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News Release

February 20, 2009


Judith Paulus, Associate Director for Communications, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI): (650) 723-8490,

Obama appoints Stanford Russia expert to national security posts

Stanford political science Professor Michael McFaul has been tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as special assistant to the president for National Security Affairs and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council.

McFaul, who has been deputy director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and director of its Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, was a senior adviser on Russia and Eurasia during Obama's campaign, and he continued to advise on foreign policy issues during the transition. He now joins the National Security Council headed by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones.

"President-elect Obama was fortunate to have the benefit of Mike's counsel on a range of vital issues during the campaign—including dealing with a resurgent Russia," said Freeman Spogli Institute Director Coit D. Blacker, the Olivier Nomellini Professor in International Studies. "Now, from the White House, the president can call on Mike's expertise and experience in the region to build more constructive relationships with Russia, Eurasia and our allies across a broad strategic front."

McFaul is an expert on U.S. foreign policy, U.S.-Russian relations, political and economic reform in the post-communist world and democracy promotion. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough, which he co-edited with Anders Aslund; Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Postcommunist Political Reform, which he wrote with Nikolai Petrov and Andrei Ryabov; and After the Collapse of Communism: Comparative Lessons of Transitions, which he edited with Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, a senior research scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

McFaul is a non-resident senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He serves on the editorial boards of Current History, Journal of Democracy, Demokratizatsiya, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Post Soviet Affairs and the Washington Quarterly. He has served as a consultant for numerous companies and government agencies and has testified before Congress on U.S.-Russian relations.

McFaul, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a frequent commentator on international politics and American foreign policy in the national and international media. He has appeared on all major television and radio networks, and his opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, International Herald Tribune and Moscow Times.

McFaul earned bachelor's degrees in international relations and Slavic languages and literatures and a master's degree in Russian and East European studies from Stanford in 1986. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and completed a doctorate in international relations at Oxford in 1991.



Coit D. Blacker, Director, FSI: (650) 725-5368

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