Michael McFaul

Former Senior Associate
In addition to his role at Carnegie, McFaul is Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and associate professor of political science at Stanford University.


B.A., M.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., Oxford University




This person is no longer with the Carnegie Endowment.

In addition to his role at Carnegie, Michael A. McFaul is Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and associate professor of political science at Stanford University.  Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1995, he worked for two years as a senior associate in residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center.  McFaul is also research associate at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, both at Stanford, and senior advisor to the National Democratic Institute.

He serves on the board of directors of the Eurasia Foundation, Firebird Fund, International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy, Institute of Social and Political Studies, Center for Civil Society International, and Institute for Corporate Governance and Law; the steering committee for the Europe and Eurasia division of Human Rights Watch, and the editorial boards of Current History, Journal of Democracy, Demokratizatsiya, and Perspectives on European Politics and Society.  He has served as a consultant for numerous companies and government agencies.

McFaul's current research interests include regime change in non-democratic states, U.S. foreign policy, and U.S.-Russian relations in the 1990s.

Selected Publications: Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin (Cornell, 2001); Russia’s 1996 Presidential Election: The End of Polarized Politics,(Hoover Institution Press, 1997); Privatization, Conversion and Enterprise Reform in Russia, with Tova Perlmutter (Westview Press, 1994)

  • Michael McFaul
    Testimony Testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs September 22, 2008
    U.S.-Russia Relations in the Aftermath of the Georgia Crisis

    In the wake of the Russia-Georgia conflict, the United States should pursue a comprehensive 12 step strategy towards its relations with Russia. Although this strategy would focus on protecting American national interests, it does not exclude directly speaking with the Russians. Consequently, it stresses that cooperation on certain issues and successful diplomacy are essential for the two nations.

  • Michael McFaul
    Op-Ed Salon August 13, 2008
    Chaos in the Caucasus

    Although a ceasefire has been called by Russia and Georgia, the crisis is far from over. The U.S. could have prevented the conflict had it proactively sought out a solution for Abkhazia and South Ossetia months or years before. In addition, the U.S. should have strengthened its diplomatic relationship with Russia rather than allowing it to deteriorate.

  • McFaul
    Op-Ed February 4, 2008
    Russia: More Stick, Less Carrot

    Last summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian strategic flights would permanently resume with the mission of protecting Russia. Protect it from whom? Although Putin has never identified the enemy that sparked the resumption of these flights after a fifteen-year hiatus, implicitly the antagonist is the only other country with a similar air capability—the United States.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs January 1, 2008
    The Myth of the Authoritarian Model: How Putin's Crackdown Holds Russia Back

    Under post-Soviet Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, the state did not govern, the economy shrank, and the population suffered. Since 2000, under Putin, order has returned, the economy has flourished, and the average Russian is living better than ever before. Putin may have rolled back democratic gains, the story goes, but these were necessary sacrifices on the altar of stability and growth.

  • Op-Ed The Washington Post December 29, 2007
    The Right Way to Engage Iran

    The National Intelligence Estimate released this month offers an opportunity to escape this straitjacketed debate by embracing a new strategy that would pursue both the short-term goal of arms control and the long-term goal of democracy in Iran.

  • McFaul
    Op-Ed Slate December 26, 2007
    Putin? Really?

    Michael McFaul, senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment's Russia and Eurasia Program, takes on the argument that Vladimir Putin's strong hand has been responsible for Russia's economic resurgence. Noting that "the positive change that has occurred between the 1990s and the last several years has little if anything to do with Putin," Dr. McFaul argues that the Putin administration's concentration of state power has actually impeded economic growth, not encouraged it. 

  • McFaul
    Op-Ed San Francisco Chronicle December 26, 2007
    Time names Putin 'Person of the Year' / But has he really saved Russia?

    Time Magazine named Russian President Vladimir Putin its "Person of the Year" last week. In announcing the magazine's choice for special recognition this year, Time's managing editor, Richard Stengel writes, "if Russia succeeds as a nation-state in the family of nations, it will owe much of that success to one man, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin." Stengel is merely joining the chorus of voices in an increasingly conventional narrative praising Putin for Russia's apparent revival where it isn't clear at all that any praise is actually due him.

  • McFaul
    Op-Ed The Moscow Times December 13, 2007
    Small Democratic Step

    For the last eight years of Vladimir Putin's presidency, friends of mine who either worked for or were simply sympathetic to the Kremlin have argued at various times that Russia was a "managed" democracy, a "sovereign" democracy or an autocracy like China on the long road to democracy via the autocratic-modernizer path. Western observers of Russian internal developments, including the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have echoed this third argument, emphasizing that Russia's transition from communism to democracy would be a long one but that it is nonetheless under way.

  • McFaul
    Op-Ed International Herald Tribune December 13, 2007
    The Myth of Putin's Success

    Carnegie Senior Associate Michael McFaul takes on the conventional wisdom that Vladimir Putin's tight-fisted rule has been behind the economic growth and stability over the past seven years. "The emergence of Russian democracy in the 1990s did indeed coincide with state breakdown and economic decline, but it did not cause either," McFaul writes.

  • McFaul
    Op-Ed Wall Street Journal December 4, 2007
    Putin's Plan

    During the campaign, United Russia released a document called "Putin's Plan" that became the party's main message. Although Mr. Putin's actual plan for the future remains a mystery, his plan for the parliamentary election has been carried out.

  • Washington March 1, 2006
    Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough

    The dramatic series of protests and political events that unfolded in Ukraine in the fall of 2004—the “Orange Revolution”—were seminal both for Ukrainian history and the history of democratization. Revolution in Orange seeks to explain why and how this nationwide protest movement occurred.

  • Washington March 15, 2004 Washington, D.C.
    Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Post-Communist Political Reform

    For hundreds of years, dictators have ruled Russia. Do they still? Did the processes unleashed by Gorbachev and continued under Russian President Boris Yeltsin lead eventually to liberal democracy in Russia?

  • Popular Choice and Managed Democracy
    Brookings Institution Press, 2003 September 3, 2003
    Popular Choice and Managed Democracy

    Demonstrates key trends in an extinct superpower, a troubled country in whose stability, modernization, and openness to the international community the West still has a huge stake.

  • Power and Purpose
    Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003 January 1, 2003
    Power and Purpose
  • Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001 October 1, 2001
    Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin

    Michael McFaul traces Russia's tumultuous political history from Gorbachev's rise to power in 1985 through the 1999 resignation of Boris Yeltsin in favor of Vladimir Putin.

  • Washington January 1, 2000 Washington, D.C.
    Rapprochement or Rivalry? Russia-China Relations in a Changing Asia

    U.S., Russian, and Chinese scholars analyze the most important issues posed by the relationship between China and Russia, and weigh the prospects for real cooperation between Russia, a severely weakened power, and China, a power on the rise.

  • Michael McFaul
    NPR's All Things Considered August 18, 2008
    U.S.-Poland Missile Deal Irks Russia

    In the midst of the Russia-Georgia conflict, Poland has agreed to host part of a U.S. missile defense system. For Russia, this move indicated that the missiles were aimed against Russia rather than Iran as the U.S. has been alleging. This agreement may lead to further deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations, as well as, cause challenges for the Poland-Russia relationship.

  • Michael McFaul
    CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight August 15, 2008
    Russian Aggression

    With reports that Russian troops remain in Georgia, the West continues its diplomatic push to resolve the conflict. Yet the U.S. and its allies have limited leverage with which to influence Russian policy.

  • CNN's The Glenn Beck Program August 11, 2008
    The Russia-Georgia Conflict

    With the escalation of violence between Georgia and Russia, and the apparent ceasefire of military operations by Russia, the role of the United States in the build-up and outbreak of the conflict has been largely muted.

  • Michael McFaul
    NPR's Day to Day August 11, 2008
    Why Georgia-Russia Conflict Is Significant For U.S.

    Russia’s use of force against Georgia – a close ally of the U.S. in a strategic region for oil and gas transport – is the first time since the fall of the Berlin Wall that Russian forces have violated another country’s sovereignty and international law. A resurgent Russia is testing the will of the international community to hold it responsible for its actions.

  • Michael McFaul
    NPR's Talk of the Nation August 22, 2007
    The Revival of Russia's Military Power

    Vladimir Putin's open attempts to reassert Russia's position as a world power have been met with trepidation from the international community. Further, Russia faces domestic constraints, both economic and military, that will complicate Putin's efforts.

  • NewsHour with Jim Lehrer January 2, 2006
    Ukrainian Natural Gas Dispute

    Carnegie Senior Associate Michael McFaul discussed the politics of the Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute with the NewsHour's Margaret Warner and J. Robinson West, Chairman of PFC Energy.

  • December 7, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    Sustaining the Momentum of the Reset

    A critical component of the reset in U.S.-Russian relations, the Bilateral Presidential Commission facilitates engagement among government, business, and civil society actors on topics ranging from nuclear energy to public health.

  • Post-Bush America and the World
    October 2, 2008 Brussels
    Post-Bush America and the World: Can the Gap be Closed?

    Expectations are running high for major changes in the next U.S. administration's foreign policy, but how much change is likely, and will it be enough to close the gap between America and the world? Top experts from the Carnegie Endowment and elsewhere discussed this question during a two-day conference in Brussels.

  • October 2, 2008 Brussels
    Russia's Relations with the World: The Aftermath of the Georgian Conflict, New Vision Conference Session 2

    Experts discussed how the West can move forward with its relationship with Russia in the aftermath of the Georgian conflict.

  • Russian Democracy Panel
    May 5, 2008 Washington, D.C.
    Russia’s Over-Managed Democracy: Does Medvedev Make a Difference?

    A panel of Carnegie Russia experts present analysis of the current state of Russia's political and economic development and the likelihood of continuity or change in Dmitry Medvedev's first term as president of Russia.

  • Weber
    June 7, 2006 Washington, D.C.
    How Russians and Americans View Each Other, Themselves, China and Iran

    Stephen J. Weber, of the Program on International Policy Attitudes, presented the findings of his recent poll on how Russians and Americans view each other, themselves, China, and Iran.

  • Markov
    May 12, 2006 Washington, D.C.
    How Democratic Is Today's Russia?

    Political analyst Sergei Markov and Carnegie Senior Associate Michael McFaul debated Russian democracy and the causes of poor U.S.-Russian relations.

  • March 13, 2006 Washington, D.C.
    What Does the Orange Revolution Tell Us About Ukraine's Future?

    Ukraine's revolution of fall and winter 2004 brought lasting social change to the country. However, the country must still manage the Russian relationship and overcome domestic obstacles to economic and political development.

  • Orange Revolution Panel
    November 22, 2005
    One Year After the Orange Revolution: An Assessment

    A panel of experts discussed the changes in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution and looked ahead to parliamentary elections next year.

  • Petrov
    October 18, 2005
    The Essence of Putin's Managed Democracy

    Nikolay Petrov, of the Carnegie Moscow Center, analyzed the political system that has evolved under Russian President Vladimir Putin. He argued this system cannot survive unless it becomes more democratic.

  • Michael McFaul
    September 21, 2005 Washington, D.C.
    Russia As the Chairman of the G-8

    On September 21, 2005, the Carnegie Endowment hosted a meeting titled "Russia as Chairman of the G-8." Anders Aslund, Director of the Carnegie Russian and Eurasian Program, Rose Gottemoeller, Carnegie Senior Associate, and Michael McFaul, Carnegie Senior Associate, gave presentations. Vice President for Studies George Perkovich moderated the discussion.

Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&expert_id=19
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