Site icon Olga Onuch



I was born to active and engaged parents during Martial Law and on the heels of nationwide protests, 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 perhaps, 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, Доцент] at the University of Manchester. In 2021 she was 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). Since 2017 she has been an Affiliate of, and previously in 2014 a Fellow of, the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. In 2017 she was a Visiting 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, elections, migration, and 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.

A major theme of Onuch’s second book The Zelensky Effect (OUP/Hurst, forthcoming, with H. Hale), is how ordinary citizens come to develop a sense of civic duty fostering a civic-centered state attachment as opposed to an ethnonational one. Onuch is also the author of Revolutionary Moments (2010) and Mapping Mass Mobilization (2014, reviewed in Europe-Asia Studies). Mapping Mass Mobilization has received praise among Ukraine experts and scholars of contentious politics. The book explores the history of civic activism that preceded and immediate processes leading up to mass protests in Ukraine (2004) and Argentina (2001). The book presents three major theoretical contributions focused on: the role of actor interaction and information-exchange games among elite actors leading up to and during mass mobilization; the compounding role of defections and isolation of the regime in triggering a series of miscalculations around its capacity to repress; and at the micro level the ‘civic duty’ calculus made by ordinary citizens when deciding to join-in the protest wave. Dr. Onuch’s scholarly articles have appeared in leading journals in her field (Journal of Democracy, GeoPolitics, Social Media + Society, Post-Soviet Affairs, Europe-Asia Studies, and Problems of Post-Communism among others).

Onuch has led several major projects as PI or Co-PI and is currently the PI of two major projects.

She is the overall lead and 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 from 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 a British Academy Principle Investigator of the IBIF Project “Identity and Boarders in Flux: The Case of Ukraine”.

In 2022, Onuch joined a team of colleagues at thr Kyiv School of Economics, Duke, UNC, and the University of Maryland on the #DataForUkraine project providing data on: civilian resistance (CR), human rights abuses (HRA), internally displaced people (IDP) and humanitarian support/needs (HS) during the ongoing Russian invasion of and war against Ukraine.

Onuch’s research regularly appears in leading media outlets (The Washington Post, The Times, The Guardian, BloombergTV, ABC, CTV, CBC, BBC TV World, Channel 4, 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 2019-2021 Onuch is the PhD Director at the Politics Department at UoM, and was a member of the Research Leadership Team 2015-2021. 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 (and 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 [PhD] in Politics (2010), 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.



I am a regular contributor to and my research has appeared in/I have apeared on ABC, BBC, BloombergTV, CBC, Channel Four, CTV, 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]

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