Professor Alena Ledeneva
Professor of Politics and Society
020 7679 8763
020 7679 8777
My research career started in 1986 when I joined the department of sociology at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences run by academician Tatiana Zaslavskaya, who became known in the West first as an author of the leaked report on poverty and inequality in rural areas of the Soviet Union, and then as an advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev. I have written on social stratification of the rural Siberian population and have taken part in large scale surveys conducted by the department, both in rural and industrial sociology. Following the Communist Party degree authorising the development of sociology (before 1988 the discipline officially did not exist), Novosibirsk State University has set up one of the first departments of sociology in the country and I was recruited to teach the first intake of students. It is at this time that I won a competition for young Soviet sociologists and was given a chance to come and study in the UK. In parallel to my successful teaching career in Russia, I have completed MPhil and PhD degrees in Cambridge (1992, 1996)and have taught, lectured and directed studies at Cambridge and Manchester. I have translated textbooks for my students in Siberia and published one with commentaries and introduction (Modern Social Theory, in Russian). In my postdoctoral years at New Hall, Cambridge (1996-1999), I published my PhD dissertation with Cambridge University Press (Russia's Economy of Favours); and prepared two co-edited volumes on related subjects of economic crime and historical perspectives on bribery and blat in Russia. I have continued researching my theme of informal exchange through the study of barter (with Paul Seabright and Caroline Humphrey) and later on the study of trust that has led to various collaborative international research projects (as detailed in Grants). Trust and particularly the betrayal of trust, has advanced the focus of my research into corruption in postcommunist countries of central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. I am currently conducting research into informal practices in the Russian judicial system.
My expertise is on corruption; informal economy; economic crime; informal practices in corporate governance; role of networks and patron-client relationships in Russia and other postcommunist societies. My recent books include How Russia Really Works (Cornell University Press, 2006); Unwritten Rules (Centre for European Reform, 2001); Russia's Economy of Favours (Cambridge University Press, 1998) and co-edited volumes Bribery and Blat in Russia (Macmillan, 2000) and Economic Crime in Russia (Kluwer Law International, 2000).
Teaching and supervision
I supervise PhD students and run the PhD Research Seminar in Social Sciences.
- Causes, Consequences and Control: Corruption and Governance, an MA course, 20 credits
- Informal Practices in Postcommunist Societies, an MA course, 20 credits
- Advanced Qualitative Research Methods, a compulsory MA course, 20 credits
- Governance and Corruption, undergraduate course, 40 credits
- Russian Politics and Society, undergraduate course 40 credits
This page last modified
Tuesday 5 February 2013.