I was trained within the tradition of French political philosophy and intellectual history, which places considerable emphasis on tracing the sociology of knowledge, the power structures, and social networks that make it possible.

I am a theoretically and methodologically eclectic scholar, and a strong believer in multidisciplinarity. I borrow from political science, political philosophy, history, cultural studies, and critical geopolitics.
I employ multiple methodological approaches, ranging from surveys and big-data to content and discourse analysis, as well as in-depth fieldwork and interviews with actors.

My PhD examined the Russian school of Slavophilism in the nineteenth century and the way it used the concepts of Aryan identity and the Aryan cradle to legitimize the conquest of Central Asia. Since then, I have focused on the production of ideologies in contemporary Russia, their institutional ecosystems, patrons, and outreach to domestic and foreign audiences.

I have published on a broad range of topics extending from Russia’s different versions of nationalism and conservatism to Russia’s foreign policy toward Europe, the Arctic, and Central Asia, as well as Russian soft power and its outreach to European and American publics. My research on Russia’s political culture, which highlights the competition between multiple ideological ecosystems, offers a granular study of the so-called “Kremlin’s black box.” I also lead a collective of scholars investigating the connections between Russian, European, and North American right-wing movements, ideologies, and individuals across the 20th century up to today.

More recently, I have shifted toward conceptual research in political theory by deepening the notion of illiberalism.

I founded the Illiberalism Studies Program at GW to study the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural contexts, their intellectual genealogies, the natures of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.
I am especially interested in the grassroots mechanisms underpinning the popular support given to illiberal projects, as well as of the cultural products and social practices that structure illiberal communities.

This work has led me to extend my research gaze from Russia to Europe. I am currently investigating France’s and US's grassroots illiberal transformations. Holding a BA and an MA in Central European History, I have also long followed the evolution of the region. My MA thesis, written in 1996, was devoted to what would later become Central Europe’s first illiberal wave: nostalgia for the idea of Mitteleuropa. I have now reactivated that aspect of my research, conducting my first fieldwork in the Balkans in 2022.

A third line of research, I work on the notion of social sustainability of Russian Arctic cities by looking at their urban regimes, migration policies, the way local identities are built and negotiated, and how multiethnicity is managed. My research is based on yearly fieldwork conducted in Russia’s main Arctic cities between 2013 and 2018: Murmansk and the surrounding Kola Peninsula mining cities, Arkhangelsk, Severodvinsk, Naryan Mar, Vorkuta, Salekhard, Norilsk, Dudinka, Yakutsk, and Mirnyi.

I am currently beginning a new project on Arctic memorialization, looking at how sites of memory (lieux de memoire) about Arctic conquest, as well as WWI and WWII memorials, are preserved by Arctic nations.

For two decades, I worked on Central Asia, especially on Kazakhstan, studying the region’s nationhood constructions and political trajectories, as well as the regional context and Central Asia’s relationship with China and Russia.

I was Associate Director and then Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at GW for respectively 5 and 4 years. I founded there the Central Asia Program, the Russia Program, the Illiberalism Studies Program, and have been co-Director of PONARS since 2016.