UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Miriam Pollock

Miriam Pollock

Supervisors: Dr Ben Noble and Prof Alena Ledeneva  

Email:  miriam.pollock.21@ucl.ac.uk 

Present status: MPhil Candidate; UCL Research Excellence Scholarship award holder 

Working title of thesis: The impact of regime type on environmental policy: Large Lakes in Russia, Kazakhstan, and the United States 

Research: Do democracies produce better environmental outcomes? As the pace of climate change accelerates, biodiversity conservation efforts lose out to corporate and extractive interests, and news of extreme weather events and environmental disasters proliferates, it is more critical than ever to understand which factors lead to good environmental policy. While many assume that democracies are better at protecting the environment, the reality is somewhat more complex. 

My research will interrogate the relationship between regime type and environmental policy through a mixed-methods examination of water resource policy in authoritarian, hybrid, and democratic regimes. In particular, I plan to research the making of environmental policy toward large lakes in three countries: Lake Baikal in Russia, Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan, and Lake Michigan in the United States. The study will take a comparative longitudinal approach, assessing whether Russian policy shifted noticeably in line with that country’s authoritarian turn during the period 2000-2020 – and whether Kazakhstani and US policy remained relatively consistent, in line with each country’s relatively stable regime type over that same time period. 

My focus will be how various actors have influenced the policy response to industrial disasters and point-pollution problems at each lake, with an eye to assessing whether and to what degree the regime type shapes the political opportunity structure for these actors. 

Research interests: Environmental politics, authoritarian and non-democratic regimes, Russia, Kazakhstan, US, contentious politics, public policy, elite theory, state capture, water resource policy 

Research Centre Affiliation: UCL Centre for New Economic Transitions; Politics and Sociology Seminar Series; Russian Studies Seminar Series