Dr Kevork Oskanian

Dr Kevork Oskanian

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

Contact details

Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (Room 520)
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Kevork Oskanian joined POLSIS as a Research Fellow in 2014; he currently convenes the postgraduate modules on ‘Diplomacy and Statecraft’ and ‘International Relations Theory’.


  • PhD in International Relations, London School of Economics, 2011
  • PGCert in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, London School of Economics, 2010
  • MSc in International Relations (Distinction), Royal Holloway, University of London, 2006
  • BA (Hons) in Politics and Government, The Open University, 1999


I was awarded my MSc (Distinction) in International Relations by Royal Holloway, University of London in 2006 and my PhD in the same subject by the London School of Economics in 2011. My PhD thesis (supervised by Dr. Roy Allison and Prof. Barry Buzan) was based on a conceptual expansion of Regional Security Complex Theory’s hybrid, material/ideational approach, and its application to the conflicts of the South Caucasus. 

I am also a former co-editor of the Millennium Journal of International Studies, and have previously taught International Security, International Relations Theory and International Political Economy at the London School of Economics and the University of Westminster.

I tweet at @DrKevorkO and blog at http://kovkaz.blogspot.com/, as well as contributing occasionally to Open Democracy, The Conversation, and the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. 

Apart from English, I also have a fluent command of Dutch, Armenian (Western and Eastern), German and French, and knowledge of both Russian and modern Greek.


My research profile incorporates three distinct strands of scholarship: firstly, an engagement with theories of International Security and International Relations that combine material and ideational elements, including constructivism, various forms of realism, and the Copenhagen School; secondly, a concern with the role of various - liberal, post-colonial - ideologies in the strategic behaviour of Western and non-Western actors; and, thirdly, a more empirical focus on the (inter)regional politics of the former Soviet Union.

This has most recently resulted in research on the role of the Russian and Soviet imperial legacies in the politics of contemporary Eurasia. Combining historical and discursive methodologies, I examine conditions in the former Soviet space from a combined post-colonial and constructivist perspective, albeit one adapted to Russia’s perceived position between East and West, through the operationalization of a new concept - ‘hybrid exceptionalism’.

Building on previous theoretical work on the Copenhagen School, I have now also initiated a more theoretically centred research project on ‘micro-securitisations’: it aims to turn Securitisation Theory’s top-down perspective into one acknowledging the dialectical and chaotic nature of societies’ often incompatible security narratives, capturing a range of phenomena emerging from disconnects between elites and their general populations: among others state weakness, populism, and information wars.

Other activities

Research Associate at the Foreign Policy Centre, London.



Oskanian, K. (2013). Fear, Weakness and Power in the Post-Soviet South Caucasus: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis.  Basingstoke: Palgrave. 

Articles in Academic Journals:

Oskanian, K. (2019, Forthcoming) ‘Carr Goes East: Reconsidering Power and Inequality in a Post-Liberal Eurasia’, European Politics and Society

Oskanian, K. (2018) ‘A Very Ambiguous Empire: Russia’s Hybrid Exceptionalism’, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 70 No. 1, 26-52, DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2017.1412398. 

Oskanian K. (2016) ‘The Balance Strikes Back: Constraints, Perceptions, and Ideology in Georgian Foreign Policy, 1992-2014’, Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 628-652, DOI: 10.1093/fpa/orw010. 

Friedman, R., Oskanian, K. and Pacheco-Pardo, R. (2010).  ‘Editors’ Introduction: After Liberalism?’, Millennium Journal of International Studies, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 499-508. 

Edited Volumes (as Editor):

Averre, D. and Oskanian, K. (Eds.) (2018, In Press) Security, Society, and the State in the Caucasus.  London: Routledge. 

Friedman, R., Oskanian, K. and Pacheco-Pardo, R. (Eds.) (2013) After Liberalism? The Future of Liberalism in International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave. 

Chapters in Edited Volumes:

Averre, D., Oskanian, K. & Delcour, L. (2018, forthcoming) ‘Security and Democracy in the Caucasus: the Interaction of State and Society’ in Averre, D. and Oskanian, K. (Eds.) Security, Society and the State in the Caucasus. London: Routledge. 

Oskanian, K. (2018) ‘Russia’s Polycentrism, from Europe to Eurasia’ in Murray, D. and Brown, D. (Eds.) Power Relations in the Twenty-First Century: Mapping a Multipolar World? Oxford: Routledge, pp. 173-190. 

Oskanian, K. and Averre, D. (2018) ‘Security and Democratisation: the Case of the South Caucasus’ in P. Flenley and M. Mannin (Eds.) The EU and its Eastern Neighbourhood: Europeanisation and Its Twenty-First Century Contradictions.  Manchester: Manchester University Press. 

Oskanian, K. (2015) ‘Citizenship or Ethnicity? National Identity and Insecurity in Southern Caucasia’ in G. Nodia and C. H. Stefes (Eds.) Security, Democracy and Development in the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp. 137-158. 

Oskanian, K. (2015) ‘Trapped between Two Visions: the Black Sea, Ukraine, and Regional Security’ in A. Shirinyan and L. Slavkova (Eds.) Unrewarding Crossroads? The Black Sea Region amidst the European Union and Russia.  Sofia: Sofia Platform, pp. 216-232. 

Oskanian, K. (2015) 'Armenia: Stuck in Eurasia' in A. Hug (Ed.) Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The Future of the EU's Eastern Partnership.  London: Foreign Policy Centre, pp. 52-56. 

Friedman, R., Oskanian, K. and Pacheco-Pardo, R. (2013). ‘Introduction’ and ‘Conclusion’ in R. Friedman, K. Oskanian and R. Pacheco-Pardo (Eds.) After Liberalism? The Future of Liberalism in International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 1-11 & 288-297. 

Oskanian, K. (2010, 15 June). Turkey and the Caucasus in Turkey’s Global Strategy.  London: Ideas, available at http://www.lse.ac.uk/IDEAS/publications/reports/pdf/SR007/caucusus.pdf 

Working Papers (Peer-reviewed):

Oskanian, K. and Averre, D. (2016). Security and Democracy in the Caucasus. Brussels: CASCADE, available at: http://www.cascade-caucasus.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CASCADE-D2.2.pdf 

Oskanian, K. and Averre, D. (2015). Conceptual Framework. Brussels: CASCADE. 

Book Reviews:

Oskanian, K. (2016). Book Review – Ohannnes Geukjian, Negotiating Armenian-Azerbaijani Peace: Opportunities, Obstacles, Prospects. Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society 2 (2), pp. 240-241 

Oskanian, K. (2008).  Book Review - George A. MacLean, Clinton’s Foreign Policy in Russia: From Deterrence and Isolation to Democratisation and Engagement.  Millennium Journal of International Studies 37 (1), pp. 234-235 

Other (Selected):

Oskanian, K. (2018, 30 May) Russia’s Imperial Mindset Dates Back Centuries – and It Is Here to Stay. The Conversation, available at https://theconversation.com/russias-imperial-mindset-dates-back-centuries-and-it-is-here-to-stay-95832 

Oskanian, K. (2017, 13 April) Why Russia and the US Struggle to Understand Each Other’s Behaviour.  The Conversation, available at https://theconversation.com/why-russia-and-the-us-struggle-to-understand-each-others-behaviour-76130 

Oskanian, K. (2016, 4 April) How War in Nagorno-Karabakh Could Spread – and Become a Major Problem for Europe.  The Conversation, available at https://theconversation.com/how-war-in-nagorno-karabakh-could-spread-and-become-a-major-problem-for-europe-57241 

Oskanian, K. (2016, 2 February) Convenient Jihadis: Russia and the Instrumentalisation of Radicalism. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, available at http://journal.georgetown.edu/convenient-jihadis-russia-and-the-instrumentalization-of-radicalism/  

Oskanian K. (2015) The Ties That Bind: War, History and Power in and around Today’s Russia. Eastbook, available at http://eastbook.eu/en/2015/05/material-en/featured-en/the-ties-that-bind-war-history-and-power-in-and-around-todays-russia/ 

Oskanian, K. (2015) Armenia’s Foreign Policy: between Dependence and Complementarity. Opendemocracy, available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/kevork-oskanian/armenia’s-foreign-policy-between-dependence-and-complementarity 

Oskanian, K. (2014). Nationalism Sparks a Summer of Deadly Violence in the Caucasus. The Conversation, available at https://theconversation.com/nationalism-sparks-a-summer-of-deadly-violence-in-the-caucasus-30933 

Oskanian, K. (2014). The Empire That Will Not Speak Its Name. Eastbook, available at http://eastbook.eu/en/2014/03/material-en/news-en/the-empire-that-will-not-speak-its-name/ 

Oskanian, K. (2014). Balancing Ukraine. Foreign Policy Centre, available at https://fpc.org.uk/balancing-ukraine/ 

Oskanian, K. (2013). Kant versus Machiavelli in Russia’s Near Abroad. Foreign Policy Centre, available at https://fpc.org.uk/kant-versus-machiavelli-in-russias-near-abroad/ 

Oskanian, K. (2013). Taming the Bear? Germany and Europe’s Fragile Eastern Frontier. LSE Euro Crisis in the Press, available at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/2013/09/24/taming-the-bear-germany-and-europes-fragile-eastern-frontier/ 

Oskanian, K. (2013). Putin’s Caucasus Surprise: a Portent of Worse to Come? Foreign Policy Centre, available at https://fpc.org.uk/putins-caucasus-surprise-a-portent-of-worse-to-come/ 

Oskanian, K. (2013). The English School as Global Crossroads: from Methodological Eclecticism to Cultural Pluralism. e-IR, available at http://www.e-ir.info/2013/08/03/the-english-school-as-global-crossroads-from-methodological-eclecticism-to-cultural-pluralism/ 

Oskanian, K. (2013). FPC Briefing: Putin’s Eurasian Union - from Pre-electoral Sideshow to Quest for Empire? Foreign Policy Centre, available at https://fpc.org.uk/fpc-briefing-putins-eurasian-union-from-pre-electoral-sideshow-to-quest-for-empire/ 

Oskanian, K. (2013). Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan: Between Russia and the West. Foreign Policy Centre, available at https://fpc.org.uk/armenia-georgia-and-azerbaijan-between-russia-and-the-west/

View all publications in research portal