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Interviewing Political Elites: Lessons from Russia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2003

Sharon Werning Rivera
Hamilton College
Polina M. Kozyreva
Russian Academy of Sciences
Eduard G. Sarovskii
Russian Academy of Sciences


The past decade has opened up unprecedented opportunities for scholars of post-communist countries. Throughout much of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, scholars can now engage policymakers and other elites directly through interviews—probing their decision calculi and obtaining unpublished information and data. Yet there are gaps in the scholarly literature that would prepare researchers for interviewing highly placed individuals in these countries.

© 2002 by the American Political Science Association

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* The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of a Rackham Graduate School-Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Sociology Collaboration Grant provided by the University of Michigan. Rivera thanks Cornell University's Institute for European Studies for a Mellon-Sawyer Postdoctoral Fellowship in Democratization that facilitated the writing of this article. For helpful comments and suggestions, we thank Carolyn Hsu, Steve Heeringa, David Rivera, and Aseema Sinha.


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