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


Visiting Fellows 2017–2018

Judith Pallot, Christ Church College and University of Oxford, UK
“Difference, Diversity and Reform in the Russian Penal System”
(1 February – 10 March 2018 and 1–14 June 2018)

I have been engaged in Russian (formerly Soviet) and East European Studies for the whole of my academic career. My doctoral thesis examined peasant responses to the Stolypin Land Reform and in the 1970s I was drawn into the then developing field of ‘peasant studies’ in which specialists on the Russian peasantry were prominent. I retained this interest in rural society after the Soviet Union’s collapse, when, for the first time, I was able to conduct field work in Russian peripheries. I maintain my interest in the Russian rural economy but in the past decade my principal research focus has been on the Russian penal sociology and geography. I took up a post in the University of Oxford in 1979 where I have taught courses in the Geography and Area Studies departments. I am currently the President of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies.

Short description of ongoing research:
I plan to use the opportunities the Aleksanteri Institute’s fellowship presents to further my research into Russian penality. In the past decade I have been the recipient of two large research grants that have allowed me to develop collaborations with colleagues in the Russian Federation which have resulted in four books (English and Russian-language) focusing on women’s experiences of the Russian penal system - as prisoners and as ‘prisoners’ relatives’. The findings of the research projects were primarily based on interviews, questionnaire surveys and internet chat rooms. I intend to use the fellowship to do the preparatory work needed to expand my research on difference and diversity in the Russian Prison System. During the research visit, I plan to make a detailed analysis of available literature on Muslim prisoners and exiles in the Soviet Union and Imperial Russia. This would include a re-reading of prison memoires and testimonies for what they can tell us about the experiences of national minority Muslim populations of the USSR and their relationships with the dominant Slavic population. This will give me the necessary historical context to turn the results from a pilot study (which exist at present just as field report) I recently undertook with Russian colleagues at the Higher School of Economics into a more theoretically- and empirically-informed discussion of Muslim minorities in the Russian prison system. There are useful internet sources available covering current policies and practices towards minority prisoners, that I would use in addition to library-based study. I also plan to bring myself up-to-date on the debates surrounding prison reform in the Russian Federation, since the abandonment of the central proposals in the “Concept for the development of the Prison System to the year 2020” published during Medvedev’s presidency. I am interested in current thinking about collectivist approaches to penal management and self-organisation and on changes in the geography of the penal estate. It is my intention to write a short monograph or extended article on prison reform in the Russian Federation to fill a gap in the English-language literature on the criminal-justice system published since 1991.   

Email: judith.pallot[AT]
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Kaarina Aitamurto, Rustam Urinboyev