Margaret Ellen Commander, LISD Student Ambassador 2022-2023 and a senior in the School of Public and International Affairs, has been named the winner of the inaugural LISD Best Senior Thesis Award. Her thesis, "Up in Arms: The Consequences of Globalization on the Russian Defense Industry," was nominated by Mark Beissinger and Aaron L. Friedberg. Margaret's thesis is recognized as the best senior thesis that focuses on the self-determination of nations, groups, and individuals in international politics.
Margaret Commander’s thesis examines the implications of globalization for Russian defense production, addressing such questions as how Russia’s defense industry reflects the positive and negative effects of broader trends of globalization in the arms industry, the impact have internationalization and commercialization of weapons manufacturing on Russia’s ability to be self-sufficient in national defense, and the ways in which Russian invasion of Ukraine has impacted defense production due to the globalization of Russia’s defense production. Russia is the second largest arms producer in the world, behind only the U.S. But compared to the U.S., Europe, and China, Russia has been adversely affected in multiple ways by the growing globalization of arms production—especially in the context of the Ukraine war. Given the centrality of military-industrial production to the ability of states to project power abroad, the thesis has important implications for our understanding of where Russia’s global position and power are headed.