Harriman Institute postdoctoral research scholars


  • Markian Dobczansky

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Ukrainian Studies
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Markian Dobczansky is a historian specializing in Soviet urban history, the politics of culture, and Russian-Ukrainian relations. He received a Ph.D. in Soviet history from Stanford University in September 2016.
    His book manuscript "Between Moscow and Kyiv: The Politics of Culture in Twentieth Century Kharkiv" examines local identity in Kharkiv, the largest metropolis of the Ukrainian-Russian cultural borderland, from 1917 to the 1990s. Utilizing archival materials from eight archives in Ukraine and Russia, memoirs, newspapers, and interviews, the book argues that the Soviet experience shaped a distinctive local identity that blended Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, and Soviet elements.
    At the Harriman Institute, Dr. Dobczansky will revise his monograph for publication. He will also conduct additional research at Columbia University's Bakhmeteff Archive and Butler library, as well as at other archives in the New York City area. In spring 2018, he will teach a course titled "Eurasian Urbanisms: From the Imperial to the Post-Soviet."
    Prior to coming to Columbia, he has held fellowships at The George Washington University and at the University of Toronto, where he was the Petro Jacyk Post-Doctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Politics, Culture, and Society.





  • Yana Gorokhovskaia

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Russian Politics
    Columbia University

    Yana Gorokhovskaia received her PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia in November 2016. Her research examines elections and patterns of protest in Russia and contributes to scholarship on authoritarian endurance and democratic backsliding. 

    Her dissertation, Elections, Political Participation, and Authoritarian Responsiveness in Russia, explores how authoritarian power structures are maintained and resisted by analyzing subnational elections, public mobilization, and political engagement in Russia. In an article based on her dissertation research, Testing for sources of electoral competition under authoritarianism: an analysis of Russia's gubernatorial elections (Post-Soviet Affairs, 2017), Yana uses an original dataset of protests to determine whether voter preferences or regime manipulation drive variation in vote shares during three rounds of gubernatorial elections in Russia's regions. The analysis shows that elites are sensitive to voter preferences especially in the form of public demand making: "noisier" regions with a history of protest have more competitive elections. 

    Current research

    At the Harriman Institute, Yana is pursuing two projects related to elections in Russia: the first is focused on ways elections can be manipulated by the regime, and the second examines local elections as sites of genuine political contestation.

    Mobilizing voters

    Expanding on findings from recent research linking electoral clientelism and the mobilization of vulnerable voters, in a working paper, Yana uses rayon-level voter turnout data from the 2012 presidential election to examine whether turnout is systematically different in Russian cities with a single employer (known as monogrorods). Although the literature on clientelism suggests that such municipalities would be prime targets for workplace mobilization, the analysis shows that monogorods in fact have systematically lower voter turnout. 

    Local democracy

    How and why do ordinary people enter organized politics in an authoritarian state? How do they manage to win elections held on an uneven playing field?

    Using interview data collected as part of her dissertation fieldwork, Yana examines the path into politics and the electoral strategies of independent and opposition deputies who participated in Moscow’s 2012 municipal election. In a working paper, “If you’re afraid, don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be afraid: Exercising voice in Russia”, she argues that most were ordinary people with no history of political participation who found their way into politics after signing up to become election monitors in the wake of anti-electoral fraud protests of 2011-2012. During their training, they were recruited to participate in the municipal election and helped along in the process by training and legal support provided through several civil society initiatives.

    Yana returned to Moscow in October of 2017, supported by Harriman’s PepsiCo Fellowship, to conduct a second round of interviews with deputies. In a working paper prepared for the 2017 ASEEES annual convention – “What it takes to win” - she contrasts the 2012 and 2017 municipal elections in order to analyze the development of new campaign strategies and technologies employed by the opposition. 

    Other publications

    Yana also regularly writes on issues of Russian domestic politics. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, EurasiaNet.orgIPI Global Observatory, and the Harriman Magazine. She's been a guest on Expert Opinions podcast and an article on the causes and consequences of Democratic Consolidation appears in the Oxford Bibliography of Political Science.


  • Edward Lemon

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Edward submitted his Ph.D. dissertation, “Governing Religion and Security in Tajikistan and Beyond,” at the University of Exeter in July 2016. His dissertation examines the ways in which the government of Tajikistan’s campaign against Islamic extremism has become transnational. Since 2002, the government of Tajikistan has deployed its security apparatus outside of the state’s territorial borders at least 49 times, intimidating, kidnapping and monitoring its citizens. He uses the term “transnational authoritarian security governance” to refer to these border-spanning security practices. In his dissertation, he traces the emergence of this form of governance during the Soviet Union, the power relationships that it involves, and the ways in which those who are affected by it can resist.

    As a fellow at the Harriman Institute, Lemon will revise his dissertation for publication as a monograph. As well as conducting further fieldwork, he plans to expand the scope of his study to include cases involving Uzbekistan.  In addition, he will continue ongoing research projects on Central Asian fighters in Iraq and Syria, resistance to security governance, and the relationship between authoritarianism and security.

    Edward has spent almost three years living and working in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. His research has appeared or is forthcoming in Central Asian Affairs, Review of Middle East Studies, Foreign Affairs, Central Asian Survey, First World War Studies, Central Asian Survey and The RUSI Journal. Lemon wrote the Tajikistan chapter for Freedom House’s “Nations in Transit” report in 2015.

  • Martin Marinos

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Martin Marinos completed his Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh in August 2016. His research areas of specialization include transnational media history, political economy of media, socialist mass communication, media production studies and media populism.

    Drawing on a multi-method approach that engages with archival sources and oral interviews with journalists, media managers, and politicians, his dissertation, and now book project, Free to Hate: The Liberalization of Socialist Mass Media in post-1989 Bulgaria, examines how the liberalization of Eastern European socialist media facilitated the growth of far-right political movements. The first part of Free to Hate is a media history that describes how mass communication and especially the new medium of television intervened in the cultural and political changes that accompanied post-Stalinist socialism. The second part of his manuscript examines the transformations that brought in the global corporate media monopolies after the changes of 1989. He argues that one of the most detrimental outcomes of this degenerated media field is the proliferation of racist rhetoric against the Roma and Muslim minorities and more recently against the Syrian refugees trying to enter “Fortress Europe” through the Balkan route. Thus, the goal of the project is twofold: to problematize the almost complete omission of the legacy of socialist media within mainstream Anglo-American media histories and to explain the affinity between right-wing populism, a phenomenon ubiquitous beyond the border of the former “Iron Curtain,” and global media.

    His work has appeared in Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European Media, Communication, Capitalism and Critique, Global Media Journal, Social History, Radical Philosophy, Advances in the History of Rhetoric and other publications. In the past ten years he has taught a wide variety of courses including “Global Media,” “Introduction to Global Studies,” “Social Media,” “Introduction to Communication,” “International Communication,” “Public Speaking,” “Public Relations.” During his postdoctoral fellowship at the Harriman Institute he will teach “Global Media” at the School of International and Public Affairs.

  • Maria Ratanova

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Maria Ratanova completed her Ph.D. in Slavic Literature at Harvard University in May 2016. She specializes in the history of the Russian avant-garde.
    Her dissertation is titled “The Soviet Political Photomontage of the 1920s: The Case of Gustav Klucis.” In this project she explores the origins of this particular trend of the Soviet Constructivism, its modernist message and political underpinnings, as well as its complex interrelationships with avant-garde tendencies in poetry, theater, and film in the 1920s.
    She argues that Soviet political photomontage, often perceived as an aesthetic compromise to meet the needs of a mass audience, was in fact an iconoclastic and provocative genre—the result of the Constructivists’ search for an analytical art form to interpret modern political reality. She believes that Soviet political photomontage, born around the time of Lenin’s death in 1924, was a response both to the tyranny of the emerging Lenin cult and the grip of the realist painting tradition employed by artists in the 1920s and 1930s to support and promote the cult of the communist leader. She focuses in particular on the work of Gustav Klucis, a Latvian artist, who became a pioneer of Soviet political photomontage. As a postdoctoral scholar at the Harriman Institute, Maria Ratanova will expand her research into the 1930s, and turn her dissertation into a monograph.
    During her time at Harvard Ratanova taught courses on art and politics in Russia and Eastern Europe, the 20th-century post-realist novel in Eastern Europe, and the Western art tradition since the Renaissance.
    Maria Ratanova is also a dance critic and historian. Her research has appeared in the anthologies: Modernism in Kyiv: Jubilant Experimentation (Toronto, 2010), Avant-Garde and Theater of the 1910s-1920s (Avangard i teatr 1910-1920kh godov, Moscow, 2008), Russian Arts and Culture Abroad: 1917-1939 (Khudozhestvennaya kul’tura russkogo zarubezhia: 1917-1939, Moscow, 2008), as well as other publications.