I was born to active and engaged parents, during Martial Law and on the heels of nationwide protests in 66 cities across the country – so perhaps, it is easy to understand my fascination with dissent and democracy in Eastern Europe and beyond. Undoubtedly, my own first-hand experience  – of being an immigrant, belonging to a repressed minority ethnic group, and being the grandchild of a forcibly displaced person and political prisoner – has influenced my interest in certain social science puzzles. And it is no wonder that the extraordinary things that ‘ordinary’ citizens do in times of crisis (and how their lived experience of crisis shapes their political beliefs and policy preferences) are a common thread to my research. 


Dr Olga Onuch (DPhil, Oxford), is a Senior Lecturer in Politics [Associate Professor] at the University of Manchester, is an Associate of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, and in 2021 she is visiting CERES at the University of Toronto as a Senior Research Associate. From 2014 to 2020 she was an Associate Member of Nuffield College (Oxford) and in 2017 she was a Fellow at the Davis Center (Harvard). 

She is the winner of the 2017 Political Studies Association National Sir Bernard Crick Award for Outstanding Teaching.  


Onuch’s comparative study of protest (as well as elections, migration & identity) in Eastern Europe and Latin America has made her a leading expert in Ukrainian and Argentine politics specifically, but also in East European Comparative Politics and inter-regional comparative analysis. Her first book “Mapping Mass Mobilizations” (2014, reviewed in Europe-Asia Studies), explores the processes leading up to mass protest in Ukraine (2004) and Argentina (2001), as well as the micro-level calculi that ordinary citizens make when deciding to join-in. She is the author of more than 20 peer-reviewed publications. Her articles have appeared in leading journals in her field (Journal of Democracy, GeoPolitics, Socia Media + Society, Post-Soviet Affairs, Europe-Asia Studies, and Problems of Post-Communism among others).

Onuch is currently ESRC Principle Investigator of MOBILISE “Determinants of ‘Mobilisation’ at Home and Abroad: Analysing the Micro- Foundations of Out-Migration & Mass Protest”. A three year project (2018-2021) funded through the Open Research Area (ORA) Scheme with direct support of the ESRC in the UK, the DFG in Germany, the ANR in France and the NWO in the Netherlands (€2,002,039 total [£595,369 to UoM]).

Onuch is also currently British Academy Principle Investigator of IBIF “Identity and Boarders in Flux: The Case of Ukraine”.

Her research regularly appears in leading media outlets (The Washington Post, The Times, The Guardian, BBC, ITV, Al Jazeera, AFP, among others). Onuch’s research on  Ukraine has resulted in her consulting policymakers in Canada, Ukraine, the UK and the US. Her research received praise and awards placing her on the map as one of the foremost experts on Ukraine.


From January 2019 Onuch is the PhD Director at the Politics Department at UoM, and is a member of the Research Leadership Team. Between 2015-2019 she was the Chair of Comparative Public Policy and Institutions Research Cluster and remains an active Member of the Democracy and Elections Research ClusterShe is the 2017 winner of the Political Studies Association National Sir Bernard Crick Award for Outstanding Teaching.  


In 2014-2015, Onuch was Co-PI (with Hale, Colton, Kravets) of a National Science Foundation-funded study of Ukrainian political opinion (“Ukraine Crisis Election Panel Survey). In 2014 she was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship Grant (awarded to “exceptional and promising young scholars”). In 2013/2014, Onuch was a Shklar Research Fellow, at HURI, at Harvard University. From 2011 to 2014 Onuch was a Research Fellow (in Politics), at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, where she held the prestigious Newton Fellowship Award and was PI of the “Ukrainian Protest Project: Comparative Protest Politics, funded by the British Academy.

Previously, Onuch held the post of Petro Jacyk Prize Fellow, at CERES, at the Munk School of Global Affairs, at the University of Toronto (where she worked with Jeffrey Kopstein,  Peter Solomon and Lucan Way). In 2008-2009 (again in 2013 and 2019) she was a Visiting Fellow at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (UTDT) in Buenos Aires, Argentina (where she worked with Enrique Peruzzotti and Guillermo O’Donnell).


Onuch holds a DPhil in Politics (2011), from the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), at the University of Oxford (Oxford, UK). Her doctoral research focused on social mobilization, protest, elections and the role of the media in democratizing states in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Her thesis on mass-mobilization in Ukraine (2004) & Argentina (2001) was supervised by Gwendolyn Sasse and Laurence Whitehead (advisor) and awarded with high praise and no corrections. Nancy Bermeo and Mark Beissinger were on her Viva examination committee. She was awarded a Neporany Doctoral Prize.

Onuch holds a Master of Sciences in Comparative Politics (2006) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (London, UK). Her MSc thesis is entitled: “The Dynamics of ‘Exit’ and ‘Voice’: Causes and Growth of the Informal Sector (‘exit’) and its Relationship to Collective Political Participation (‘voice’) in the Case of Informal Workers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Kyiv, Ukraine.”   

Onuch received her first degree, B.A. Honours (2005) with a double major in Political Studies and International Development Studies, from Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada). She was awarded the Viapond Award for excellence in Development Studies. 


Revolutions*, Elections*, Protest*, Social Movements*, War, Identity, Ethnicity, Public Opinion, Social Surveys, Electoral Fraud, Populism, Politics of Economic Crisis, Democracy, Democratization*, Political Participation, Political Parties, Youth Movements*, Activism*, Civil Society, Civil Society Promotion, Democracy Promotion.


Ukraine*, Argentina*, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Poland*, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America.


  • Ukrainian [Spoken:Fluent/Native, Written: Fluent/Native];
  • Polish [Spoken:Fluent/Native, Written: Advanced];
  • English [Spoken:Fluent/Native, Written: Fluent/Native];
  • French [Spoken: Advanced, Written: Advanced, ‘French Immersion’ primary & secondary education];
  • Spanish [Spoken: Intermediate, Written: Intermediate];
  • Russian [Spoken: Basic /Working Knowledge, Written: Working Knowledge/Intermediate].


I am a regular contributor to and my research has appeared in the BBC, CBC, Channel Four, ITV, National Public Radio, Radio Free Europe, Sky News, Al Jazeera, AFP, Hromadske TV, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Independent, the International Business Times, El Pais, The Monocle, and Reuters.


Politics Department, School of Social Sciences

University of Manchester, M13 9PL

Email : olga.onuch [at] manchester.ac.uk