Alyssa Demus

Alyssa Demus
International/Defense Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.A. in foreign policy and national security, American University; B.A. in international relations, University of Southern California; B.A. in political science, University of Southern California

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Alyssa Demus is an associate international/defense researcher at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research examines Ukrainian, Russian, and broader Eurasian political and security issues; information warfare and influence campaigns; efforts to counter adversary influence efforts; and perceptions and decisionmaking. Demus is fluent in Ukrainian—a skill she has employed in her research to include interviewing key government, military, security service, and civil society sector interlocutors.

She earned an M.A. in foreign policy and national security from American University's School of International Service, and a B.A. in international relations with a concentration in Russian and Eurasian affairs and B.A. in political science from the University of Southern California. 



Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC World News; WBUR; Press Play, KCRW


  • Ukraine

    One Year After Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: Experts React

    We asked nearly 30 RAND experts to highlight takeaways from the first year of Russia's all-out war—and share what they're watching as the conflict in Ukraine grinds on. Here's what they said.

    Feb 20, 2023

  • Russia

    The Trouble with Russian Blacklisting

    Analysis, informed by interactions with Russians, offers Western leaders a window into Russia. Blacklists hinder this process. With the stakes so high, much depends on experts' success in getting their analysis right.

    Dec 15, 2022

    Foreign Policy

  • Russia

    War of the Worlds: How Cognitive Dissonance and Repression Shape Russian Perceptions of the Conflict in Ukraine

    Cognitive dissonance theory offers a compelling explanation for one of the confounding phenomena emerging from the war in Ukraine—Russians who refuse to believe their Ukrainian family members' lived experiences of the war. How is it that of the two cognitions Russians are wrestling with, the Kremlin's manufactured truth often prevails?

    Jun 29, 2022


  • Ukraine

    Reopening Old Wounds: Two Stories, One Lesson

    The shocking events unfolding in Ukraine have reopened old wounds for two RAND researchers. Their personal stories stand as testaments that the traumas inflicted by Russia's war on Ukraine will echo for decades to come.

    Apr 16, 2022


  • Information Operations

    Don't Sleep on Russian Information War Capabilities

    Ukraine looks to have Russia beat in countering Russian disinformation. But this is only part of the story. Instead of fixating on Russia's missteps, policymakers and analysts would benefit from studying Ukraine's sophisticated information campaign while bearing in mind that Russia retains significant information warfare capabilities and a willingness to use them.

    Apr 5, 2022

    Defense One