Expertise: International relations, Russian politics, political and economic reform in postcommunist countries, American foreign policy
Michael McFaul is the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was sworn in as the United States ambassador to the Russian Federation on January 10, 2012. He is also a professor of political science at Stanford University, currently on leave from Stanford.
Before becoming ambassador, he served for three years as the special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council.
Before joining the Obama administration, McFaul served as deputy director at the Freeman Spogli Institute and director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law. He was also a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
McFaul is the author and editor of several monographs including, with Kathryn Stoner Weiss, After the Collapse of Communism: Comparative Lessons of Transitions (Cambridge University Press, 2004); with Nikolai Petrov and Andrei Ryabov, Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Post-Communist Political Reform (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2004); with James Goldgeier, Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (Brookings Institution Press, 2003); with Timothy Colton, Popular Choice and Managed Democracy: The Russian Elections of 1999 and 2000 (Brookings Institution Press, 2003); Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin (Cornell University Press, 2001); Russia's 1996 Presidential Election: The End of Bi-Polar Politics (Hoover Institution Press, 1997); with Tova Perlmutter, Privatization, Conversion and Enterprise Reform in Russia (Westview Press, 1995); Post-Communist Politics: Democratic Prospects in Russia and Eastern Europe (CSIS, 1993); and, with Sergei Markov, The Troubled Birth of Russian Democracy: Political Parties, Programs and Profiles (Hoover Institution Press, 1993). His articles have appeared in Constitutional Political Economy, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Organization, International Security, Journal of Democracy, Political Science Quarterly, Post-Soviet Affairs, and World Politics.
McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his BA in international relations and Slavic languages and his MA (1986) in Soviet and East European studies from Stanford University. He was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, where he completed his PhD in international relations in 1991.