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Russian Foreign Policy


Admission requirements

An essential prerequisite for this course is the ability to read and understand Russian. This means having completed the languages courses from the first two years of Russische studies at Leiden, or an equivalent level of knowledge.


This course analyses the complexity of Russian foreign and security policy in international relations, which dominated headlines worldwide with the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. It is thematic and theoretical, tracing developments since the collapse of the USSR. At the same time, the course requires an awareness of contemporary events in Russia and the world. It examines Russia’s relations with other republics in post-Soviet Eurasia from integration projects to invasions. The course moves on to study Russia’s relations with the EU, the United States, China and other rising powers on the world stage as Moscow strives to find its place in, or seeks to reshape, the 21st century global order.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will, through class discussion and written assignments, be able to:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of Russian foreign and security policy and international relations since 1991 through written assignments and oral presentations;

  • Interpret the broader meanings of these developments with reference to appropriate concepts and theoretical paradigms in the field of international relations;

  • Develop their skills to independently and critically appraise current developments in the Russian Federation and its actions on the world stage.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar. Attendance is mandatory. Absences without good reasons can result in exclusion from examinations.

Assessment method


  • One report for a general audience (written assignment)

  • One academic essay (written assignment)

  • One individual oral presentation in class

  • Final written examination with essay questions


  • Two written assignments (40% in total)

  • One oral presentation (10%)

  • Final written examination (50%)

In order to pass the course, students must have completed all assessment components to obtain a weighted average of 5.50 (=6) or higher.


  • Late submission of assignments without prior agreement for extenuating circumstances will be penalised.

  • Only the final written exam can be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Journal articles, book chapters and appropriate online material will be made available through Brightspace.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats.


Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).