Dr David White

Dr David White

Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies
Lecturer in Political Science

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 8237
+44 (0)121 414 3423
Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


PhD Russian and East European Studies (Birmingham)
Thesis Title: 'The Yabloko Party in Russia, 1993-2003'
Supervision provided by Dr E.T. Bacon and Dr. K Wolczuk (CREES)

MA Political Science (Birmingham)
Awarded the JD Armstrong Prize for excellence in examinations and course-work

BA (Hons) Politics and History (First Class) (Wolverhampton)


I was formerly a member of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES) from 2000, formerly as a PhD student and, since 2003 as a member of the academic staff, joining POLSIS in 2012. I entered into academia at a relatively late stage, not taking my undergraduate degree until my mid-30s following a career in the travel industry.

My research interests are in the dynamics between power and opposition and the relationship between state capacity and regime consolidation in electoral authoritarian systems. I have a broad interest in Russian domestic politics, particularly the evolution of the party system and specifically the development of the liberal-democratic and opposition forces.


I am the convenor of the following modules:

  • Twentieth Century Russian Politics (year 1)
  • Contemporary Russian and East European Politics (years 2/3)
  • Democracy and Democratisation in Contemporary Europe (year 3)

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervised doctoral students on topics relating to the role of the Catholic Church in Russia, the role of the party of power in Russia, pro-Kremlin youth movements, official discourse on Chechnya, the role of youth movements in Georgia and Ukraine, political developments in Belarus (all successfully completed).

I welcome enquiries from anyone interested in postgraduate research study in any of my areas of research (see below).


Research Interests

  • Power and opposition in electoral authoritarian systems
  • State capacity and regime consolidation in electoral authoritarian systems
  • Post-communist political parties and party systems
  • Democracy and authoritarianism
  • Putin's 'fellow travellers' – the relationship between the Kremlin and right- and left-wing political forces in Europe and beyond.
  • Russian political opposition in exile
  • Humour and social protest and popular music and protest

Research Awards:


2009-11: ESRC 2-year project on the Future of Political Opposition in Russia’s Managed Democracy (2009-2011). Award: £50,000

2011: ASSC seed-corn funding for collaborative project with Dr John Round (School of Geography, University of Birmingham and Higher School of Economics, Moscow) into the 'lived experience' of electoral authoritarianism in Russia

2013-14: British Academy Award:  ‘Raising the costs of authoritarian rule: Russian political opposition in Putin's third term’, 2013-14, £7787

In 2010 I organised a conference on 'Party Politics in Russia' which was held in Birmingham in June 2010. The papers given at the conference were published in a special issue (which I guest-edited) of East European Politics (vol. 28, no. 3, September 2012). Contributors include Richard Sakwa, Neil Robinson, Paul Chaisty, Sean Roberts, Luke March, Derek Hutcheson, Edwin Bacon and Maya Atwal and myself.

Combined with my earlier PhD research on the Yabloko party I have developed a network of contacts with the Russian democratic opposition (broadly defined). Today's opposition, of course, may be tomorrow's political leaders, even in an electoral authoritarian system such as Russia!

Other activities

I have a particular concern for teaching quality issues reflected in my activities as CREES Head of Academic Programmes (2006-2011) and latterly as CREES Director of Learning and Teaching. Prior to that I was the admissions tutor for CREES.

From 2013-2016 I was a welfare tutor and extenuating circumstances officer. In the 2016-17 academic year I will be dissertation convenor.



White, D (2006) The Russian Democratic Party Yabloko: Opposition in a Managed Democracy, Ashgate

Journal Articles:

White, D (forthcoming – 2017) 'State Capacity and Regime Resilience in Putin's Russia', International Political Science Review.

White, D and Herzog, M (forthcoming – 2017) 'Relating state capacity to authoritarian regime formation and consolidation in Turkey and Russia', Journal of South East European and Black Sea Studies.

White, D (2015) 'Political opposition in Russia: the challenges of mobilisation and the political-civil society nexus', East European Politics, vol. 31, no. 3, pp 314-325.

White, D (2013) 'Taking it to the streets: Raising the costs of electoral authoritarianism in Russia', Perspectives on European Politics and Society, vol. 14, no. 4, pp 582-598.

White, D (2013) 'Russian Liberalism in Crisis? Khodorkovsky Revisited', Studies of Transition States and Societies, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 69-84.

White, D (2012) Editor of special issue of East European Politics (formerly Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics), Party Politics in Russia, vol. 28, no. 3.

White, D (2012) 'Reconceptualising Russian Party Politics', East European Politics, vol. 28, no. 2, pp 210-224

White, D (2011) 'Dominant party systems: a framework for conceptualising opposition strategies in Russia', Democratization, vol. 18, no. 3, pp 655-681.

White, D (2007) 'Victims of a managed democracy? Explaining the electoral decline of the Yabloko Party', Demokratizatsiya, vol. 15, no. 2, pp 209-229.

White, D (2005) 'Going Their Own Way: Understanding the Yabloko Party’s Opposition to Unification', Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, vol. 21, no. 4, pp 462-486.


Russian politics, including: domestic politics, elections, political parties, opposition forces, democratisation, foreign policy

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office