Kaspar Pucek is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History studying Soviet/Russian and Eastern European history. He focuses in particular on the economic and political history of Eurasia and Eastern Europe during the 20th and 21st centuries. His main research interest are the economic and political transitions, and the ways in which institutional legacies from the communist era have shaped the process and outcome of post-communist economic and political reform. More broadly, he is interested in economic and political development across space and time, the relationship between history and the social sciences (specifically political science and economics), and the theoretical approaches to economic performance and development associated with the New Institutional Economics.
Kaspar is currently finishing an article analyzing the Russian economic transition through a case study of the aluminum industry, tracing the path-dependent evolution of Russia’s post-communist political economy throughout the Yeltsin and Putin eras. He is also working on a project about the rise and fall of Russian economic liberalism. His dissertation will most likely involve a comparative study of economic and political transition in Russia and Poland.
Before coming to Princeton, Kaspar received a B.A. in History with a minor in Russian language (cum laude) from Leiden University, as well as a Research M.A. degree in Economic History (summa cum laude) and an M.A. in Russian and Eurasian Studies (cum laude) from the same university. His master’s thesis on the Russian aluminum industry during the period of economic transition was awarded the “Fruin Prize” for best thesis in the History Department at Leiden University in 2015, as well as the first prize of the Leiden University Thesis Awards for best thesis at the university in 2016. He spent the spring semester of 2014 doing research for the thesis as a visiting graduate student at the European University at St. Petersburg and as a research intern at the Netherlands Institute in Saint Petersburg, and received research grants from both Leiden University and the Netherlands Institute.