UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Prof Alena Ledeneva

Prof Alena Ledeneva

Professor of Politics and Society



Joined UCL
1st Sep 1999

Research summary

Alena Ledeneva is Professor of Politics and Society at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of University College London in the United Kingdom.

She is an internationally renowned expert on informal governance in Russia. Her research interests include corruption, informal economy, economic crime, informal practices in corporate governance, and role of networks and patron-client relationships in Russia and around the globe. Her books Russia's Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking, and Informal Exchange (Cambridge University Press, 1998), How Russia Really Works: Informal Practices in the 1990s (Cornell University Press, 2006), and Can Russia Modernize? Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2013) have become must-read sources in Russian studies and social sciences.

She received her PhD in Social and Political Theory from Cambridge University (1996). Currently, she is the pillar leader of the multi-partner ANTICORRP.eu research project and works on the following projects:

Latest Publications:

A special issue ‘Innovations in Corruption Studies,’ Slavonic and East European Review, 50(1) 2017:

  • Corruption Studies for the Twenty-First Century: Paradigm Shifts an Innovative Approaches
  • Where Does Informality Stop and Corruption Begin? Informal Governance and the Public/Private Crossover in Mexico, Russia and Tanzania
  • Managing Business Corruption: Targeting Non-Compliant Practices in Systemically Corrupt Environments
‘The Ambivalence of Favour: Paradoxes of Russia's Economy of Favours’ was published in Economies of Favour after Socialism (Oxford University Press, 2016)


University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1996
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 1992
Novosibirsk State University
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1986