Marie Mendras is professor at the Paris School of International Affairs of Sciences Po University, and researcher with the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. In 2015-2016, she was a senior fellow at the Transatlantic Academy and a visiting scholar at Georgetown University. In 2008-2010, Dr. Mendras was professor of government at the London School of Economics. In earlier years, she has been a consultant for both the French Foreign and Defense Ministries. Dr. Mendras received her doctorate from Sciences Po and her MA from Harvard University.


Project Summary

Since the annexation of Crimea, war in Donbas, and confrontation with the West, the Russian leadership has been behaving in a more and more authoritarian and opaque way. The ruling circle is shrinking, elites more broadly are estranged from decision, dissident voices experience the worst harassment since the 1970s, and society is kept dis-informed by government-controlled media. There no longer is a decision making process in Moscow. Decisions are made, but never explained, rarely attached to a name or an institution. Accountability is absent. Who makes policy? Who decides, who implements actions decided “at the top”? Ruling elites, beyond Putin’s inner circle, are now kept out of decisions. They are expected to remain silent on Ukraine and Syria, on political legislation and economic choices. They might not challenge the leadership directly, but will not actively support it either. They are a key factor in assessing Russia's capabilities and options.

Major Publications

Russian Politics: The Paradox of a Weak State (Oxford University Press, paperback edition, New York, 2014)

"The Rising Cost of Russia’s Authoritarian Foreign Policy", in M. Light and D. Cadier, eds., Russia’s Foreign Policy. : Ideas, domestic politics and external relations, (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015)

"Russian Elites Worry: The Unpredictability of Putinism”, Transatlantic Academy 2015-2016 Paper Series, No. 9, GMF, June 2016