International Affairs from GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs with a specialization in U.S. Foreign Policy and Eurasian Politics. His work has focused particularly on regional politics and security in Eurasia as well as the use of social media to manipulate and spread information for political influence. More recently, his work has focused on democracy resilience. He has previously worked at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab (DFRLab). He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from McGill University.

Sang Kyung Lee is a Postdoctoral Associate at IERES in the Illiberalism Studies Program. Prior to joining GW, he received a Ph.D. (Sociology) from Cornell, an M.Sc. (Political Sociology) from LSE, and a B.A. (Sociology) from Yonsei University.

His research is primarily concerned with the social origins and consequences of economic and political crises. His recent projects explore the causal mechanisms underlying varying popular responses to sovereign debt crises and recession and the implications of the unprecedented surge of populism over the past few decades for the quality and stability of democratic governance in the long run.

Takis Pappas 2

Takis S Pappas (PhD, Yale) is a Visiting Scholar at the Illiberalism Studies Program. He is a political scientist known for his original work on populism and liberalism. A former professor of comparative politics in Greece, he also serves as recurrent visiting professor at the universities of Helsinki, Finland, and the Central European University in Vienna, as well as a researcher with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). Takis has authored dozens of academic articles and six books with most recent Populism and Liberal Democracy: A Comparative and Theoretical Analysis (Oxford University Press, 2019). Among his other works are several policy briefs, a TED-Ed video on populisminfographics, and comics that popularize the topics he does academic research on. He is currently working on a new book project under the tentative title “The New Illiberal Disorder.” Takis is a regular columnist in major Greek newspaper Kathimerini and maintains the blog He lives in Brussels, Belgium, and Athens, Greece.

Perine Schir headshot

Périne Schir is a full-time Research Fellow at the Illiberalism Studies Program and the Transnational History of the Far Right Project. She is a PhD student in political philosophy and an adjunct professor of International Relations at Rouen University. She holds an MA in Sociology and Philosophy from Rouen University. Her PhD research focuses on political movements that position themselves between the right and the far-right, and the ideological current on which they are built.

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Gulnaz Sibgatullina (Ph.D., Leiden University) is an IERES Visiting Scholar at George Washington University and a postdoctoral fellow at the School for Regional, Transnational, and European Studies, the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests include the past and present of Islam in Europe, sociology of religion and religious language, and postcolonial (translation) studies. Her current project focuses on the relationship between illiberalism and Islam.


Jean Yves Camus

Jean-Yves Camus is Associate Researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) in Paris and Director of the Observatory of Political Radicalism at Foundation Jean Jaures. He is also sits on the Scientific Board of the Délégation interministérielle pour la lutte contre le racisme, l’antisémtisme et la lutte contre l’homophobie (DILCRAH). Prior to this, he was research director at the European Center for Research on Racism and Anti-Semitism (CERA) in Paris. He was a member of the Île de France Equality Council, an official committee advising the municipality of Paris on anti-discrimination matters He is the author of seven books in French about the Front National and the rise of religious and political extremism, including Le Front national, histoire et analyse (Éditions Olivier Laurens, 1996), Le Front national (Éditions Milan), and Extrémismes en France : faut-il en avoir peur ? (Éditions Milan, 2006). He edited Les Extrémismes en Europe (La Tour d’Aigues, éditions de l’Aube, 1998). He has also published scholarly articles and opinion pieces on the Front National, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism in France in French, German, and Spanish. With Nicolas Lebourg, he recently co-authored The Extreme Rights in Europe (Harvard University Press, 2017).

Lucas Dolan

Lucas Dolan is a PhD Candidate at American University’s School of International Service and Associate for the Illiberalism Studies Program. Bridging International Relations and Comparative Politics, his dissertation examines the role of transnational social networks in the spread, mobilization, and success of the far right in Europe and the United States. Dolan is also conducting research on the emerging role of competition between democratic and authoritarian blocs as an ordering principle of the international system.

Eszter Kováts

Eszter Kováts (PhD in political science, University ELTE, Budapest, Hungary) is a non-resident associate fellow at the Illiberalism Studies Program, affiliated with the Culture Wars in Europe and Eurasia project. Her research interests include far right and gender, anti-gender and anti-LGBT politics in Europe, political controversies around the term ’gender’, East-West inequalities in Europe and the crisis of care work. Between 2009 and 2019 she worked at the Budapest Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the political foundation close to the German social democratic party (SPD), between 2012 and 2019 she was responsible for the foundation’s East-Central European gender program.

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Steven Livingston

Steven Livingston is a Resident Senior Fellow at the Illiberalism Studies Program. He is also the Founding Director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics (IDDP) and Professor of Media and Public Affairs. He also hold an appointment in the Elliott School of International Affairs.  In 2019, he led GW’s successful bid for a $5 million grant to found IDDP.  In 2021, Livingston is a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Helsinki in Finland where he holds a new special award of the Finish Fulbright Foundation called Seeking Solutions for Global Challenges.  Over his 30-year career at GW, Livingston has served as the director of the Political Communication Program when it was a degree-granting entity within SMPA (1996 – 2002, 2004 – 2006). In 2004, he served as director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, a position held until August 2006. He also founded the Public Diplomacy Institute (PDI) at GW in 2000 and served as the chairman of the Board of Directors until 2008. PDI is now the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.

David Mainor

David Mainor is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Illiberalism Studies Program whose current research efforts focus on state- and non-state actors’ use of political violence, propaganda, and disinformation as a means to achieve strategic objectives and exert influence. David is also a Principal Intelligence Analyst within Mandiant’s Information Operations Analysis Unit where he specializes in open-source collection and analysis pertaining to suspected disinformation campaigns.

Jason Roberts headshot

Jason Roberts is an assistant professor of instruction at the University of Texas at Austin in Religious Studies and in Slavic and Eurasian Studies. His research focuses on religious culture, medieval and Early Modern intellectual history of Christian theology, and Christofascism and Integral Traditionalism. His work on illiberal religion has been published in the Journal of Illiberalism Studies.

Maria Snegovaya headshot

Maria Snegovaya (Ph.D., Columbia University) is an IERES Visiting Scholar at George Washington University, a PPE postdoctoral scholar at Virginia Tech and a Fellow at Center for European Policy Analysis. She is a comparative politics, international relations, and statistical methods specialist. Her research interests include party politics, political behavior, political economy and political sociology. The key focus of her research is democratic backsliding in Eastern Europe, as well as Russia’s domestic and foreign policy. Her research results and analysis have appeared in policy and peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Democracy, Democratization, Post-Soviet Affairs and the Washington Post‘s political science blog the Monkey Cage. Her research has been referenced in publications such as the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Economist, and Foreign Policy.

Waller headshot

Julian G. Waller (Ph.D, George Washington University) is a Professorial Lecturer in Political Science at George Washington University, a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, and an Associate Research Analyst in the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses. His research focuses on political institutions in authoritarian regimes, non-democratic regimes in historical perspective, post-Soviet politics, and illiberal politics in Western democracies. His work has been published in Problems of Post-CommunismAmerican Affairs, the Journal of Illiberalism StudiesSocial Media + Society, and the International Journal of Constitutional Law, among others. 

A list of publications can be found here: