Melissa Shostak

Melissa Shostak
Policy Analyst


B.S. in economics, University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus; B.A. in Russian, University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus; M.A in European and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University


Melissa Shostak (she/her) is a policy analyst at RAND. She is interested in issues related to the Russian military and military-industrial complex, the war in Ukraine, private military contractors (PMCs), and strategic competition. She is also interested in gray-zone warfare, information operations, and the use of soft power by states. She has an advanced proficiency in Russian and studied abroad in Moscow during the summer of 2016. In addition to her work on issues related to Russia and security policy, she works on issues related to disaster relief and recovery. She has a Master's of Arts in European and Eurasian Studies from George Washington University, where she researched the structure and rhetoric of the Russian Orthodox Church for her master's thesis. Prior to her current position as a policy analyst, she worked as a research assistant at RAND from 2018 to 2023.


Russian; Ukrainian; French