Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Anna-Liisa Heusala (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland)

Migrant Workers in the Shadow Economy – the Russian Experience

The presentation looks at the wide array of consequences for societal transformation in Russia created by the use of a large-scale migrant workforce under shadow economic and globalised conditions. In the shadow economy, transactions typically leave no formal trace, and an activity may be spontaneous but often has become a more or less institutionalised custom. The shadow economy leads to direct monetary losses and indirect societal consequences through unhealthy market competition, loss of entrepreneurial innovativeness and structural corruption. In the post-Soviet period, Russian societal transformation has been shaped by globalised phenomena and interactions, and this interconnectedness has cut across traditional spheres of interests and influenced the reconstruction of new ones. Globalisation has contributed to the development of various new mechanisms to follow the movement of people, goods and communication across borders. One important unintended consequence of globalisation in Russia has been the persistence of a large-scale shadow economy. The human security dimensions of the shadow economy have become inextricably linked to many key processes of Russian societal transformation at both the domestic and international levels. The shadow economy connects questions of globalised economic competitiveness involving huge interests inside the Russian market with internal security and foreign policy goals of a regional security complex in Central Asia.