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History: Russia and Eurasia: ‘History of Russia, postwar modernization’


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


A one term seminar on the political and social modernization of Russia during the last century, in which the students prepare and discuss written and oral presentations on the basis of selected documents and a textbook, adding up to a final session for the discussion of the students’ concluding theses on the current position of Russia in the world and the legacy of her past.

Session Subject Kenez p. Sakwa p. Class 1 Introduction: Russia in turmoil 1-14 - Assignments 2 Leninism and state building 1-80 1-127 Presentations and Discussions 3 Stalinism and social engineering 80-132 127-234 “ 4 The Great Patriotic War 132-160 234-289 “ 5 Cold Peace and superpower 160-184 289-313 “ 6 Thaw and confrontation 184-214 313-351 “ 7 Transformation and stagnation 184-214 313-351 “ 8 Crisis and perestroika 234-278 423-487 “ 9 The reincarnation of Russia 278-305 recent source “ 10 Russia as democracy recent articles on blackboard “ 11 Russia in the world recent articles on blackboard “ 12 Group’s theses - - Round table### Course objectives

Knowledge of the main political and social history of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia.
Ability in analyzing sources and giving written and oral presentations.
Insight in the dynamics of change and modernization in a multinational empire.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week, four tutorials spread out over the semester.

Assessment method

One essay (30%), a midterm and a final exam (together 70%)


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Textbook:
    Peter Kenez, A history of the Soviet Union from the beginning to the end (2nd ed. Cambridge UP; Cambridge 2006)

  • Sourcebook:
    Richard Sakwa, The rise and fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991 Routledge sources in history series (Routledge reprint 2009; Londen 1999)


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable