Based on years of research on informal practices in the Soviet Union, during the 1990s' transition and under Putin's sistema, Alena Ledeneva explains the role of informal relations in transformations of Russia's society, business and politics. Drawing on the evidence from the Global Informality Project that she is currently directing, Russia's informality is viewed in the context of informal practices from five continents.
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 Global Encyclopedia of Informality.