Arsenii Verkeev is is Wisconsin Russia Project Spring 2022 Pre-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Arsenii’s research interests are empirical studies of law, crime, and social control with a particular focus on the demand for law, victim experience, and social construction of deviance. His current research is focused on perceptions of crime and safety in Russia. Taking advantage of various datasets, it inquires into correlates of fear of crime, perceived safety, and mobilization of law.
His collaborative projects explore the role of formal legislation in shaping social norms and values (Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research), and the social impacts of natural disasters (Friedrich Ebert Foundation). Earlier he has contributed to the Russian Crime Victimization Survey, the first nationally representative study of crime victims in the country, as a research assistant at the Institute for the Rule of Law at the European University at St. Petersburg.
Arseny is a doctoral student in sociology at the Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg where he is involved in teaching graduate-level courses as a seminar instructor. He holds an M.A. in sociology from the same university. Earlier he graduated from the Liberal Arts and Sciences program (Smolny) of St. Petersburg State University with a major in economics. At UW–Madison, his work is curated by Professor Kathryn Hendley.
Perceptions of Crime in Russia: Do US-Developed Indicators Help?
If a person does not become a crime victim, but constantly fears it, this will have an impact on her or his life. Research on fear
of crime by today become a classic topic area in American criminology. Its expansion to social science outside the US has
happened primarily through large survey projects such as the European Social Survey (ESS). Along with that, the so-called
standard “fear of crime” items were implemented into national surveys such as the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey –
Higher School of Economics (RLMS–HSE), including likely the most recognizable question: “How safe do you – or would you –
feel walking alone in this area after dark?” (ESS). However, the difference in social environments of the survey procedures,
often overlooked in literature, remains an issue for substantial interpretation of data on crime collected in countries different
than the US. In the US, research on fear of crime, perceptions of safety, and victimization was to a large extent a reaction to
the rapid increase in crime from 1960s to the early 90s. During that period, many social movements for victim rights have
developed, and crime has been recognized as a major social problem in the country, often publicly discussed in that manner.
In Russia this historical context is absent. Moreover, the problem of street crime and gun violence in Russia is significantly less
prevalent than in the US, where such behavior is responsible for many lethal incidents, at comparable levels with domestic or
non-gun violence. Perceptions of crime are also connected to other contextual factors which differ by country, such as the level
of interpersonal trust and the demand for law. These differences constitute a challenge for anyone trying to inquire into how
crime is perceived in a particular national context while using measures developed for another one. This study addresses the
issues above and makes an attempt to shed light on perceptions of crime in contemporary Russia, using the most recent and
high-quality data available from the ESS, RLMS–HSE, and the Russian Crime Victimization Survey (RCVS), a nationally
representative survey of crime victims conducted in 2021.