Alexander John Motyl (Ukrainian: Олександр Мотиль; born October 21, 1953) is an American historian, political scientist, poet, writer, translator and artist-painter. He is a resident of New York City. He is professor of political science at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey and a specialist on Ukraine, Russia, and the Soviet Union.
Motyl's parents emigrated as refugees from Western Ukraine after World War II, when the region was occupied by the Soviet Union. He was born in New York City on October 21, 1953. He graduated from Regis High School in New York City in 1971. He studied at Columbia University, graduating with a BA in History in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Political Science in 1984. Motyl has taught at Columbia University, Lehigh University, the Ukrainian Free University, the Kyiv-Mohyla University, and Harvard University and is currently[when?] professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark. Aside from academic work, he also writes opinion columns in publications such as Foreign Policy, 19FortyFive, and the Kyiv Post.
Motyl is the author of eight academic books and editor or co-editor of over fifteen volumes. Motyl has written extensively on the Soviet Union, Ukraine, revolutions, nations and nationalism, and empires. All his work is highly conceptual and theoretical, attempting to ground political science in a firm philosophical base, while simultaneously concluding that all theories are imperfect and that theoretical pluralism is inevitable. In Imperial Ends (2001), he posited a theoretical framework for examining the structure of empires as a political structure. Motyl describes three types of imperial structures: continuous, discontinuous, and hybrid. Motyl also posits varying degrees of empire: formal, informal, and hegemonic. He discussed the Russian example in an earlier book, The Post Soviet Nations. 
Motyl is also active as a poet, a writer of fiction, and a visual artist. A collection of his poems have appeared in "Vanishing Points". His novels include Whiskey Priest (2005), Who Killed Andrei Warhol (2007), Flippancy (2009), The Jew Who Was Ukrainian, My Orchidia (2012), Sweet Snow (2013), Fall River, Vovochka (2015), Ardor (2016), A Russian in Berlin (2021), Pitun's Last Stand (2021) and Lowest East Side (2022). He has done readings of his fiction and poetry at New York's Cornelia Street Cafe and Bowery Poetry Club. Motyl has had one-man shows of his art in New York, Toronto, and Philadelphia. His artwork is part on the permanent collections of the Ukrainian Museum in New York City and the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Winnipeg. 
Motyl is also a contributing editor to the national security publication 19FortyFive. He is the 2019 Laureate of the Omelian and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation. According to Academic Influence, Motyl was ranked sixth among the “Top Ten Most Influential Political Scientists Today.”
In 2008–2014, he collaborated with former Andy Warhol Superstar Ultra Violet on a play entitled Andy vs. Adolf, which attempted to explore the similarities and differences between Warhol and Hitler. Although two readings of the play took place, the work was never produced. Motyl subsequently described his working relationship with Ultra Violet in an essay in the magazine 34th Parallel.
In a review of his novel The Jew Who Was Ukrainian, Michael Johnson wrote in The American Spectator: