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Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia

This project aims to examine undocumented labour migrants’ legal culture and socio-legal integration in a politically hybrid regime. The project uses the case of Russia, a hybrid political regime and the world’s second largest recipient of labour migrants, to investigate how undocumented migrants negotiate and manoeuvre around the restrictive socio-legal environment through producing new ways of informal governance and legal order. The project has the following three objectives: (1) to develop a theoretically robust understanding of undocumented migrants’ socio-legal integration in politically hybrid regimes’; (2) to produce new ethnographic material about the relationship between undocumented migrants, employers, law-enforcement structures and protection rackets (i.e. ‘parallel legal orders’) in the Russian migrant labour market and (3) to enhance the knowledge about the effects of these processes on societal transformation, role and rule of law and governance trajectories in Russia. These issues will be explored through the socio-legal study of everyday life and experiences of Central Asian migrants in Moscow. This multidisciplinary project employs a mixed-methods approach and draws on the concepts and theories developed within migration studies, law and society, economic crime, security and public administration studies.

This project advances our understanding of how labour migrants build relationship with law and law-like structures in politically-hybrid regimes. It explores the case of Russia that represents the ever-growing category of hybrid political regimes that are neither democratic nor authoritarian. Analysing migrants’ socio-legal integration in such regimes is a bold initiative as it bridges the knowledge gap on this topic, current studies being mostly limited to analysis of Western-type democracies.

Page Manager:



Rustamjon Urinboyev
Department of Sociology of Law

Aitamurto, Kaarina
Finnish National Centre for Russian and East European Studies

Heusala, Anna-Liisa
Finnish National Centre for Russian and East European Studies (PI)


Labor, Mobility and Informality in Post-Socialism
Polese, A., Turaeva, R. & Rustam Urinboyev, 2019 Nov 30, (Accepted/In press) Palgrave Macmillan. (International Political Economy)

Corruption in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan
Rustam Urinboyev
, 2018 Sep 26, Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Farazmand, A. (ed.). Cham: Springer, p. 1 8 p.

Negotiating Spaces and the Public–Private Boundary: Language Policies Versus Language Use Practices in Odessa
Polese, A., Rustam Urinboyev, Kerikmae, T. & Murru, S., 2018 Sep 19, In : Space and Culture. 17 p.

Corruption, Informality and ‘Living Law’ in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan
Rustam Urinboyev
, 2018 Sep 17, Kalabalik. Bulletin of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 4, p. 10 17 p.

Migration, Transnationalism, and Social Change in Central Asia: Everyday Transnational Lives of Uzbek Migrants in Russia
Rustam Urinboyev
, 2018 Jul 25, Eurasia on the Move. Interdisciplinary Approaches to a Dynamic Migration Region. Laruelle, M. & Schenk, C. (eds.). The George Washington University, Central Asia Program, p. 27-41 15 p.

Sociology of Law Department
Lund University
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 18 C, 3rd floor, 223 62 Lund, SWEDEN
Postal address: Box 42, 221 00 Lund, SWEDEN

Faculty of Social Sciences