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Politics Russia and Eurasia


Admission requirements

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


The course looks at political developments in Russia and post-Soviet Eurasia from the collapse of the USSR to the present day and the relative successes and failures of democratization or authoritarian consolidation in the region. It provides a unique opportunity to investigate the collapse of a superpower and its aftermath. Due to its importance and size there will be a particular focus on the Russian Federation, however the course will also examine other post-Soviet republics from Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus or Central Asia through the perspective of comparative politics. By the end of the course students will be familiar with such concepts as democratic transition, institutional choice, electoral politics and the role of political opposition, state- and nation-building, and hybrid authoritarian regimes within the diverse context of the post-Soviet political experience – from Ukraine to Uzbekistan.

Course objectives

Students gain insight into the politics of the Russia and post-Soviet Eurasia in the context of the transition from communism to democracy, authoritarianism or hybrid regimes. They will examine the relevance of comparative political theories and concepts to developments in the region and learn where and why countries in Eurasia have followed different political trajectories in spite of their common Soviet past.


The timetable will be available on the BA International Studies website .

Mode of instruction

Lecture course with 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 5EC x 28 hours= 140 hours, broken down by
Attending classes: 24 hours
Reading for classes and exam preparation: 72 hours
Researching and writing assignments: 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

  • Selected articles and book chapters provided by the lecturer via Blackboard.


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.


Dr. M.J. Frear, email