Mi Lennhag

Doctoral student, Master of Philosophy in Political Science, Bachelor of Arts in Eastern European studies and Russian

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Mi Lennhag is a political scientist, lecturer & journalist with focus on Eastern Europe, Sweden, EU, corruption, military & public administration.

She holds degrees in political science (including courses in economics, statistics, history and rhetoric), and in Eastern European studies and Russian.

The focus of her PhD project is corruption in contemporary Eastern Europe, and includes fieldwork and interviews in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. Interviews with ordinary citizens in Eastern Europe contributes to better understudying of citizens' experiences and explanations of ongoing informal economic practices.  

Since 2008, she has been giving lectures at universities, commissioned education etc. about the post-Soviet region (politics, economics, culture), on Swedish politics, public administration and constitutional issues, on the EU and Eastern enlargement, and on corruption and economic crime (both in Sweden and abroad).

In addition, she has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as consultant for Transparency International, expert writer for the Swedish National Encyclopedia, coordinator and teacher for the Swedish Institute, high school teacher, photographer, journalist and columnist in newspapers, moderator, researcher for foreign media, and as an expert on the Swedish Radio (topics: Swedish politics and Eastern Europe).


  • The Post-Soviet region and other states in Eastern and Central Europe (politics, economics, foreign policy, military, culture, post-Soviet economic transition)
  • Corruption (as well as other forms of informal economy and economic crime)
  • Swedish politics (national and foreign policy, economics, military, public administration, public access to information and secrecy act, whistleblowing)
  • The EU, EU relations with Eastern and Central Europe, Eastern enlargement processes.
  • Interviews and narrative analysis.

COURSES AS TEACHER / SUPERVISOR (many of them several semesters)

  • Makt och förvaltning (Statsvetenskap, Lunds universitet)
  • Politik och samhällsliv i de postsovjetiska staterna (Öst- och centraleuropakunskap, Lunds universitet)
  • Kandidatprogrammet i Europastudier (Europastudier, Språk- och Litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet)
  • Konflikt och samverkan i internationell politik (Statsvetenskap, Lunds universitet)
  • Att bygga demokrati (Statsvetenskap, Lunds universitet)
  • Summer Academy for Young Professionals, EaP/Baltic region (Swedish Institute) 
  • Summer Academy for Young Professionals, Western Balkans (Swedish Institute) 
  • European Studies: Russia and Eastern Europe - the Present and the Past (Europastudier, Språk- och Litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet)
  • Anti-corruption Policy of Sweden (Lund University Commissioned Education)
  • The Politics of Development (Statsvetenskap, Lunds universitet)
  • Swedish Politics - Past and Present (Tvärvetenskaplig, Historiska institutionen, Lunds universitet) 
  • Nya mastersprogrammet i Europastudier (Tvärvetenskapligt/Europastudier, Lunds universitet)
  • Political and Social Change in Developing Countries (Statsvetenskap, Mastersnivå. Lunds universitet)
  • The Reshaping of the European Union at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Öst- och Centraleuropakunskap, Lunds universitet) 
  • Swedish Politics (Statsvetenskap, Lunds universitet)
  • Power and Policy-making in the European Union (Statsvetenskap, Malmö Universitet)
  • The New Europe: Foundations and Challenges in the New Millennium (Tvärvetenskaplig, Lunds universitet)
  • Old Europe, New Europe, Non Europe - Re-shaping the European Union at the beginning of the 21st century (Öst- och Centraleuropakunskap, Lunds universitet) 

This PhD project explores corruption and informal economic practices – directly involving or more generally described by ordinary citizens (i.e. not politicians, company executives or experts) – in contemporary Eastern Europe.

The thesis contains both quantitative methods for inference and qualitative interviews for a narrative analysis and theoretical contribution. The quantitative component will focus on the whole region of “former Soviet style economies”, while the qualitative parts will focus upon four European post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Russia (the European Kaliningrad oblast), Belarus and Lithuania.

The main focuses during the recorded, anonymous, semi-structured interviews were individuals’ descriptions, explanations and justifications of partly changed – but simultaneously ongoing, persistent and widespread – corrupt practices in a post-Soviet context.

The thesis also presents a description of the contemporary legacy or transformation of the Soviet informal distribution system blat, which was a widespread, network-based, non- monetary channel for transactions that evolved as a reaction to Soviet time shortages, bureaucracy, and hierarchies. Instead, contemporary everyday corrupt acts involve large sums of money; usage of hierarchies; demands for services instead of goods; stricter obligations; new powerful professions and informal networks as useful channels for bribing the right persons.

In addition to its empirical aims, this thesis contributes to better theoretical understanding of informal economic stability in the post-Soviet region. Citizens’ feelings regarding possibilities for change and their perceptions of and incentives for on-going informal practices are treated as important. However, we need to avoid considering everyday corrupt acts in developing countries as foremost results of lack of “desirable” perceptions of morality.

Our understanding of both informal and formal economic institutions will be enhanced when including common, everyday approaches to the informal economic arena, as well as to formal economic constrains. By highlighting aspects of the relationship and tensions between the post-Soviet states and their citizens, we will better comprehend informal economic stability. Tensions created during the Soviet era, or generating from a Soviet legacy, continue to significantly affect citizens’ perceptions and attitudes. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences
  • Political Science
  • Humanities
  • Languages and Literature
  • Public Administration Studies
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Cultural Studies
  • Specific Languages
  • Economics

Free keywords

  • Corruption
  • Eastern Europe
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Belarus
  • EU
  • Swedish politics
  • Post-Soviet Studies


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