Matthew Light

Assistant Professor of Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies




Centre for Criminology, 14 Queen’s Park Crescent West,


Matthew Light (PhD, Yale University) is Assistant Professor of Criminology. His doctoral and post-doctoral research has focused on issues of migration control, individual rights, and policing in post-Soviet Russia. His dissertation (2006) was a study of migration controls in four regions of post-Soviet Russia. The major findings of the study are that residence restrictions in contemporary Russia are not simply a continuation of Soviet-era policies, but rather result from the devolution of state control over migration management to regional governments, which in turn results from the Russian central government’s reorientation toward the monopolization of rents from natural resources, as well as the related phenomenon of the imformalization of centre-regional relations in Russia, including de facto control over the police and other law enforcement activities. Professor Light has also studied and written on the legal and political regulation of Muslim religious institutions in Russia. He has also written on the political situation in several regions of Russia, including Belgorod Oblast and the highly unstable North Caucasus (Krasnodar and Stavropol provinces, and the autonomous republic of Adygeia). He is currently revising his dissertation and post-doctoral research for publication as a monograph. His other current interests include the death penalty in contemporary Russia, as well as reform and restructuring of the police force in the Republic of Georgia

Research Interests

Migration control
Policing and criminal justice
Corruption, primarily in the post-Soviet region


Ph. D. Political science,Yale University, (2006)

J.D Law, Yale University, (1999)

M.A. Political science, University of Chicago, 1996)

B.A. Russian language and literature and political science, Harvard University (1994)

Selected Publications

Matthew Light, Rosemary Gartner, and Milomir Strbac, “Interpersonal violence by authoritarian rulers: Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin compared,” Post-Soviet Affairs 30:5, 389-415, 2014

Matthew Light, “Police Reforms in the Republic of Georgia: The Convergence of Domestic and Foreign Policy in an Anti-Corruption Drive,” Policing and Society 24:3, 318-45, 2014

Matthew Light and Nikolai Kovalev, “Russia, the Death Penalty, and Europe: The Ambiguities of Influence,” Post-Soviet Affairs 29: 6, 528–566, 2013

Matthew Light, “What Does It Mean To Control Migration?  Soviet Mobility Policies in Comparative Perspective,” Law and Social Inquiry 37:2 (Spring 2012), 395–429, 2012

Matthew Light, “Migration, “Globalised” Islam, and the Russian State:  A Case Study of Muslim Communities in Belgorod and Adygeya Regions,” Europe-Asia Studies, 64:2, 195-226, 2012


Comparative Criminal Justice
Theories of Criminal Justice
Organized Crime and Corruption
Topics in the Caucasus

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