Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
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Eeva Korteniemi
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Aleksanteri Institute
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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2017–2018

Ben Noble, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UK
“Contemporary Russian Law-making: Patterns, Actors, and Interests in Criminal Law Policy”
(25 March – 21 April 2018)

Ben Noble is a Lecturer in Russian Politics at University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Previously, he was Herbert Nicholas Junior Research Fellow at New College, University of Oxford, and Senior Researcher in the Laboratory for Regional Political Studies at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow. He received his DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford in 2016 for a thesis analysing executive law-making in the Russian State Duma; this research was awarded the 2017 Sir Walter Bagehot Prize by the Political Studies Association for the best dissertation in the field of Government and Public Administration. Ben’s research centres around the law-making process of legislatures in non-democratic regimes. 

Short description of ongoing research:
Ben’s ongoing research aims to analyse law-making patterns and practices in the Russian State Duma. This forms part of a broader interest in legislatures in non-democratic regimes, specifically how executive actors with divergent policy preferences use legislative institutions to resolve conflicts in decision-making.
During his tenure of a Visiting Fellowship at the Institute, Ben will work on a project (in collaboration with Professor Peter Solomon, University of Toronto) on the political dimension of criminal law changes in post-Soviet Russia. Since the introduction of a new, post-Soviet Criminal Code in 1997, Russian criminal law policy has developed in a haphazard fashion, with ostensible waves of liberalisation swiftly followed by repressive turns, and changes to the status quo sponsored by a plethora of actors and interests. Put differently, criminal law has not developed in line with a coherent, centrally-directed policy programme. Although these broad features have been noted by Russian and foreign commentators alike, there has been little academic analysis of the development of criminal law as a political phenomenon. This topic has particular appeal as a way to explore changes in societal inequalities in Russia over time, including with regard to class and social structure. As such, this project ties into the Institute’s “Welfare Society” and “Democracy” (public administration) research themes. This research will be of interest to scholars of Russian politics and law, as well as scholars interested in comparative developments in criminal law.
During his tenure of the fellowship, Ben will also solicit feedback on his book manuscript, with the working title Reviewing ‘Rubber Stamps’: Executive Factionalism and Policy-making in the Russian Federal Assembly.

Email: benjamin.noble[AT]
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Vladimir Gel’man, Anna-Liisa Heusala