George W. Breslauer
University of California, Berkeley
Political scientist; Academic administrator; Educator
Public Affairs, Business, and Administration
Educational and Academic Leadership
Shaped the field of Soviet and post-Soviet studies through scores of articles, a dozen books, and more than two decades as editor of Post-Soviet Affairs. As Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at University of California, Berkeley (2006-2014), he helped lead the university through its most difficult times since the Great Depression. Books on Khrushchev and Brezhnev as leaders and Gorbachev and Yeltsin as leaders applied social science thinking to understanding how these leaders formed coalitions to accumulate the authority to deal with the problems of the Soviet and Russian systems. He also studied foreign policy learning (learning in U.S. and Soviet foreign policy) and Soviet foreign policy in Africa, the Middle East, and the Third World. Finally, in articles over the years he explored Soviet futures, the uses of counterfactual reasoning, and the role of Sovietology. As an administrator he provided leadership for Berkeley's Center for Slavic and East European studies (1982-94), its Department of Political Science (1993-96), its Division of Social Sciences (1999-2006) and the entire university as executive vice chancellor and provost. In the last role he helped Berkeley maintain its preeminence as a public university despite large cut-backs in state funding.