Harley D. Balzer

Harley Balzer
Harley D. Balzer
Associate Professor

Associate Professor

Harley Balzer is Associate Professor of Government and International Affairs and an Associate Faculty Member of the Department of History at Georgetown University. From 1987 to August 2001 he served as Director of the University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies 

Dr. Balzer earned a BA in History and Political Science Magna Cum Laude at Washington University (St. Louis) and MA and PhD degrees in History from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught at Grinnell College and Boston University, and has held post-doctoral fellowships at the Harvard university Russian Research Center and at MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society. During 1982-83 he was a Congressional Fellow in the office of Congressman Lee Hamilton, where his duties included helping to secure Congressional authorization of the Soviet and East European Research and Training Act of 1983 (now known as Title VIII), legislation that has provided approximately $5 million per year for study of the Soviet Bloc and its successor states. During 1996-97 he was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the US Institute of Peace. 

During 1993 Dr. Balzer took a partial leave from Georgetown to serve as Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of the International Science Foundation, an organization established by George Soros to disburse $100 million to support basic science in the countries of the former Soviet Union. He was responsible for ISF’s program of peer-reviewed research grants and its telecommunications initiative, which evolved into a separate, $130 million program. Since 1997 he has been a member of the Governing Council of the Basic Research and Higher Education Program for Russian universities, administered by the Civilian Research and Development Foundation with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Russian Ministry of Education. The program currently supports 16 centers for research and education at universities in 15 cities across Russia. 

Dr. Balzer’s research interests include political economy, Russian domestic politics, education, Russian and Soviet social history, science and technology, and US-Russian relations. 

He is currently completing work on three major projects. One is a comparative analysis of Russian and Chinese integration with the global economy. The second, focusing on current Russian political conditions, is tentatively titled “Russia’s Dilemmas: Putin, Population and Petroleum.” The third deals with financing higher education in The Russian Empire, the USSR, and the Russian Federation, with the working title “State-Private Partnerships in Russian Higher Education: Historical Models and Current Policy.” 

Dr. Balzer twice lived in the Soviet Union for a year under the auspices of IREX, Fulbright-Hays and the Academy of Sciences. He travels regularly to Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union.

  • Ph.D. (1980) University of Pennsylvania, History
  • M.A. (1973) University of Pennsylvania, History
  • B.A. (1969) Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.), History and Political Science


Harley Balzer, Julian Cooper and Illka Linnako. Science, Technology and Innovation Policies: Federation of Russia. Evaluation Report . Paris: OECD, 1994.

Harley Balzer. Soviet Science on the Edge of Reform. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1989.

Articles in journals

Harley Balzer. "“The Social Construction of Sputnik,” Essay review of Asif Siddiqi, The Red Rockets’ Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857-1957." Technology add Culture 52.3 (2011): 614-17.

Harley Balzer. "Russian Higher Education to 2020." Russian Analytical Digest (2011): 614-17.

Harley Balzer. "Obuchenie innovatsiiam v Rossii i v Kitae (Learning to Innovate in Russia and China)." Pro et Contra (2010): 52-71.

Harley Balzer and Maria Repnikova. "Migration Between China and Russia." Post-Soviet Affairs 26.1 (2010).

Harley Balzer. "New Approaches to Russian Political Science and Security Studies,." Demokratizatsiya 16.3 (2008): 212-228.

Harley Balzer. "Russia and China in the Global Economy." Demokratizatsiya 16.1 (2008): 37-48.

Harley Balzer. "Vladimir Putin’s Academic Writings and Russian Natural Resource Policy." Problems of Post-Communism 53.1 (2006): 48-54.

Harley Balzer. "The Putin Thesis and Russian Energy Policy." Post-Soviet Affairs 21.3 (2005): 210-225.

Harley Balzer. "Ordinary Russians? Rethinking August 1991." Demokratizatsiya 13.2 (2005): 193-218.

Harley Balzer. "Upravliaemyi pliuralism: formiruiushchiisia rezhim V. Putina." Obshchestvennyi nauki i sovremennost’ (2004): 46-59.

Harley Balzer. "An Acceptable Past: Memory in the Russian Extrication from Communism." Ab Impirio (2004): 449-468.

Harley Balzer. "Routinization of the New Russians?." Russian Review Vol. 62 No. 1 (January 2003), pp. 11-36. 62.1 (2003): 11-36.

Harley Balzer. "Demography and Democracy in Russia: Human Capital Challenges to Democratic Consolidation." Demokratizatsiya 11.1 (2003): 95-109.

Harley Balzer. "Managed Pluralism: Vladimir Putin’s Emerging Regime." Post-Soviet Affairs 19.3 (2003): 189-226.

Harley Balzer. "Russia’s Middle Classes." Post-Soviet Affairs 14.2 (1998): 165-186.

Harley Balzer. "From Hypercentralization to Diversity: Continuing Efforts to Restructure Soviet Education." Technology in Society (1990): 123-149.

Harley Balzer. "Soviet Education in 1988." Journal of Comparative Education (1988).

Harley Balzer. "Is Less More? Soviet Science in the Gorbachev Era." Issues in Science and Technology (1985): 29-46.

Harley Balzer. "The Soviet Union: Scientific and Technical Education." The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 38.7 (1982): 24-29.

Articles in books

Harley Balzer. "Russia and the Limits of Authoritarian Resilience." Can We Manage A Declining Russia?. Ed. Richard Weitz. Washington DC: Hudson Institute, 2011: 85-117

Harley Balzer and Leah Gilbert. "Civil Society." Routledge Handbook of Russian Politics & Society. Ed. Graeme Smith. London and New York: Routledge, 2011.

Harley Balzer. "AIDS and Security in Russia." HIV-AIDS in Russia and Eurasia . Ed. Judyth Twigg. New York: Palgrave, 2006: 181-205

Harley Balzer. "State and Society in Transitions from Communism: China in Comparative Perspective." State and Society in 21st Century China: Crisis, Contention and Legitimation. Ed. Peter Gries and Stanley Rosen. London and New York: Routledge, 2004: 235-256

Harley Balzer. "Comment on Saskia Sassen’s ‘The Global City: Introducing a Concept." New Global History and the City. Ed. Elliott Morss. Newton Center, MA: New Global History Press (Toynbee Foundation), 2004: 55-60

Harley Balzer. "Intelligentnye professii i intelligenty-professionaly” (Intelligentsia Professionals and Professional Intelligenty." Iz istorii russkoi intelligentsii. Ed. O. N. Ansberg, L. A. Bulgakova and I. V. Selivanova. St. Petersburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 2003: 201-231

Harley Balzer. "Public-Private Partnerships in Russian Education: Historical Models and Lessons." Extending the Borders of Russian History: Essays in Honor of Alfred J. Rieber. Ed. Marsha Siefert. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2003: 457-479

Harley Balzer. "Human Capital and Russian Security in the 21st Century." Russia After the Fall. Ed. Andrew Kuchins. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2002: 163-184

Harley Balzer. "Russia’s Self-Denying Middle Class in the Global Age." Explaining Post-Soviet Patchworks Vol. I Actors and Sectors between Accommodation and Resistance to Globalization. Ed. Klaus Segbers. Aldershot,UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2001: 366-84

Harley Balzer. "Poverty, Education and White Collar Trends." Poverty in Transition. Ed. United Nations Development Program . New York: UNDP, 1998: 66-89

Harley Balzer. "Dismantling Russia’s Technotopia: Six Ministries in Search of An Industrial Policy"." Commercializing High Technology, East and West . Ed. Judith Sedaitis. : Rowman and Littlefield, 1997.

Harley Balzer. "Plans to Reform Russian Higher Education." Education and Society in the New Russia . Ed. Anthony Jones . Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1994: 27-46

Harley Balzer. "Science, Technology and Education in the Former USSR." The Former Soviet Union in Transition . Ed. U.S. Congress. Joint Economic Committee. Washington, DC: USGPO, 1993: 889-908

Harley Balzer. "Educating Scientific-Technical Revolutionaries?: Continuing Efforts to Restructure Soviet Higher Education." Soviet Education Under Perestroika. Ed. John Dunstan . London: Routledge, 1992: 164-195

Harley Balzer. "The Problem of Professions in Imperial Russia." Between Tsar and People: Educated Society and the Quest for Public Identity in Late Imperial Russia . Ed. Edith W. Clowes, Samuel D. Kassow and James L. West. Princeton, NY: Princeton University Press, 1991: 183-198

Harley Balzer. "Engineers: The Rise and Decline of a Social Myth." Science and the Soviet Social Order . Ed. Loren Graham. cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990: 141-167

Harley Balzer. "Secondary Technical Education in Russia/USSR: The Muddled Middle Level." Education and Economic Development Since the Industrial Revolution . Ed. Gabriel Tortella . Valencia, Spain: Generalitat Valenciana, 1990: 289-305

Harley Balzer. "Education, Science and Technology." The Soviet Union Today: An Interpretive Guide . Ed. James Cracraft. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988: 233-243

Harley Balzer. "The Soviet Scientific-Technical Revolution: Education of Cadres." The Status of Soviet Civil Science . Ed. Craig Sinclair . Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987: 3-18

Harley Balzer. "Workers Faculties and the Development of Science Cadres in the First Decade of Soviet Power." The Social Direction of the Public Sciences: The Cognitive Significance of Co-operation between Scientists and Non-scientific Groups . Ed. Stuart Blume et al.. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel, 1987: 193-211

Edited books

Harley D. Balzer, ed. Russia’s Missing Middle Class: The Professions in Russian History. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1996.

Harley D. Balzer, ed. Five Years that Shook the World: Gorbachev’s Unfinished Revolution. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991.


Maria Repikova and Harley Balzer, "Chinese Migration to Russia: Missed Opportunities," Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Comparative Urban Studies Project, The Eurasian Migration Papers, No. 2. .