People at Political Science

George Breslauer

Professor Emeritus
510 642-4655
502 Social Sciences Building
Academic Subfields
Research Interests
Political Leadership
Personal Statement

Professor Breslauer received his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. His interest areas include Soviet and Post-Soviet/Russian politics and foreign relations. He teaches courses on Soviet and Post-Soviet politics and foreign policy and in April, 1997, he was a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Division of Social Sciences. In July 1998, he was appointed Chancellor's Professor at UC Berkeley for combining distinguished achievement at the highest level in research, teaching, and service. In August 1999, he was appointed Dean of the Social Sciences Division in the College of Letters and Science. His publications include Krushchev and Brezhnev as Leaders (London: Allen and Unwin, 1982); "Evaluating Gorbachev as Leader," Soviet Economy (Oct-Dec 1989); and "Counterfactual Reasoning in Western Studies of Soviet Politics and Foreign Relations," in P. Tetlock and A. Belkin, eds., Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). In July 2006, Prof. Breslauer was appointed Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost,the Chief Academic Officer of the Berkeley campus.


Gorbachev and Yeltsin as Leaders (2002)

How did Gorbachev and Yeltsin get away with transforming and replacing the Soviet system and its foreign relations? Why did they act as they did in pushing for such radical changes? And how will history evaluate their accomplishments? In this unique and original study, George W. Breslauer compares and evaluates the leadership strategies adopted by Gorbachev and Yeltsin at each stage of their administrations: political rise, political ascendancy, and political decline. He demonstrates how these men used the power of ideas to mobilize support for their policies, to seize the initative from political rivals, and to mold their images as effective problem solvers, indispensable politicians, and symbol of national unity and élan. Gorbachev and Yeltsin as Leaders also compares these men with Khrushchev and Brezhnev, yielding new insight into the nature of Soviet and post-Soviet politics and into the dynamics of "transformational" leadership more generally. The book is an important contribution to the analysis and evaluation of political leadership. It is exceptionally well written and accessible to the nonspecialist.


Soviet Policy in Africa: From the Old to the New Thinking (1992)

During Spring 1991, the fall of Mengistu's government in Ethiopia, and the victory of insurgent forces in that country, along with an agreement between the MPLA and UNITA to end the Angolan civil war, symbolized an end to a decade-and-a-half of regional conflicts in which the superpowers had become heavily engaged. The authors of the research chapters in this volume were asked to analyze the content, scope, and sources of changes in Soviet policy and thinking regarding regional conflicts in Africa.