British Scientist Mark Galeotti to Visit VMU

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On 21 January, a public lecture will be held in Kaunas by British scientist Mark Galeotti, who is considered to be one of the leading experts of modern Russian history and security affairs and transnational and organised crime. At the invitation of Vytautas Magnus University (VMU), the guest will come to Kaunas to discuss the connections between criminality and the administration of Vladimir Putin, the President of Russian Federation.

Galeotti has been researching Lithuania’s largest neighbour state for the last three decades, starting from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Currently he is the Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague. The expert’s latest projects have been focused on the hybrid (political) war and Russia’s ‘spookocracy’. His last book is The Vory — Russia’s super mafia (Yale University Press, 2018) , which describes in detail how the Soviet-era criminals ended up working hand in hand with the Kremlin.

“Sometime around the turn of the 21st century, state-building thieves and criminalised statesmen met in the middle. Under Putin, the real currency is not the rouble, but political power, and mere money and property are at best something held in trust”, the expert writes in his book. This is the first English-language publication which discusses the people that emerged from the Gulags (Soviet forced-labor camp-system) and became the fearsome criminal class of Russia, vory v zakone (thieves-in-law).

The vory—as the Russian mafia is also known—was born early in the twentieth century, largely in the Gulags and criminal camps, where they developed their unique culture. Identified by their signature tattoos, members abided by the thieves’ code, a strict system that forbade all paid employment and cooperation with law enforcement and the state. Based on two decades of on-the-ground research, Galeotti’s captivating study details the vory’s journey to power from their early days to their adaptation to modern-day Russia’s free-wheeling oligarchy and global opportunities beyond.

Cambridge alum Mark Galeotti works at the Institute of International Relations in Prague. This year will also mark the start of his Jean Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute in Italy. In the past, Galeotti has taught at NYU, Rutgers-Newark (USA) and Keele University (UK).

Mark Galeotti’s public lecture The Vory: the inter-linkage between criminality and the Putin administration will be held on Monday 21 January, 5 p.m., at the President Valdas Adamkus Library-Museum (S. Daukanto g. 25, Kaunas). The event is organized jointly by the  Andrei Sakharov Research Centre for Democratic Development and President Valdas Adamkus Library-Museum.

Event poster

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