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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

The purpose of this module is to help students explore issues in Russian political development over the last century according to their interests. Students have free choice of which topics they study so that the learning outcomes of the module will be individualized. In addition to the knowledge gained by students about the USSR and Russia, this module will help students to develop their analytical and research skills. All students, however, will have to search out information on contemporary Russia in their own time and will learn how to locate information in the library and on the WWW, will learn how to judge the merits of different information sources, will learn how to construct arguments from primary materials that they have and how to relate such materials to existing academic literatures. They will also have to learn how to interpret academic literature in changing circumstances, to relate it to a developing polity and judge it against change.


This module is a reading course, students consult over and decide in consultation with the lecturer over the topics in Soviet and Russian politics that they study and write on. These topics include may include, but are not limited to: Leninism and Bolshevism as political theory The 1917 revolution The relationship of Leninism and Stalinism The development of the Stalinist system The great terror Khrushchev and destalinisation The institutions of the USSR: the party-state system Theories of the development of the Soviet system The political economy of the USSR Soviet foreign policy The nature of the USSR (various approaches can be studied including totalitarianism, Marxist approaches etc) The Gorbachev reforms Why did the USSR collapse? Soviet legacies and the post-Soviet policy agenda The theory of economic reform and post-Soviet politics The post-Soviet struggle for power, 1992-1993 The presidency under Yeltsin Yeltsin, oligarchy and the corruption of the state The Putin programme: reform or retrenchment? The political economy of the new Russia Russia and the resource curse The new Russian political system: Elections The new Russian political system: political parties The new Russian political system: parliament The new Russian political system: the development and dysfunctions of federalism Russian foreign policy Russia in comparative perspective State and democracy in the new Russia

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

Recount key episodes in the development of the USSR and/or Russia and their political systems. Analyse and appraise the academic literature on specialized topics on Soviet and Russian politics.

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

Demonstrate an appreciation of the specificities of Soviet and/or Russian political devlopment.

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)

Present findings of their research on aspects of Soviet and/or Russian political development.

How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The module is taught through self-study and one-on-one tutorials in which students present their research findings on topics in Soviet and Russian politics. Student learning is therefore self-directed in large measure.

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Stephen Kotkin (2001) Armageddon averted: the Soviet collapse, 1970-2000 , Oxford University Press
Neil Robinson (2002) Russia , Routledge
Richard Sakwa (1999) Soviet politics in perspective , Routledge
Richard Sakwa (2008) Putin. Russia┬┐s choice , Routledge
Michael Waller (2005) Russian politics today , Manchester University Press

Other Relevant Texts:

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

Semester - Year to be First Offered:


Module Leader: