Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Brusis, Martin

Dr. Martin Brusis

Affiliated Researcher –
Former Postdoc –
Former Principal Investigator


International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)
Strömsborg, SE-103 34

Website: Webprofile (IDEA)
Website: Private Website
Website: Webprofile at Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai

Research Projects

Governing in Post-Soviet States. Traditions, Reform Discourses and Institutional Politics

Postdoctoral Project at the Graduate School

Governments in many post-Soviet states are characterized by centralization, informal coordination, personal dependencies and institutional instability. Directly elected presidents and their administrations define and supervise the discretion of prime ministers, ministers and ministerial officials. These models of governing are fraught with numerous coordination problems that necessitate institutional reforms and have led several states to initiate projects of constitutional or administrative reform. Domestic reformers have frequently resorted to foreign advisers and have drawn on international ideas and approaches. The project intends to compare the trajectories and outcomes of these efforts in Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. The hybrid political regimes in these states are situated on the continuum between deficient democracy and electoral authoritarianism. They depend more on foreign support than Russia or the Eurasian states with natural resources. While changes of government in Georgia, Moldova, where associated with overcoming Soviet legacies, all three states are less subject to influences from the European Union than, for example, the Southeast European states. The project seeks to reconstruct and explain the paths of these state as interactions between Soviet and autochthonous traditions of governing, reform discourses and the incorporation of foreign ideas, and the institutional policies of domestic political actors. It is assumed that imported rules acquire institutional legitimacy, if they are supported by broad coalitions of actors and linked to existing state and administrative traditions. This focus of research is based on interpretationist approaches of executive studies that view governance as a result of practices, narratives and traditions political actors refer to. Previous studies in the project have shown that the availability of legitimizing ideas strongly influences the relations between states and economic actors in Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. In addition, the project builds on previous work that has explored the emergence of national varieties of executive governance.

Please also see an overview of his project in the Graduate School's Newsletter Nr. 8, Sommersemester 2017.

For further current and former research projects by Martin Brusis, please see Martin's private website.

Curriculum Vitae

Senior Programme Officer with the Democracy Assessment and Political Analysis (DAPA) team at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Stockholm, since December 2018. Associate Professor, Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty for European Studies, Cluj-Napoca, October 2016 – November 2018. Principal Investigator, Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, University of Munich, since July 2013. Managing Director of the project network “Institutions and Institutional Change in Postsocialism”, Munich University, 2010-2015. Visiting Professor of Comparative Government, University of Heidelberg, 2009-2010. Project director at the Center for Applied Policy Research, Munich University, 1995-2009. Research fellow at Humboldt University Berlin and London School of Economics, 1999-2001. Researcher at the Institute of East European Studies, Free University of Berlin, 1992-1994. 1995 Ph.D. in Sociology, Free University of Berlin. 1986-91 Studies of political science, public law, sociology and slavic languages at the universities of Marburg and Berlin. Guest researcher at the Kazakh National University Al-Farabi (Almaty) in 2014, the University of Wales (Aberystwyth) in 2005, the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1999 to 2000, an the Eötvös-Loránd-Universität (Budapest) from 1992 to 1993.

Positions, Assignments and Memberships

  • Advisory Boards to the “Transformation Index” and “Sustainable Governance Indicators” projects, Bertelsmann Foundation, since 2003/2008
  • Thesis Committee Member, European University Institute (2012), Committee of Regions (2008)


List of publications (Martin Brusis' private website)