Areas of Study
Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 115

Sharon Werning Rivera, who earned a doctorate at the University of Michigan, specializes in the post-communist countries of Eurasia with a focus on Russia. Rivera’s research and teaching interests are in the field of comparative politics with emphases on democratization, elite political culture, elites in post-communist Russia, and survey research. Her articles have appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, Party Politics, and Demokratizatsiya, among others. In 2012-13 she was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Russian Federation. In 2017 Rivera was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to support her project on the foreign policy attitudes of Russian elites. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the Survey of Russian Elites, a project spanning more than two decades that is on deposit with the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan.

In February 2022, she launched the Ukraine Assistance Initiative in conjunction with Hamilton’s Levitt Center and Russian Studies Program. Students working with Rivera on the initiative coordinate efforts aimed at educating the Hamilton community about the Russo-Ukrainian War, acquainting students with Ukrainian culture, assisting Ukrainian refugees in the Utica area, documenting human rights abuses committed by Russia during the war, and supporting prisoners detained in Russia on political or religious grounds.

Recent Courses Taught

Introduction to Comparative Politics
Politics in Russia
Authoritarian Politics
Transitions to Democracy
Russians and their Relationship to Authority
Topics in Survey Research


  • Levitt Center Research and Innovation Award, 2022, 2023
  • National Science Foundation Award #1742798, 2017  
  • Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Award for Notable Year Achievement, 2017
  • Christian A. Johnson Teaching Enhancement Fellowship, 2016, 2019, 2022
  • Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Russian Federation, 2012-13
  • Levitt Center Award for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2021
  • Kirkland Summer Scholarship Award for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2014
  • Class of 1963 Faculty Fellowship, 2012
  • Teaching Innovation Grant, 2010, 2014
  • Faculty Grant Development Funds, 2008, 2013
  • Class of 1966 Career Development Award, 2004, 2007
  • Class of 1966 Faculty Innovation Grant, 2006
  • Emerson Grant for Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, 2003

Selected Publications

Articles and Book Chapters in English:


Data Set:

Online Text:

  • “Elections in West Europa,” Congressional Quarterly Press, 2009. Online simulation for comparative politics courses.

Foreign-Language Articles and Book Chapters:

  • Ansichten der russischen Eliten zu militärischen Interventionen im Ausland” [The Views of Russian Elites on Military Intervention Abroad], Russland-Analysen No. 431, February 16, 2023, pp. 2-6.
  • “Siloviki i demokratiya po-prezhnemu nesovmestimy? Analiz dannykh Issledovaniya rossiiskikh elit 2016 goda” [Are Siloviki and Democracy Still Incompatible? An Analysis of the 2016 Survey of Russian Elites], Monitoring obshchestvennogo mneniya: ekonomicheskie i sotsial’nye peremeny, No. 5 (2021): 163-176. With David W. Rivera. doi: 10.14515/monitoring.2021.5.1867.
  • “Kritika militokraticheskoi paradigmy formirovaniya vlasti pri prezidente V. Putine: obzor rossiiskoi i zarybezhnoi literatury” [A Critique of the Militocracy Paradigm Regarding Government Formation under Putin: A Review of the Russian and Foreign Literatures], Sotsial’no-gumanitarnye znaniya, No. 1 (2019): 153-175. With David W. Rivera.
  • “El’tsin, Putin i prezidentskaya vlast’” [Yeltsin, Putin, and the Power of the Presidency], Politicheskie issledovaniya [Political Research], No. 3 (2012): 19-29. With David W. Rivera.
  • “El’tsin, Putin, i Klinton: prezidentskoe liderstvo i rossiiskaya demokratiya v sravnitel’noi perspektive” [Yeltsin, Putin, and Clinton: Presidential Leadership and Russian Democratization in Comparative Perspective], Mir i politika [The World and Politics] 9, No. 48 (September 2010): 35-52. With David W. Rivera.
  • “K bolee tochnym otsenkam transformatsii v Rossiiskoi elite” [Towards a More Accurate Assessment of the Transformation of the Russian Elite] (with David W. Rivera), Politicheskie issledovaniya [Political Research], No. 5 (2009): 149-157.
  • “Unikal’nyi put’ Rossii? Obzor politicheskikh elit” [“A Unique Path for Russia? A Survey of Political Elites”], in A. D. Shutov, ed., Uchenye zapiski 2006 (Moscow: Nauchnaya kniga, 2006), pp. 46-59. Publication of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

National Media

Professional Affiliations

Member, American Political Science Association
Member, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
M.A., Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
B.A., University of California at Davis

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