William Pomeranz, the Deputy Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, is an expert guide to the complexities of political and economic developments in Russia, particularly through the lens of law. As the head of Kennan’s rule of law program, he leverages extensive, hands-on experience in international and Russian jurisprudence and expertise in issues ranging from the development of Russia’s Constitution to human rights law to foreign investment and sanctions.


Full Bio

William Pomeranz is the Deputy Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.  In addition, Dr. Pomeranz teaches Russian law at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, Georgetown University. 

Dr. Pomeranz holds a B.A. from Haverford College, a M.Sc. from the University of Edinburgh, a J.D. cum laude from American University, and a Ph.D. in Russian History from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London.  Prior to joining the Kennan Institute, Dr. Pomeranz practiced international law in the United States and Moscow, Russia.  He advised clients on investment in the Russian Federation as well as on U.S. anti-money laundering requirements, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), U.S. export controls, and homeland security.  He also served as Program Officer for Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus at the National Endowment for Democracy from 1992-1999, where he evaluated grant applications and implemented projects in such areas as: the rule of law, pro-market reforms, human rights, the environment, independent media, civic education, and the development of independent trade unions.

Dr. Pomeranz heads up the Kennan Institute’s rule of law program, which has conducted major conferences on the Russian Constitution, separation of powers in Russia and Ukraine, the Jackson-Vanik amendment, and the influence of the European Court of Human Rights on Russian law.  His research interests include Russian legal history as well as current Russian commercial and constitutional law.  He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the emergence and development of the pre-revolutionary Russian legal profession (the advokatura).  He also has written extensively on post-Soviet legal developments, including Russian foreign investment laws, judicial review, federalism, and corruption.  His articles have been published in the Russian Review, Slavonic and East European Review, Review of Central and East European Law, DemokratizatsiyaAmerican University International Law Review, Human Rights BriefRussian Analytical Digest, and Problems of Post-Communism.

Major Publications

  • “Uneasy Partners: Russia and the European Court of Human Rights,” Human Rights Brief 19, no. 3, 2012.

  • “Twenty Years of Russian Legal Reform,” Demokratizatsiya 20, no. 2 (Spring), 2012. 

  • “The Push for Precedent in Russia’s Judicial System,” co-authored by Max Gutbrod, Review of Central and East European Law 37, no.1, 2012. 

  • “Putin’s First 100 Days,” Wilson Center Policy Paper, August 20, 2012, available at:

  • “The Magnitsky Case and the Limits of Russian Legal Reform,” Russian Analytical Digest, no. 92  (February 22, 2011).
  • "Legal Reform Through the Eyes of Russia's Leading Jurists: the Vlast Debate on the Russian Judiciary," Problems of Post-Communism 57, no. 3 (May/June), 2010.
  • "Russian Protectionism and the Strategic Sectors Law," American University International Law Review 25, no. 2, 2010.
  • "President Medvedev and the Contested Constitutional Underpinnings of Russia's Power Vertical," Demokratizatsiya 17, no. 2 (Spring), 2009.
  • "Supervisory Review and Finality of Judgments under Russian Law," Review of Central and East European Law 34, No. 1, 2009.

Previous Terms

May 01, 1991 - Jun 01, 1991, "Political Trials in Tsarist Russia"