The Center for Slavic and East European Studies (CSEES) is pleased to announce that the 2019 Spring Semester Graduate Student Lecture will be presented by CSEES MA student, Brenden Wood.
Brenden’s lecture will discuss his thesis research which considers the accountability between Russian civil society and the federal government in regard to prison reform. The talk will focus on the Russian Civic Chamber, an institution that is meant to function as an intermediary between the federal government and civil society, but has been criticized as being ineffective due to its lack of constitutional authority and the fact that its members are in part appointed directly by the Kremlin. In his lecture, Brenden will demonstrate that prison activism in the Chamber is not completely debilitated or controlled, but rather that the Chamber is able to exercise a relatively high degree of autonomy. As a result, there has remained an active prison rights community operating within civil society, in spite of the growing limitations placed on civic groups in recent years. He will also discuss the future of prison rights and conditions in Russia, which he speculates are going to continue to develop largely based on geographic factors without systematic and concrete top-down reform efforts.