Michael McFaul

Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow

Michael A. McFaul is the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution as well as a professor of political science, director and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He also currently works as a news analyst for NBC.  His areas of expertise include international relations, Russian politics, comparative democratization, and American foreign policy.  From January 2012 to February 2014, he served as the US ambassador to the Russian Federation.  Before becoming ambassador, he served for three years as a special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council. 

He has authored and edited several books including, From Cold War to Hot Peace (2018), with Kathryn Stoner, eds., Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective (2013); Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can (2009); with Valerie Bunce and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, eds., Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World (2009); with Anders Aslund, eds., Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough (2006); with Nikolai Petrov and Andrei Ryabov, Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Postcommunist Political Reform (2004); with James Goldgeier, Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War, (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 (2001); Russia's 1996 Presidential Election: The End of Bi-Polar Politics (1997); with Tova Perlmutter, eds., Privatization, Conversion and Enterprise Reform in Russia (1995); Post-Communist Politics: Democratic Prospects in Russia and Eastern Europe (1993); and, with Sergei Markov, The Troubled Birth of Russian Democracy: Political Parties, Programs and Profiles (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. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Politico, Time, and the Weekly Standard.

Dr. McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his BA in international relations and Slavic languages and his MA in Soviet and East European studies from Stanford University in 1986.  He was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford where he completed his D.Phil in international relations in 1991.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

A Gentleman In Moscow

featuring Michael McFaulvia Nob Hill Gazette
Saturday, May 4, 2019

These days, Michael McFaul bikes every day from his home on Stanford University’s campus to his job as a professor of political science. He is free of the suit and tie he used to wear — and the drivers and security guards who used to surround him — when he spent his days consulting with President Barack Obama in the White House Situation Room, whispering with Obama in a specially built soundproof room in the Moscow Ritz-Carlton, or drawing the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin as the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.


Russia Attacked Us. The Mueller Report Still Doesn’t Give Us The Full Story.

by Michael McFaulvia The Washington Post
Friday, April 19, 2019

In 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a comprehensive attack on U.S. sovereignty by attempting to shape the outcome of our presidential election. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his investigative team should be commended for providing amazing details about some aspects of this Russian intervention.


Michael McFaul: Former US Ambassador To Russia Discusses Findings Of Mueller Report

interview with Michael McFaulvia WVTF
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul discusses the Mueller report and where we go from here. McFaul hopes the country can move forward and get on to the business of improving US-Russian relations.

Former US Ambassador To Russia Discusses Findings Of Mueller Report

interview with Michael McFaulvia NPR
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul discusses the Mueller report.

Michael McFaul: ‘The Biggest Piece Mueller Left Out’

interview with Michael McFaulvia Foreign Policy
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul discusses the findings of the Mueller report.

Tell Me More: Deciphering Russia With Michael McFaul

interview with Michael McFaulvia Tell Me More (NPR)
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul talks about Russia’s interference in the election, as well as his fears about a new arms race and what it has meant for him to be banned from returning to Russia. 


Ambassador William Burns Talks Challenges, Rewards Of American Diplomacy With Michael McFaul

interview with Michael McFaulvia Stanford Daily
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Michael McFaul interviews William Burns concerning the challenges and rewards of American diplomacy.

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Michael McFaul: From Cold War to Hot Peace—an American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia

with Michael McFaulvia Fellow Talks
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 Understanding How Putin Leads Russia.

Michael McFaul gives the Class Day lecture to the Stanford class of 2007
In the News

Ex-Ambassador To Russia Comes To Carroll College

featuring Michael McFaulvia KPVI
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Michael McFaul, the former American ambassador to Russia appointed by President Barack Obama, appeared at Carroll College on Thursday afternoon to answer questions from students.
In the News

Former Ambassador: U.S. Should Stop Trying To Make Friends With Russia

featuring Michael McFaulvia Missoula Current
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Little will ease the strained relations between Russia and the United States as long as Vladimir Putin is president, according to a former U.S. ambassador to Russia.