Ambassador McFaul was nominated by President Barack Obama on September 14, 2011, and confirmed by the Senate on December 17, 2011. He was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation on January 10, 2012.
Prior to becoming Ambassador, he served for three years as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council.
Michael McFaul is a professor of political science at Stanford University. At Stanford, he is also the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) for International Studies. He is currently on leave from Stanford. Before joining the Obama administration, McFaul served as Deputy Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute and Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law (CDDRL). He was also a non-resident Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
He is the author and editor of several monographs including, Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can (2009); with Valerie Bunce and Katheryn Stoner-Weiss, eds., Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World (2009); with Thomas Risse and Amichai Magen, eds., Promoting Democracy and Rule of Law: American and European Strategies (2009); with Anders Aslund, eds., Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough (2006); with Nikolai Petrov and Andrei Ryabov, Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Postcommunist Political Reform (2004); with Kathryn Stoner Weiss, eds., After the Collapse of Communism: Comparative Lessons of Transitions ( 2004); with James Goldgeier, Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (2003); with Timothy Colton, Popular Choice and Managed Democracy: The Russian Elections of 1999 and 2000 (2003); and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin (2001).
Dr. McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his B.A. in International Relations and Slavic Languages and his M.A. in Soviet and East European Studies from Stanford University in 1986. He was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford where he completed his D. Phil. in International Relations in 1991.