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History: Russia and Eurasia


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


A seminar of 5 ects on the political and social modernization of Russia during the twentieth century, in which students prepare and discuss the general theme on the basis of a textbook and give individual presentations on the basis of a collection of documents, adding up to a final session for the discussion of the students’ concluding papers (prepared in the tutorial) on the legacy of the past for the current situation of Russia.

Course objectives

Knowledge of the main facts, persons and developments in the history of the Soviet Union, as well of the debates on the key-concepts in the historiography on this subject.
Insights in the multi-layered quality of the Soviet experience, in the interactions between state and society and in the dynamics of Russia’s ongoing modernization process.
Skills in reading and understanding an introductory textbook as well as an annotated collection of primary sources, ability in presenting talks on subthemes from this materials and participating in group discussions, and in writing reports and a final essay on the basis of the studied literature and additional academic articles.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials. Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover both issues discussed in the readings, and issues outside of the readings.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs

  • Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per two weeks: 12 hrs

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 60 hrs

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 40 hrs

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with open questions

Final exam:

  • Written examination with open questions


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 % (including the assessment for oral presentation and participation)

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

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)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. J.H.C. Kern