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Dr Gulnaz Sharafutdinova

Dr Gulnaz Sharafutdinova

Gulnaz150Reader, King's Russia Institute


Postal Address

King's Russia Institute
King’s College London
Strand Campus
Bush House (North East Wing)
30 Aldwych
London WC2B 4BG



Telephone: +44 (0)20 7848 7555

Room number: 8.07 Bush House (North East Wing)

Office hours: Tuesday 2-3pm, Wednesday 1-2pm and by appointment


Dr  Gulnaz Sharafutdinova joined King’s Russia Institute as senior lecturer in September 2013. Previously, Gulnaz worked at Miami University (Ohio), where she was an associate professor of political science and international studies and an associate of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, one of the foremost centers for research on contemporary Russia in the United States. Her book – Political Consequences of Crony Capitalism Inside Russia (Notre Dame University Press, 2010) – is among the most careful studies of the mechanisms through which informal practices of political and economic power have shaped contemporary Russia. Gulnaz has also edited a collection of articles on late Soviet state and society - Soviet Society in the Era of Late Socialism, 1964-1985 (Lexington Press, 2012). Gulnaz is a leading expert on federalism and sub-national politics in Russia, with articles appearing in Comparative Politics, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Problems of Post-Communism, Europe-Asia Studies and elsewhere. She holds a PhD from the George Washington University, and speaks fluent Russian, Tatar and English. Gulnaz was born in Tatarstan, Russia, and still keeps tight connections to her homeland.

Publications Research

My ongoing research work is organized along several research tracks. The first one focuses on the political economy of Russia’s regions and center-regional relations in Russia, continuing on and extending the research conducted for my first book. I rely on the combination of qualitative and quantitative method to study state-business relations in Russia’s regions, the politics of federal transfers and property rights issues.

The second research track focuses on the issues of late Soviet subjectivity and their reproduction in present-day Russia. Particularly, I am interested in political factors playing into the revival of Soviet mentality and how the political regime constructed under president Vladimir Putin relied on Soviet values, methods and institutions reinforcing and regenerating specific attitudes, predispositions and practices associated with the Soviet era. This project builds on my recent work on late socialism and ideational legitimation of Putin’s regime.

Recent Research

“Governors and governing institutions: a comparative study of state-business relations in Russia's regions” Policy Research Working Paper #WPS7038, World Bank, September 2014. Please click here for details. 

Current Research Projects

1. Book project: Soviet Habits of the Mind: Cognitive Path Dependence and Russia’s Political Regime 


This project seeks to analyze political factors playing into the reproduction of the Soviet mentality in current-day Russia.  It seeks to explore whether and how the political regime constructed under president Vladimir Putin relied on Soviet values, methods and institutions reinforcing and regenerating specific attitudes, predispositions and practices associated with the Soviet era.  The larger puzzle inspiring this study is the failure of new democratic institutions introduced after the collapse of authoritarian governments.  The working hypothesis is that path-dependence can take a cognitive form and shared cognitive structures or thinking patterns inherited from previous system can constrain institution-building.  The project seeks to integrate recent findings from cognitive sciences about the importance of contextual factors for the development of socially-shared cognition. 

Related publications

2. Research Project: “Institutional Arbitrage and Property Rights In Russia”

Most literature on property rights institutions treats them as originating in domestic political struggles. This project seeks to counter the common domestic bend in the literature and bring attention to global institutional factors that condition domestic institutional evolution.  Specifically, with my co-author Karen Dawisha, we explore the unintended consequences for ‘good governance’ prospects of institutional arbitrage opportunities available for big businesses to secure their property rights through their reliance on economic, financial, administrative and legal institutions not at home, but abroad.  


Dr Sharafutdinova teaches the following modules at King’s Russia Institute:

  • Russia and the EU (undergraduate and postgraduate level) (co-taught with Dr Adnan Vatansever)
  • Institutions, Identity & Society in Russia (undergraduate level)

Gulnaz is also available to supervise research students on Russian and Eurasian politics and governance, with particular reference to sub-national politics, identity politics and political economy.

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