Projects (funded):

1/2021 – 12/2025: Resilience of state security forces against hybrid threats (Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic)

Miriam Matejova. 2023. Silver Linings: Environmental Disasters as Critical Junctures in Global Governance. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 65(1): 4-14.

In political science, disasters are frequently viewed as events that may open windows of opportunity for political actors to push through their agendas. This view assumes that change is path dependent; therefore, disasters do not change the pre-disaster trajectories but merely speed them up. This article argues that viewing disasters as triggers that merely accelerate status quo implies that their unique characteristics are negligible. Empirical evidence suggests that this is an incorrect assumption. Sometimes disasters are critical junctures, historical turning points that create irreversible changes in affected social systems. Within states, some disasters, like the Santa Barbara and Exxon Valdez oil spills in the United States, expose the failure of existing institutions and force the trajectory of institutional development down an unplanned path. This article traces the change-making potential of these events, revealing how taking opportunity of crises and disasters may help us move forward with institutional innovation and positive change.

Chad M. Briggs, Miriam Matejova, and Robert Weiss. 2022. Disaster Intelligence: Developing Strategic Warning for National Security. Intelligence and National Security,

The growing occurrence and intensity of disasters pose complex risks to national security, yet intelligence agencies do not possess the expertise to identify and assess emerging hazards effectively. Greater cooperation with experts outside the intelligence community, particularly scientists and local experts with valuable information, can allow effective warnings in advance of catastrophic events. This article makes an argument for strategic disaster intelligence, using two cases of major earthquakes and tsunamis to illustrate both disaster warning failures and opportunities for more effective disaster and risk mitigation.

Miriam Matejova. 2022. What Can Environmental Disasters Teach Us About Grievances? A GIS Analysis. In Dmitry Kurochkin, Martha J. Crawford, Elena V. Shabliy. Energy Policy Advancement: Climate Change Mitigation and International Environmental Justice. Cham: Springer, 39-68.

Scholars have established that grievances are a crucial factor in social movements; yet, despite volumes of research, there is still disagreement over the exact ways in which they matter. This study revisits the concept of grievances, examining them through the lens of environmental crises. Specifically, it discusses two types of grievances linked to environmental crises: structural and sudden. Through a geospatial analysis, the study then examines the relationship between large industrial disasters, their proximity to locations that people value, and post-disaster protest.

Miriam Matejova and Eric Merkley. 2022. Protest under Uncertainty: Evidence from a Survey Experiment. Environmental Communication 16(2): 163-178.

Abstract: Environmental disasters generate uncertainty, which is a crucial element of post-disaster political dynamics. Does communication of uncertainty affect public willingness to participate in political activism? This article first provides a content analysis of news coverage to show that uncertainty framing is prevalent in the aftermath of environmental disasters. The article then examines the effect of such uncertainty on public willingness to protest, presenting a survey experiment of over 3,600 Americans recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. In theory, uncertainty framing may trigger emotions like anxiety, which reduce people’s willingness to engage in protest. Since in environmental communication uncertainty frames are often used to reify the status quo, which is more easily compatible with conservative beliefs, the dampening effect should be stronger among those who are ideologically conservative. Our experiment confirms the latter expectation but does not find support for the former. These results help explain why some protest coalitions may have more breadth than others after environmental disasters.

Miriam Matejova. 2021. “From realist to pragmatic solutions to climate change: Reading Anatol Lieven’s Climate Change and the Nation State.” New Perspectives 29(2): 202-207.

Abstract: Relying on Anatol Lieven’s Climate Change and the Nation State, this article challenges the idea that nationalism is the solution to climate change. Specifically, the article discusses the role of framing and wargaming in the securitization of climate change, drawing attention to practical implications of using nationalistic sentiments to address climate security risks.

Miriam Matejova and Chad M. Briggs. 2021. “Embracing the Darkness: Methods for Tackling Uncertainty and Complexity in Environmental Disaster Risks.” Global Environmental Politics 21(1): 76-88.

Abstract: Environmental systems are complex and often difficult to predict. The interrelationships within such systems can create abrupt changes with lasting impacts, yet they are often overlooked until disasters occur. Mounting environmental and social crises demand the need to better understand both the role and consequences of emerging risks in global environmental politics (GEP). In this research note, we discuss scenarios and simulations as innovative tools that may help GEP scholars identify, assess, and communicate solutions to complex problems and systemic risks. We argue that scenarios and simulations are effective at providing context for interpreting “weak signals.” Applying simulations to research of complex risks also offers opportunities to address otherwise overwhelming uncertainty.

Miriam Matejova, Stefan Parker, and Peter Dauvergne. 2018. “The Politics of Repressing Environmentalists as Agents of Foreign Influence.” Australian Journal of International Affairs 72(2): 1–18.


Abstract: Theoretically, this article reveals the long-term risk for local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of participating in transnational advocacy networks (TANs), accepting money from foreign sources and throwing ‘boomerangs’ internationally—a strategy used by local NGOs to seek international allies to pressure repressive and unresponsive states at home. Focusing primarily on the suppression of environmental NGOs that oppose natural-resource extraction, this article examines three cases—Russia, India and Australia—to illuminate the consequences of this trend for local civil society and TANs. It also documents a global trend towards states depicting local NGOs with international linkages as subversive agents of foreign interests, justifying legal crackdowns and the severing of foreign funding and ties. State framing of NGOs as agents of foreign interests is repressing local environmental activism, depoliticising civil society and weakening international NGO alliances—a conclusion with far-reaching consequences for the future of TANs, local NGOs and environmental activism.

Miriam Matejova. 2018. “Why Was ‘Communism Better’? Re-thinking Inequality and the Communist Nostalgia in Central Europe.” Journal of Comparative Politics 11(1): 66–83.


Abstract: More than twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Central Europeans are past their transitions and have well-functioning economies. Yet, judging by their lingering communist nostalgia, they have failed to notice. Neo-liberal economists argue that transition results in higher inequality, and that economic liberalization widens the gap between the losers and the winners. Through a comparative analysis of Czechoslovakia and Slovakia, this article suggests that it is not inequality per se but a perception of inequality – whether accurate or skewed – that may aggravate domestic tensions in post-communist Central Europe. I propose two factors through which such perception may arise: 1) the nature of domestic political institutions, and 2) the growth of information and communication technology associated with globalization.

Miriam Matejova and Don Munton. 2016. “Western Intelligence Cooperation on Vietnam during the Early Cold War Era.” Journal of Intelligence History 15(2): 139–55.


Abstract: In the aftermath of the 1954 Geneva Conference, Canada, the UK, the US and other Western allies cooperated in gathering and sharing of human intelligence on and in North Vietnam. The British and Canadian foreign ministries played a key role in these efforts. Focusing mainly on the activities of these two countries, we explore the Vietnam intelligence program and discuss some of its implications on a broader Western, multilateral Humint cooperation. While the focus of this article is on efforts in Indochina in the mid-1950s, the pattern of intelligence cooperation described here continued into early and mid-1960s. Western intelligence liaison is not limited to the Vietnam case, as reflected in the intelligence activities of Western allies in Cuba (the 1960s–1970s), Tehran (1978–1980), Bosnia (the 1990s) and elsewhere.

Miriam Matejova. 2015. “Is Global Environmental Activism Saving the Polar Bear?Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 57(5): 14–23.

Abstract: This article discusses the divide between environmental activist groups on the sport hunting of polar bears. In order to shed light on the current polar bear contention, the article reviews the international politics surrounding the hunting of polar bears and the trade in polar bear parts. The article also brings attention to the successful efforts to ban the sport hunting of the species in the 1970s, revealing some obstacles to a similar agreement at the present time.

Miriam Matejova. 2014. “Peaceful Partitions: Obvious Cases? Implications of Czechoslovakia’s Partition for Post-Conflict Peacebuilding.” Peace & Conflict Review 8(1): 59–76.

Abstract: How could the cases of successful state separation contribute to our understanding of partition in post-conflict peacebuilding? Can they tell us anything new that prevailing partition theories may have missed? In an attempt to address such questions, this paper focuses on the break-up of Czechoslovakia, perhaps the most frequently cited case of successful partition. The case expands the existing partition theories’ account of elite’s motivations and their role in successful partition. While some of the factors revealed by the Czechoslovak break-up are consistent with the logic of prevailing partition theories, some have not been fully recognized by partition scholars.

Miriam Matejova. 2013. “Russian ‘Chechenization’ and the Prospects for a Lasting Peace in Chechnya.International Journal on World Peace 30(2): 9–34.


Abstract: In 2009, Russia withdrew from Chechnya, bringing the most brutal conflict in post-war Europe to an end. Relative stability has been achieved in Chechnya as a result of Russian policy of “chechenization.” This controversial policy involved co-opting (buying off) Chechen leaders and ultimately transferring the conflict from Russian to Chechen hands. This article evaluates the effectiveness of this co-optation policy. Relying on established theory of co-optation, the analysis suggested the Russian strategy of co-opting Chechen elites has managed to bring a temporary peace to Chechnya. Despite uncertainty about selfsustainability of this peace, the policy has a potential to ensure that the success lasts, suggesting that co-optation has a valid role in peacebuilding efforts.

Don Munton and Miriam Matejova. 2012. “Spies without Borders? Western Intelligence Liaison, the Tehran Hostage Affair and Iran’s Islamic Revolution.” Intelligence and National Security 27(5): 739–60.


Abstract: Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the United States embassy in Tehran in November 1979 was America’s and the West’s first encounter with contemporary radical Islam. It prompted substantial intelligence cooperation amongst Western countries. Their liaison included not only the collection of human intelligence (Humint) but also an effort to protect six Americans who had escaped becoming hostages, and then a successful covert exfiltration operation to secure their escape from Iran. Canadian embassy staff, assisted by CIA experts, mounted this operation in late January 1980. We use the Iranian Revolution and occupation of the American embassy in Tehran both to flesh out the nature of contemporary Western Humint cooperation and to highlight the intelligence activities, including international intelligence liaison, of Western foreign ministries.

Miriam Matejova and Chad M. Briggs. 2012. “‘Like Oil and Water.’ European Disaster Response and Energy Security in the Arctic.” In Crisis Management and Conflict Prevention in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, edited by Tetyana Malyarenko and Stefan Wolff, 145–66. Donetsk, Ukraine: SVD Publishing House.


Abstract: This chapter explores potential implications of the impacts of climate change for the European Arctic and Europe’s oil and gas supplies. Energy supplies are undoubtedly a security concern for Europe; however, these security risks are too often narrowly conceived. Over the years, the terms “energy security” and “environmental security” have been reshaped and broadened to reflect the complex nature of the geopolitical landscape of the world today. We briefly describe the evolution of both concepts and discuss their significance, using a case study of expected climate change effects on the European Arctic and related implications for Europe’s oil and gas supplies. Drawing upon research from the US Department of Energy and Department of Defence, we explain some new strategic planning tools that integrate concepts of human security, energy security, environmental science and regional geographies of Europe.