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History: Russia and Eurasia


Admission requirements

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


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

Course objectives

Knowledge of the basic 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 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 articles.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials.
Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

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

  • Hours spent on attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks + hours on attending tutorials 2 hours per two weeks x 6: 36 hrs

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 60 hours

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 44 hours

Assessment method

  • Tutorials 30%

  • Midterm Exam 30%

  • Final Exam 40%

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, email