Nicole M Ford, Ph.D.


University of Tampa

Year of PhD: 2017

Phone: 8137865715

Country: United States (Florida)

About Me:

Currently, I am teaching Comparative Politics at the University of Tampa.  I received my Ph.D. from the University of South Florida, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies in Comparative Politics. My field of expertise is Russia, Central & Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region. I am also an expert on democratic systems and democratization more broadly, as well as democratic backsliding, authoritarianism, Russian colonialism, security, EU, hybrid war, political violence, social trust, and political participation.  Methodologically, I am versed in both frequentist and Bayesian methods using R, Stata, LaTeX, and beginning ArcGIS. 

In a past life, I've interned for Former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) where I did research for the Senator for legislation on Big Sugar and helped with constituent interfacing. I've also worked with  The United Nations, Department of Political Affairs in the NE Asia division during the Gulf War and developed nuclear threat assessments on DPRK.  I completed field research and language training in Moscow, Russia. I am also a former United States Marine.  

I was a panel participant in the United Nations Association: UN Millennium Development Goals 2013 in Tampa. While in Rochester, I was a Visiting Ph.D. Student Scholar at the University of Rochester. 

Recently, I have been a peer-reviewer for American Journal of Political Science and Political Behavior.  

You can see my invited talk at the University of Illinois-- Springfield on Ukraine here

You can visit my website here.

Research Interests

Comparative Democratization

Post-Communist Politics

Non-Democratic Regimes

Comparative Political Institutions

Research Methods & Research Design

Political Psychology

Social Trust

Institutional Trust



Political Culture

Democratic Backsliding


Post-Soviet Countries

Central Eastern Europe



European Security Cooperation

Ukraine War

Countries of Interest







Czech Republic

My Research:

I created a new multi-level measure for social trust using World Values Survey (WVS) data by combining the "generalized trust" question with the "particularized trust" question to create a more dynamic measure that better reflects the true nature of how humans trust. The new measure has three-levels:  Generalized, Particularized, and a new "Other" level.  A Bayesian HLM tested how different levels of trust impact democratic support in five nations of CEEE, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, & Georgia, controlling for country-level trust in institutions, across waves 5 & 6. It was discovered, contrary to previous research, particularized trust can have positive impacts on democratic support.

My research also suggests negative "trust in institutions" does not have a negative impact on social trust at the individual level in the post-Communist sphere, contrary to current thought.

I am currently (Spring/ Summer 2021) updating this research for the region and adding the new WVS Wave 7 data just released last year.

I am interested in properly quantifying social trust beyond the borders of the former USSR. As such, testing the generalizability of the new measure in all 43 nations of the WVS will follow.

I am also interested in Chechnya and relations between the state and its people, as well as the spread of Wahhabism in the region, and its relation to global jihadist ideologies vs ethnic nationalism. Finally, I research identity in the CEEE. Particularly, I examine nationalism, decolonialzation, and relations with the EU. 


Journal Articles:

(2022) Placing the 2020 Belarusian Protests in Historical Context: Political Attitudes and Participation during Lukashenko’s Presidency, Nationalities Papers

In the wake of the most recent protests in Belarus following the 2020 Presidential Election, it is useful to explore patterns of satisfaction with the political system, confidence in political institutions, and political participation at different points in time during President Lukashenko’s rule. We utilize Wave 3 of the World Values Study (WVS) and Wave 7 of the Joint European Values Study (EVS)/WVS to (1) analyze whether citizens’ dissatisfaction with the Belarusian government differed between 1996 and 2018, and (2) whether there was a change in political participation during that period. Responses over time suggest that satisfaction with the government and confidence in institutions was not lower in 2018 than it had been in 1996. However, as we discuss in the article, this may be an artifact of authoritarian consolidation and concern/fears about revealing preferences. We also find that the willingness to engage in protests remained more or less the same between these two time periods, especially among those dissatisfied with the political system. These results suggest that once highly dissatisfied citizens took to the streets in 2020, a number of internal and external factors might have triggered a bandwagon effect that pushed other citizens to also join the demonstrations.

Book Chapters:

(2018) "Adat" in Global Encyclopedia of Informality, University College London Press

Global Encyclopedia of Informality, with Alena Ledeneva, et. al. as part of a collaborative effort of political scientists for the FP7 ANTICORRP project: Global Encyclopedia of Informality, University College London Press in 2018. Specifically, my entry is on Adat, or informal customary practices in the North Caucasus region, particularly Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Chechen diaspora. It describes adat cultural practices, and how adat is used to circumvent Russian Federal legal authority in the region.


(2022) ‘Russia’s Ancestral Lands’ and Putin’s Justification to Invade Ukraine, The Defense Post

Russia’s ethnonationalist & irredentist designs on Ukraine.

(2022) New Slovenian PM Robert Golob Charts a Different Course With The EU And Ukraine, Australian Institute for International Affairs

New Prime Minster Robert Golob ousted right-wing populist Janez Janša. Will his new government mend fences with Brussels damaged by the previous administration, or rise to the challenge created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

(2020) ‘Muzzle Law’ Ends Poland’s Ability to Call Itself a Democracy, The Globe Post

Analysis on Poland's continued dismantling of the independent judiciary.

(2019) Has the ‘Soaring Polish Eagle’ Become a Renegade?, The Globe Post

Answers questions surrounding Poland's conflicts with Brussels regarding the rule of law, infringements on public media, immigration, & human rights.

(2019) ‘Trotsky’ Is an Icepick to the Heart of Soviet History, Foreign Policy

Analysis of Russia 1's series "Trotsky" appearing on Netflix.

(2018) Two Moscow teens were released from jail after thousands protested in the streets. Here are 5 things you need to know., The Washington Post

Analysis on the arrest of two teenage girls in March, the mass protests in August to release them, accusations of FSB provocation, & the future of civil society in Russia.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2022) MSNBC Morning Joe

April 15, 2022 Appeared with Gary Gasparov to talk about the situation in Ukraine.

(2022) WTVT

Spoke with Josh Cascio about the FBI bust of the St. Petersburg Uhuru HQ & their alleged collusion with Russia.

(2022) WFTS 28 Tampa

Interview on the situation in Ukraine. Commentary provided at end of story.

(2022) CTV Canada

Commenting on the situation in Ukraine.

(2018) WFLA

I was asked to speak regarding the upcoming Trump - Putin summit in Helsinki, as well as the election interference in the 2016 election on their Sunday morning political show before Meet the Press.

Radio Appearances:

(2023) Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE

Israel tanssii nuoralla Ukrainan ja Venäjän välillä. I spoke with Paula Vilén Foreign News Correspondent for Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE regarding news of Israel’s defensive aid to Ukraine.


Live 24/7 global Twitter space dedicated to provide reliable news and information about Russia’s war in Ukraine. We interview various experts, ranging from General Ben Hodges to multiple Ukrainian government officials. I act as both a co-host and an expert speaker on topics related to Ukraine, Russia, Chechnya, Belarus, Poland, etc as it relates to the full scale invasion.

Newspaper Quotes:

(2023) Politico

I was asked to discuss Israel’s new government & if their policy of not providing military aid to Ukraine would change.

(2022) La Presse

I spoke with Janie Gosselin of La Presse about the situation in Mariupol and Putin's new strategy in the war in Ukraine.

(2022) Newtral

I spoke to Julia Cadenas of Newtral Spain and offered commentary on Slovenia's 2022 election and Freedom Movement's candidate Robert Golob who swept the elections in April.

(2022) The Morning Consult

I was asked by Matthew Kendrick about the situation in Ukraine & how the EU populace feels regarding the role of their own country as well as the EUs role in the war.

(2022) Globe and Mail

Interview regarding President Biden’s approach to Ukraine thus far.

(2018) The Observer

Commenting on the antisemitism in Russia’s Channel 1– “Trotsky.”