Professor Tomila Lankina

Professor Tomila Lankina

Professor of International Relations

Department of International Relations

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English, German, Russian
Key Expertise
Democratization, Popular Protest, Russia, Eastern Europe

About me

At the outbreak of Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, Tomila Lankina helped set up and coordinate together with other LSE colleagues an informal LSE Taskforce to support students and scholars from Ukraine. She welcomes queries from Ukrainian researchers at risk about LSE and the International Relations Department.

Professor Lankina has been recipient of the LSE Excellence in Education award for supervision of PhD students.

Her latest book The Estate Origins of Democracy in Russia: From Imperial Bourgeoisie to Post-Communist Middle Class (Cambridge University Press 2022) is on the long-term patterns of reproduction of social structure in Russia from the Tzarist times to the present and on why these legacies matter for democracy, development and social inequalities.

The book has received several major awards:

  • Winner of the 2023 J. David Greenstone Prize for the best book in the Politics and History section of the American Political Science Association. The award recognizes the best book in history and politics in the past two calendar years.
  • Winner of the 2023 Davis Center Book Prize. The prize, sponsored by Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, is awarded annually by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies for an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography in the previous calendar year.
  • Recipient of “Honorable Mention” for the 2023 Sartori Book Award of the American Political Science Association Organized Section for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. This award honors Giovanni Sartori's work on qualitative methods and concept formation, and especially his contribution to helping scholars think about problems of context as they refine concepts and apply them to new spatial and temporal settings.

Professor Lankina has worked on democracy and authoritarianism, mass protests and historical drivers of human capital and political regime change in Russia and other countries; she has also analysed the propaganda and disinformation campaigns in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine. Her latest research is on social structure and inequality. A short video on her book, which challenges the narratives of the Bolshevik Revolution as a great social watershed is also available.

Her publications have appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political ScienceBritish Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, World Politics, The Journal of Politics, Comparative Politics, Demokratizatsiya, Europe-Asia StudiesPost-Soviet Affairs, Problems of Post-Communism among others. She is also author of Governing the Locals: Local Self-Government and Ethnic Mobilization in Russia (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); and Local Governance in Central and Eastern Europe, with Anneke Hudalla and Hellmut Wollmann (Palgrave and University of Oxford St. Antony's Series, 2008).

Professor Lankina received her DPhil from the University of Oxford (St Antony’s and Balliol Colleges), an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in America and a BA in linguistics (Urdu and Hindi) from the Tashkent Institute of Oriental Studies in Uzbekistan.

She has held research appointments at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Stanford University, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC., and De Montfort University in Leicester. She has been a co-investigator and lead investigator on ESRC and British Academy funded research projects.

Professor Lankina is not taking on new PhD students for entry in 2024/25.


Expertise Details

Democratization; sub-national governance; authoritarian reproduction and resilience; Russia; Central Europe; India; legacies of colonialism.