Areas of interest:

  • comparative political science;
  • political regimes;
  • institutional design;
  • informal political institutions;
  • theory of bureaucracy and administrative reform;
  • methodologies of political research.

PhD in political science, researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Ural Branch).

Graduated with honors from the Urals Institute of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Yekaterinburg, with a degree in «State and Municipal Administration». Defended graduate thesis with a specialisation in «Theory and Philosophy of Politics, History and Methodology of Political Science» at the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Ural Branch) in 2018.

Chevening Scholarship fellow and graduate student in Political Analysis (Russia and Eastern Europe) at University College London in 2018−2019. Recipient of Russian Federation Presidential Scholarship (2013) and Sverdlovsk Region Gubernational Scholarship (2012).

Laureate of the international olympics of the National Research University Higher School of Economic in «State and Municipal Administration» (2013−2014). Author of 19 academic articles.

Academic publications (selection):

Melnikov K. V. Neopatrimonializm: osnovnyye problemy kontseptualizatsii i metodologicheskiy potentsial novoy institutsional’noy teorii [Neopatrimonialism: principal issues in the conceptualisation and methodological potential of new institutional theories]. Ph. D dissertation at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Moscow, 2018.

Melnikov K. V. Neopatrimonializm: klassifikatsiya kak sposob preodoleniya kontseptnykh natyazhek [Neopatrimonialism. Classification as a means of overcoming misconceptions]. In: Polis: Journal of Political Studies 2018. №. 2.

Melnikov K. V. Neopatrimonializm v kontekste tipologii politicheskikh rezhimov [Neopatrimonialism in the context of political regime typology]. In: Nauchnyy yezhegodnik Instituta filosofii i prava Ural’skogo otdeleniya Rossiyskoy akademii nauk. Yekaterinburg 2017. Vol. 17, No. 3.

Melnikov K. V. Kliyentelizm kak opredelyayushchaya cherta neopatrimonial’nykh rezhimov [Clientelism as a distinguishing feature of neopatrimonial regimes]. In: Voprosy upravleniya 2017. No. 1 (44).

Melnikov K. V. Otsenka transformatsii podkhodov k opredeleniyu neopatrimonializma [Assessing change in the approach to the definition of neopatrimonialism]. In: Voprosy upravleniya 2016. No. 6 (43).

Participation in conferences:

The Chatham House London Conference 2019. «A Rules-Based International Order: Preservation and Modernization.»

X All-Russian Assembly of Young Political Scientists. Perm, 2017. Paper: Nepotism in neopatrimonial regimes.

Modern Russia in the Labyrinths of Development. Yekaterinburg, 2017 Paper: Public administration as a system. The neopatrimonial interpretation.

State, Politics, Society: Challenges and Strategic Developmental Priorities. Yekaterinburg, 2014. Paper: Contradictions of public service paradigms in Russia.

State, Politics, Society: Challenges and Strategic Developmental Priorities. Yekaterinburg, 2014. Paper: Self-management reform in Sverdlovsk Region. Reasons for deviations from the philosophy of change.

The goal of the present project is to more clearly understand the functioning of informal networks among Russia’s regional elites. Using the example of the Sverdlovsk region, the project considers the upper echelon of the region’s political-administrative elite from two vantages. First, the apparatus of network analysis will help to elucidate the personally oriented interactions of its members. Factors considered include the presence or absence of professional or educational histories together before taking up at a higher political or administrative post. Second of all, the study makes one of the first ever attempts in political science to undertake a quantitative analysis of the formal administrative weight of bureaucrats. The combination of these two indicators will shed light upon the project’s central research question, namely: to which degree does a position in an informal network determine how much access a particular member of the regional political elite has to formal official resources.

Another goal is to elucidate the structure and dynamics of informal elite networks in the Sverdlovsk Region, in pursuit of the following questions: 1) Does the informal network include independent players not connected with other network nodes? 2) Who forms the core of the network, and what are the socio-biographical sources of its formation? 3) What is on the informal network’s periphery? Which posts do its members occupy, and are there significant distinctions of their formal status from the network core, and if so, then do the rule and principles used in recruiting differ among positions for these two groups? 4) Can one identify cliques in the networks? What are the sources of differentiation? Are there bridges between them, and is the construction of such bridges a conscious strategy among network leaders? 5) How does the network’s structure change with the change of governors, and what are the factors affecting possible changes? 6) Is there a difference in networking strategy between local leaders and «carpetbaggers» who build their careers in distant regions?

The study confirms the hypothesis that the most significant formal posts in the regional administration of Sverdlovsk Region fall to the network’s central figures. Meanwhile the key criterion used in recruiting for such posts is previous experience of successfully working together. At the same time, it proves impossible to uphold the dichotomy between loyalty and competency often mentioned in the existing research of bureaucratic patronage. Network leaders search for points of balance between these parameters, though not always in obvious ways, when they chose candidates in key resource positions. Peripheral position in the power elite can fall to proteges of other elite groupings (foremost, from the business community).