The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Mi Lennhag

Mi Lennhag

Doctoral Student

Mi Lennhag

Informell ekonomi som rationell vana och statskritik : en intervjustudie kring post-sovjetisk vardagskorruption

Informal Economy as Rational Habit and State Criticism : An Interview Study on Post-Soviet Petty Corruption


  • Mi Lennhag

Summary, in English

This article examines continuity, change and adaptation of blat, a Soviet-time informal economic transaction network, in today’s Ukraine and Belarus. The analysis is based on 33 in-depth interviews, and the main focus is the descriptions, justifications and explanations of on-going informal participation in contemporary forms of blat. Theories on informal institutions, path dependence and the relationship between individuals and the post-Soviet state are elaborated to highlight the characteristics of contemporary blat transactions. The continued presence of blat, re-adapted to the new socio-economic circumstances, is highlighted – for instance the increased use of money in blat transactions and the growing number of autonomous bribe collectors demanding bribes in interaction with civil servants. Today’s blat is a channel for giving bribes and a guarantee for good social services. Individuals justify their participation in these informal activities by placing the blame on dysfunctional laws, heavy bureaucracy, lack of state control, illicit acts by other citizens or state officials, and on low identification with an (immoral) state. Respondents also display a preference for informal solutions, which are seen as a better way of solving many everyday problems.


  • Department of Political Science
  • Central and Eastern European Studies

Publishing year







Nordisk Østforum



Document type

Journal article


Cappelen Damm Akademisk


  • History and Archaeology
  • Political Science


  • Informal economy
  • corruption
  • blat
  • transition
  • Soviet inheritance
  • Ukraine
  • Belarus




  • ISSN: 0801-7220