Harriman Institute postdoctoral research scholars


  • Markian Dobczansky

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

    Markian Dobczansky is a historian of the Soviet Union and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University. His specializations include Russian-Ukrainian relations, nationalism, the politics of culture, and urban history. He is currently working on a book about the intersection of Soviet, Ukrainian, and local factors in the construction of local identity in Kharkiv during the twentieth century. Dr. Dobczansky received a Ph.D. from Stanford University, where he studied Soviet, Russian, and East European history. He was the recipient of a Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Contemporary History at The George Washington University and was most recently the Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. He received a B.A. in European History and German Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.





  • Yana Gorokhovskaia

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Russian Politics
    Columbia University

    Yana Gorokhovskaia completed her Ph.D. in political science at the University of British Columbia in August 2016. Her research, which is focused on Russia and employs both qualitative and quantitative methods, contributes to scholarship on authoritarian endurance and democratic backsliding. Her dissertationElections, Political Participation, and Authoritarian Responsiveness in Russiaexplores 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 researchTesting for sources of electoral competition under authoritarianism: an analysis of Russia's gubernatorial elections (Post-Soviet Affairs, 2016), 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 Harriman, Yana is pursuing two main projects. The first continues her focus on elections in Russia. Expanding on findings from recent research linking electoral clientelism and the mobilization of vulnerable voters - especially state-employees, agriculture workers and ethnic minorities - 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 substantial employer (known as monogrorods). Although the literature on clientelism suggests that such municipalities would be prime targets for workplace mobilization - the towns are geographically isolated, workers have few alternative employment opportunities, and monitoring of voting behavior is relatively easy - the analysis shows that monogorods in fact have systematically lower voter turnout. 

    The second project is a book manuscript examining political learning among opposition politicians. During fieldwork for her dissertation research, Yana interviewed deputies elected in March of 2012 to Moscow's district councils. Most were ordinary people with no history of political participation who found their way into politics after signing up to be election monitors in the wake of anti-electoral fraud protests of 2011-2012. During their training, they were recruited to participate in municipal elections and helped along in the process by various civil society organizations. Contrary to the widely held academic wisdom that Russians use informal practices to deal with malfunctioning or corrupt institutions, the strategies developed by these individuals in order to cope with authoritarian practices once in office are highly legalistic and rule-based. In October of 2017, with funding from Harriman's PepsiCo Fellowship, Yana will return to Moscow in order to conduct a second round of interviews with municipal deputies who have now completed their first five-year term in office.   

    Other publications

    Yana also regularly writes on issues of Russian domestic politics. Her work on protest in Russia has appeared in EurasiaNet.orgIPI Global Observatory, and Harriman's podcast Expert Opinions. An article on Russia's 2018 presidential election is forthcoming in Harriman Magazine. Yana's 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.

  • Douglas Joseph MacKay

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Joseph MacKay completed his Ph.D. in Political Science, specializing on international relations and political theory, at the University of Toronto, in July 2015. His postdoctoral research will focus on the role of legitimacy in inter-imperial relations, during periods of imperial expansion. The project develops a typology of ways in which empires claim legitimate rule over their peripheries, defining empires as either universalist, asserting a unique right to rule; competitive, asserting membership in an elite club of imperial powers; or mimetic, making no such systematic claims, and instead mirroring the authority claims of others. Since empires will lose legitimacy if their actions are inconsistent with these claims, such claims made before subordinates likely constrain imperial policymaking. Consequently, interactions between imperial cores will likely be shaped by imperial commitments at the periphery. The project explores these ideas in the context of imperial expansion into Central Asia, with a focus on the British, Russian, and Chinese empires, interacting with one another and with the region’s indigenous power structures. Previously, MacKay’s doctoral research, entitled “Experimental Wars: Learning and Complexity in Counterinsurgency,” concerned individual-level foreign policy learning processes, in the context of complex policy problems, with a focus on counterinsurgent warfare. His research has appeared or is forthcoming in the Review of International Studies, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Central Asian Survey, and Social Science History, and with co-authors in the Journal of International Relations and Development, International Studies Review, Terrorism and Political Violence, International Peacekeeping, International Politics, and International Theory.

  • 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.