Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme
Alena Ledeneva
Contact information
+44 (0)20 7679 8763


Alena Ledeneva is professor of Politics and Society at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of University College London. 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 in 1996. Currently, she is the pillar leader of the multi-partner research project and works on the 'Global Encyclopedia of Informality'. 


  • Informal governance in Russia
  • State-business relationships in Russia
  • Corruption and anti-corruption
  • Informal networks, practices, institutions in global context
  • Russian domestic politics


1999 -Professor of Politics and Society, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
1996-99Research Fellow and Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Economic and Politics, University of Cambridge
1987-95Researcher and Senior Lecturer, Novosibirsk State University 


Broadcast experience



  • English (broadcast standard)
  • Russian (broadcast standard)
  • French (not for broadcast)
  • Can Russia Modernize? Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance. Cambridge UK and NYC: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • How Russia Really Works: The Informal Practices That Shaped Post-Soviet Politics and Business, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.
  • Doing Business in Russia: Informal practices and Anti-Corruption Strategies with Stanislav Shekshnia, Russie.Nei.Visions, No 58, March 2011. 
  • 'Corruption in Postcommunist Societies in Europe: A Re-examination', Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Vol 10, No 1, April 2009, 69–86.
  • 'Russia’s Practical Norms and Informal Governance: The Origins of Endemic Corruption', Social Research Vol 80 : No 4 : Winter 2013, pp 1135-1165.