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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 the Russian studies at Leiden, or an equivalent of knowledge.


This course analyses the complexity of international relations and Russian foreign policy. It is thematic and theoretical, tracing themes and developments since the Soviet era. At the same time, the course requires an awareness of contemporary events in Russia and the world. It studies Russia as it has emerged from the rubble of the USSR as a regional power and a putative global actor. It examines Russia’s relations with other republics in post-Soviet Eurasia – the so-called ‘near abroad’ from Ukraine to Uzbekistan. The course moves on to study Russia’s relations with the EU, European countries, the United States, and China on the world stage in the 21st century.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of Russian foreign policy and international relations since 1991 through written 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 international relations of Russia.


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Mode of instruction

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

Assessment method


  • Two written assignments

  • One oral presentation based on an additional reading

  • Final written examination with open and essay questions


  • Two written assignments (40% of total)

  • 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. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

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


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

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Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher: Dr. M. Frear
Coordinator of Studies: E.C.Munter
Administrations Office: Reuvensplaats


Academic Integrity

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).