Bilyana Lilly

bilyana lilly, l0629
Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.Sc. in Russian and East European studies, University of Oxford; M.A. in international affairs, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) Switzerland; B.A. in international politics and history, Jacobs University, Germany


Bilyana Lilly is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Lilly's research interests include defense analysis, risk assessment, security cooperation, nuclear strategy, NATO, European and Eurasian affairs, modelling and simulation, U.S. foreign policy, and international development.

Prior to joining Pardee RAND, Lilly was an associate at the Brookings Institution where she focused on U.S. security strategy, NATO's policy toward emerging powers and populism in Europe. She also worked at the Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. where she designed project monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and assessed the effectiveness of development projects in Russia. She is the author of the book Russian Foreign Policy Toward Missile Defense: Actors, Motivations, and Influence, which contains information from talks that Lilly conducted with Russia's deputy defense minister and deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Lilly has master's degrees in Russian and East European studies from Oxford University and in international affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland.

Selected Publications

Bilyana Lilly, "Global Development Baton Passes from MDGs to SDGs," The Washington Diplomat, 2015

Bilyana Lilly, "How Putin Uses Missile Defense in Europe to Distract Russian Voters," NATO Review, 2015

Bilyana Lilly and Jeremy Shapiro, "Sovereignty's Revenge: The Power of Populism in the European Union," Order from Chaos, a Brookings Institution blog, 2015

Sale Lilly and Bilyana Lilly, "Punish Russia & Revolutionize NATO's Navy," Real Clear Defense, 2014

Bilyana Lilly, Russian Foreign Policy toward Missile Defense: Actors, Motivations, and Influence, Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2014

Bilyana Lilly, "Disproving a Conventional Wisdom: Why Nuclear Terrorism Originating from Russia is a Myth," Security Index, 16(3), 2010

Honors & Awards

  • Distinction by the examiners in Russian studies, University of Oxford
  • Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace for the study of Russian, Middlebury College, VT
  • Oxford Jenkins Memorial Scholarship, University of Oxford