On May 29, 2011, Michael McFaul, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of political science at Stanford University, was announced as the next United States ambassador to Russia (subject to Senate approval). McFaul is currently on leave from his position at Hoover to serve as special assistant to President Obama for national security affairs and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council. McFaul has become known in Washington as a passionate defender of Mr. Obama’s policy, arguing that the United States can speak out on democracy and Georgia while still seeking cooperation with Moscow in other areas.
“The president has chosen one of the leading policy experts and intellectual lights on Russia with this appointment. Mike brings years of expertise, a wealth of knowledge, and an innate sense of diplomacy to this post—I can think of no one more deserving of this position. We are pleased for Mike, and we feel his tenure as ambassador will be wonderful for the American and for the Russian people,” states John Raisian, director of the Hoover Institution.
Before joining Hoover in 1995, McFaul worked for two years as a senior associate for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace at the Moscow Carnegie Center. McFaul is also a research associate at the Center for International Security and Arms Control and a senior adviser to the National Democratic Institute. McFaul's current research interests include democratization in the postcommunist world and Iran, US-Russian relations, and American efforts to promote democracy abroad.
McFaul has written a multitude of books including Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can (Hoover Institution Press, 2010); Russia's 1996 Presidential Election: The End of Bipolar Politics (Hoover Institution Press, 1997); with Sergei Markov, The Troubled Birth of Russian Democracy: Political Parties, Programs and Profiles (Hoover Institution Press, 1993); and Understanding Russia's 1993 Parliamentary Elections: Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy (Hoover Institution Press, 1994).
McFaul is the author of numerous academic articles and opinion pieces and has served as an expert commentator on national television and radio. He also appeared frequently on Uncommon Knowledge, addressing a variety of Russian and Soviet topics.