Leon Aron, who was born in Moscow and came to the United States as a refugee in 1978, is a resident scholar and the director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He studies Russian domestic and foreign policy; US-Russia relations; and the economic, social, and cultural aspects of Russia’s post-Soviet evolution.

Since 2014, Dr. Aron has been a governor of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the operations of several international broadcasting outlets, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. From 1990 to 2004, he was a panelist on “Looking from America” (Gliadya iz Ameriki), a weekly Voice of America Russian-language radio and television show. Dr. Aron has also taught at Georgetown University and was the recipient of the US Institute of Peace’s Peace Fellowship.

Dr. Aron is a prolific writer and editor, and his books include “Roads to the Temple: Memory, Truth, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987–1991” (Yale University Press, 2012), in which he details and analyzes the intellectual and moral revolution that precipitated the end of the Soviet Union; “Russia’s Revolution: Essays 1989–2006” (AEI Press, 2007); and the first in-depth biography of Boris Yeltsin, “Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000).

His edited volumes include a series of 12 papers titled “Recovering the Empire: Ideology, Politics, and Potential Targets” (AEI, 2018); “Putin’s Russia: How It Rose, How It Is Maintained, and How It Might End” (AEI, 2015), which includes essays by nine leading Russian scholars; “The Quest for Democratic Citizenship: Agendas, Practices, and Ideals of Six Russian Grass-Roots Organizations and Movements” (AEI, 2012); and “The Emergence of Russian Foreign Policy” (US Institute of Peace, 1994)

A regular contributor to newspapers, magazines, and popular news websites, Dr. Aron has published essays and articles on Russian foreign policy, politics, and literature in CNN, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard, among others. From 1999 to 2014, he wrote AEI’s Russian Outlook, a quarterly essay on the economic, political, social, and cultural aspects of Russia’s post-Soviet transition.

In addition to his writings, Dr. Aron is a frequent guest on television and radio. His interviews include “PBS NewsHour,” CNN, C-SPAN, CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

Dr. Aron has a Ph.D. in political sociology and an M.A in media sociology from Columbia University. He also has a B.A. from Moscow State Pedagogical Institute.


  • Broadcasting Board of Governors: Governor, 2014–present
  • American Enterprise Institute: Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies, 1992–present
  • Voice of America: Weekly Contributor, “Looking from America” (Gliadya iz Ameriki), 1990–2004
  • Georgetown University: Adjunct Professor, 1994–96
  • Heritage Foundation: Senior Policy Analyst, 1987–92
  • Newspaper Advertising Bureau: Senior Project Director, 1984–87
  • D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Assistant Project Director, 1983–84


Ph.D., political sociology, M.A., media sociology, Columbia University
B.A., Moscow State Pedagogical Institute