William Pomeranz, the Deputy Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, is an expert guide to the complexities of political and economic developments in Russia, particularly through the lens of law.  He leverages extensive, hands-on experience in international and Russian jurisprudence to address a wide range of legal issues, from the development of Russia’s Constitution to human rights law to foreign investment and sanctions. He is also the author of Law and the Russian State: Russia's Legal Evolution from Peter the Great to Vladimir Putin (Bloomsbury, 2018).  

Full Bio

William Pomeranz is the Deputy Director of the Kennan Institute, a part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars located in Washington, D.C.  He also has taught Russian law at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES), Georgetown University.  He hold a B.A. from Haverford College, a M.Sc. from the University of Edinburgh, a J.D. cum laude from American University, and a Ph.D. in Russian History from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. 

Prior to joining the Kennan Institute, Dr. Pomeranz practiced international law in the United States and Moscow, Russia.  He advised clients on investment in the Russian Federation as well as on U.S. anti-money laundering requirements, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and various U.S. sanctions programs.  His research interests include Russian legal history as well current Russian commercial and constitutional law. His academic articles have been published in the Russian Review, Slavonic and East European Review, Kritika, Review of Central and East European Law, Demokratizatsiya, and Problems of Post-Communism. He also has provided commentary and conducted numerous press interviews with CNN, NPR, C-SPAN, Reuters, VOA, Bloomberg, and other media outlets.

Major Publications

  • “How ‘the State’ Survived the Collapse of the Soviet Union,” in Questioning Post-Soviet, edited by Edward Holland and Matthew Derrick (Washington, DC: The Wilson Center, 2016), 93-102.
  • “Ground Zero – How a Trade Dispute Sparked the Russia-Ukraine Crisis,” in Roots of Russia’s War in Ukraine (Washington, DC and New York: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Columbia University Press, 2016), 51-74.
  • “The Practice of Law and the Promise of Rule-of-Law: The Advokatura and the Civil Process in Tsarist Russia,” Kritika 16, no. 2 (2015).  

Previous Terms

May 01, 1991 - Jun 01, 1991, "Political Trials in Tsarist Russia"