Life Long Learning Program- Thugocracy: Mafia-Corrupted Regimes and the Rule of Law

The course will begin with a sociological “tour” of the ending days of the Soviet Union, and the particular political and economic dynamics of Perestroika which fueled a significant expansion of Russian and Eurasian mafia activity. We will look at how those conditions ultimately gave rise to an explosion of transnational organized crime, especially waves of emigration and capital flight, linking Eurasian mafias with conspiratorial and criminal networks in Europe and especially the U.S. Northeast. Ries will discuss her theory of “Thugocracy”, a road map for understanding how mafia-connected elites corrupt their political institutions and potentially their societies more broadly and deeply. Session participants will be asked to think about what tools democratic societies have to counteract the impacts of transnational gangster-style politics?  And how can civil society movements support the rule of law in the face of kleptocratic regimes?

Facilitator: Nancy Ries is Christian A. Johnson Chair in Liberal Arts Studies, division director of university studies, and professor of anthropology and peace and conflict studies at Colgate University. As a cultural anthropologist and ethnographer, her specialty is contemporary Russia. She is fluent in Russian and has done extensive field research in Moscow and other Russian cities since the 1980’s, and has led four Colgate student trips to Russia. She has written numerous books and articles on Russia and is currently working on a book called Thugocracy: The Eurasian Mafiya and the Trump Presidency for Cornell University Press.



Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Hamilton Public Library, Community Room 13 Broad St., Hamilton, NY 13346


Global and international, Academics, Social Sciences, Politics

Event Format

Lectures, colloquia, seminars, etc.


Free to Life Long Learning Program members, $5 per class for all others

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