Department of Political Science


Dr Kalina Zhekova

Kalina wears a pink top and black blazer and smiles into the camera
Lecturer (Teaching) in Political Science
Room: B.15, 29/30 Tavistock Square
Email: kalina.zhekova@ucl.ac.uk


I am a Lecturer (Teaching) in Political Science, Departmental Graduate Tutor and Co-Director of the Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics (CPP). I earned my PhD in Russian Foreign Policy and International Relations at the University of Leeds, and I completed an MA (Distinction) in International Politics at the University of Hull.

I work in the field of international studies, war and conflict, with particular focus on Russian approaches to military intervention and state sovereignty within and outside of the post-Soviet space. I have extensive responsibilities for educational provision, student support and academic progression. My work has been recognised as making an outstanding contribution to student learning and educational experience. I hold a UCL Provost Education Award for Academic Support and two UCL Social & Historical Sciences Faculty Education Awards.


My current research focuses on Russian foreign policy and military interventions in the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, and Russian collective (mis-)conceptions of state sovereignty and relations with the West. I am interested in interpretivist and poststructuralist approaches to Russian politics, and I examine the development of external and internal threat constructions, notions of inter-ethnic identities and their mobilisation in the process of policymaking, war and violence. I apply this approach to the study of Russian armed interventions in Syria, Georgia and the war in Ukraine.


Journal articles
Blog articles


I lead a third-year undergraduate module informed by my research in Russian foreign policy: ‘Russia and the West: Conflicts and Interventions’ (POLS0105). I also teach two postgraduate methods modules: ‘Qualitative Methods: Texts and Images’ (PUBL0085) and ‘Qualitative Methods: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis’ (PUBL0086).

As CPP Co-Director, I lead a range of activities to support education-focused academics in conducting and disseminating pedagogical research. As Graduate Tutor, I have oversight and responsibility for pastoral care provision and academic support of all postgraduate students in the Department of Political Science. I previously served as Co-Director of the MSc programme in International Public Policy.