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PURE Award winners 2014: Luc Bibeau

PURE student researches the effects of market liberalization on Russia's organized criminal culture in post-Soviet Russian


June 16, 2014

Committed to a goal of research excellence with its bold Eyes High strategy, one of the University of Calgary’s most important initiatives is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience, better known as PURE.

Each year undergraduates can apply for the prestigious PURE Awards, which provide financial research support to some of the university’s most promising students over the Spring and Summer months.

The program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn how to develop research projects, undertake independent research and contribute to knowledge in their respective fields.

In this Q&A series we will meet the PURE Award winners from the Faculty of Arts. Good luck to each of them in their research pursuits!

Name – Luc Bibeau

Degree sought – Double major in Russian Studies and International Relations. Set to graduate in 2015.

Research Topic— Through the roof underground: The effects of market liberalization on Russia’s organized criminal culture in post-Soviet Russia.

Supervisor – Adjunct Assistant Professor Irina Shilova (Linguisitics, Languages and Cultures)

What attracted you to this research project? – “During the fall semester of 2013, I completed an internship in Odessa, Ukraine with the European Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM). I had the opportunity to learn more about regional issues including transnational crime in the post-Soviet space. Cultural changes fascinate me and criminal culture is no exception. This project presented the ideal opportunity to pursue that passion while drawing on my background in international relations and the Russian classes that I have taken here at the University of Calgary.”

Why is this research important? – “The changes that have taken place in Russia and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism cannot be understated. This research will help to improve our understanding of how cultural institutions react and adapt to structural changes in the political and economic spheres. We hope to find new insights and links to the past by analyzing what has changed and what remains the same in this sub-culture today.”

What do you hope to achieve with this research? – “To develop my research skills, improve my fluency in the Russian language and, ideally, I hope to develop an article for future publication.”

What do you love most about your field of study? – “More than anything I love the people that I’ve met along the way. Russian Studies in particular draws in an interesting assortment of individuals. Language and culture are inseparable. This fact becomes abundantly clear in any Russian class and the discussion frequently weaves through politics, philosophy and linguistics like a drunken marshrutka driver on the streets of Odessa.”