Associate Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
M.A., Stanford University
B.A., Franko Lviv National University (Ukraine)
Serhiy Kudelia’s research has focused on three sub-fields of comparative politics: (1) the onset and dynamics of insurgencies and civil wars; (2) political regimes and regime change; (3) political institutions and institutional design. The geographic focus of his scholarship has been on Ukraine, Russia and the former Soviet Union. He published extensively on various aspects of the armed conflict in Donbas and analyzed both its causes and available conflict-resolution strategies. Dr. Kudelia conducted field research in sixteen towns of Donbas for his upcoming book investigating the town-based patterns of collaboration and resistance in the region at the start of the conflict. Three weeks prior to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine he spoke at the panel of experts where he predicted that the war would begin “imminently” with the escalation of hostilities in Donbas under the pretext of protecting local residents.
Dr. Kudelia’s other scholarly contributions explored the conditions for the success of violent protect tactics in ousting autocratic rulers, intra-executive conflicts in semi-presidential systems, party-building in nascent democracies and the relationship between political competition and corruption in democratizing states. His articles appeared in various peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Democracy, Post-Soviet Affairs, Comparative Politics, Nationalities Papers, Problems of Post-Communism, East European Politics and Societies, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Demokratizatsiya and in several edited volumes. His book The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris co-authored with Kiron Skinner, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Condoleezza Rice was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2007.
Prior to coming to Baylor Dr. Kudelia held teaching and research positions at Johns Hopkins University/SAIS, George Washington University, University of Toronto and National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Ukraine).
In Spring 2022 he has since taught a course on contemporary Ukrainian politics at the University of Basel (Switzerland) where he also conducted research as a fellow of URIS program. He gave numerous talks on his current research and the Russian-Ukrainian war, including at the University of Zurich, University of Hamburg, University of St. Gallen, University of Florida and University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Kudelia has been interviewed frequently by leading international media outlets including BBC (UK), Neu Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland), Die Zeit (Germany), Wiener Zeitung (Austria), Information (Denmark), NHK (Japan), Washington Post and Voice of America. He has also consulted US and European government officials and international NGOs on the issues related to Ukraine.
Selected Academic Publications (since 2018):
“Ukrainian State under Russian Aggression: Resilience and Resistance,” Current History, forthcoming in October 2022.
“Civil War Settlements and Conflict Resolution in Donbas,” in The War in Ukraine’s Donbas: Origins, Context and the Future, ed. David Marples (CEU Press, 2022).
“Ukraine Crises and the Limits of Transatlantic Cooperation,” in Crisis, the Politics of Resilience, and the Future of Transatlantic Relations, eds. Sebastian Harnisch, Gordon Thies and Gordon Friedrichs (Routledge 2019).
“In My Name: The Impact of Regional Identity on Civilian Attitudes in the Armed Conflict in Donbas” co-authored with Johanna van Zyl, Nationalities Papers, vol. 47, No. 5, September 2019: 801 – 821.
“How They Joined? Militants and Informers in the Armed Conflict in Ukraine,” Small Wars & Insurgencies, vol. 30, No. 2, 2019: 279 – 306
“When Numbers Are Not Enough: The Strategic Use of Violence in Ukraine’s 2014 Revolution,” Comparative Politics, vol. 50, No. 4, July 2018, pp. 501 - 521.
“Presidential Activism and Government Termination in Dual-Executive Ukraine,” Post-Soviet Affairs, vol. 34, No. 4, 2018, pp. 246 - 261.
Ukraine Analysis (since 2018):
“Putin’s Occupation Options for Ukraine: Keep or Trade?”, PONARS Policy Memo 763, April 4, 2022:
“Ukraine’s Occupied Towns are Facing a Choice: Collaborate or Resist?”, Open Democracy, March 7, 2022:
“NATO or Bust: Why do Ukraine’s Leaders Dismiss Neutrality as National Security Strategy?”, Russia Matters, February 9, 2022.
“Veto on Peace/Veto on War: President Zelensky’s Donbas Imbroglio,” PONARS Policy Memo, April 3, 2020.
“Rally around ‘Ze!’ Flag: Ballots as Pitchforks in Ukraine’s Parliamentary Race,” Point & Counterpoint, August 8, 2019.
“Could Zelenskiy Presidency Prove a Breakthrough for Conflict Resolution in the Donbas?”, Wilson Center Focus Ukraine, April 11, 2019.
“Ukraine’s 2019 Election: The End of Ideology and the Last Comedian,” Point & Counterpoint, March 20, 2019.
Institutional Paths to Ending the Donbas Conflict, Kennan Cable No. 35, The Wilson Center, August 15, 2018
“Breaking the Russia-Ukraine Stalemate,” Russia in Global Affairs, No. 2, 2018.
Featured Interviews and Talks:
Keynote Address on Russian-Ukrainian War at 2022 European Media Summit, Lech am Alberg (Austria), April 21, 2022.
“The Longer the War Lasts, the Greater is the Threat to Ukraine’s Democracy,” Interview with Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German), May 11, 2022.
“The War to Destroy a State: Russia’s Invasion and Ukraine’s Response,” Lecture at Johns Hopkins University/SAIS, Bologna Campus (Italy), March 10, 2022.
“Russia’s War in Ukraine: Nukes, Negotiations, and Neutrality,” Panel discussion, Foreign Policy Research Institute, April 26, 2022.
“Ukraine Update – A Conversation with the Baylor Community,” Panel discussion, Baylor University, March 16, 2022.
“Professor appeals to Baylor to support his home country, Ukraine,” Baylor Lariat, March 16, 2022.
“Russia’s War Against Ukraine. Why Now and What’s Next?”, University of Basel, March 3, 2022.
“Grand Bargain or Big War, Why Ukraine’s Neutrality is No Longer Possible,” UkrLifeTV, February 17, 2022 (in Russian),
“Ukrainian Professors on Tensions with Russia,” Panel discussion, February 4, 2022, PONARS Eurasia/C-SPAN.
Courses at Baylor
PSC 3304 Comparative Politics
This course offers an overview of the theories and issues central to the study of comparative politics. Its topics include state-making, political regimes, parties and electoral systems, political order and violence, governance and political economy.
PSC 3325 Ethnopolitical Conflicts
This course examines theories of the onset and dynamics of civil wars and political violence. From secessionist conflicts in the Caucasus and the Balkans to sectarian clashes in the Middle East and South Asia, from Islamist insurgency in Pakistan and Afghanistan to anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe and ethnic cleansing in Africa - the course will explore an entire range of ethnopolitical conflicts across the continents and historical periods. It will also look at various strategies of responding to insurgent violence and examine most effective ways to re-establish a lasting political order.
PSC 4344 Government and Politics of Russia
This course examines the main aspects of Russia's post-communist transformation from Yeltsin to Putin with a particular emphasis on the role of leadership, formal and informal institutions and societal actors in deciding the direction of change.
PSC 4384 Principles of Political Development
This course offers a broad survey of state-building and nation-building theories drawn from cross-regional experience from pre-modern times to today. It examines how wars, trade, capital accumulation, religious norms and self-interested elite groups strengthened modern states, shaped their institutional design and affected their developmental trajectories.
PSC 4386 Russia and the World
This course surveys the evolution of Russia’s foreign policy objectives, its national security strategies and its relations with the US, Europe, Ukraine and other post-Soviet states. It looks at the new spheres of cooperation and rivalry between Russia and the West, including regional conflicts, energy politics, non-proliferation and counterterrorism.
PSC 4395 Terrorism
This course analyzes the ever-present phenomenon of terrorism across the world from the standpoint of a scholar and of a policy-maker. It surveys the current theories of origins and dynamics of terrorism, compares the effectiveness of various counterterrorism strategies and traces the evolution of U.S. counterterrorism policy over the last decade.
PSC 4397 Dictatorship, Democracy and Regime Change
This course will examine the origins of political regimes, compare the functioning of authoritarian and democratic institutions and study the institutional variation within them.
PSC 4v94 Revolutions and Social Movements in Non-Democratic Regimes
This course looks at the origins, dynamics and impacts of revolutionary movements in non-democratic regimes after World War II with a special focus on democratic revolutions of the last twenty years.
Other Courses Taught
Democracy and Autocracy in Ukraine in Post-Soviet Context, University of Basel, Spring 2022.
The course offers an overview of major academic debates on the drivers of state-building, regime change and armed conflict in post-communist space with a focus on Ukraine. It starts with the examination of historical legacies and their significance for Ukraine’s contemporary nation-building policies. It then reviews patterns in Ukraine’s political and economic transformation and seeks to account for its divergence in outcomes from other countries in the region. The course pays particular attention to instances of mass mobilization and outbreaks of violent conflict and draws parallels with similar developments in other contested post-Soviet states. It also offers a close look at its societal changes since independence, including a shift in identity preferences, a rise in civic activism, regional disparities and intensified social and economic dislocation. The course concludes by comparing the effects of major external actors, like Russia and the West, on Ukraine’s security and regime dynamics.