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EU-Russia Relations


Admission requirements

Registration for the Minor European Union Studies or admission to the pre-master European Union Studies.


Throughout the post-Cold War period, Russia has loomed large on the EU horizon, perceived alternately and sometimes simultaneously as an opportunity, a threat; a partner, an enemy. For a long time considered by Brussels to be a strategic partner, in 2014, in the background of the Ukrainian conflict, the EU’s Foreign Policy chief declared that Russia was no longer a strategic partner. In this course, students will examine the basis and nature of the relationship from its inception to the present day in order to identify the shifts in the relationship and the reasons for them.

Key policy areas considered include: the Common Foreign and Security Policy; Trade Policy; and Energy Policy. At the same time, students are encouraged to understand that EU-Russia relations can and must be studied on a range of levels and through a range of actors. Thus, the Brussels-Moscow relationship and their inter-institutional dynamics are studied alongside some of the key member states’ national relations with Moscow. Emphasis is also placed on the EU’s and Russia’s relations with the USA in order to understand whether and how they impact on the EU-Russia relationship.

Course Objectives

  • Through analysis of the EU-Russia relationship, to develop students’ understanding of foreign policymaking in the EU.

  • To identify and examine the multiple levels of analysis, the multiplicity of actors and variety of sectors that impact on the EU’s policymaking.

  • To examine relevant primary sources and apply theoretical and empirical knowledge and understanding acquired in this and other courses to EU-Russia relations.

  • To understand the nature of the EU-Russian relationship and to develop critical, policy-relevant arguments in respect of it.


Mode of Instruction

Lectures, seminars and group and individual research. In addition, parts of the course will be taught using enquiry-based learning, incorporating independent study, prescribed reading, group discussion and debates.

Course load

Total course load is 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours:
Course participation (2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours);

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and preparation for the lecture/seminars (4 x 13 hours = 52 hours);

  • Researching and writing the portfolio (62 hours).

Assessment Method


  • Play active part in class discussions

  • Portfolio to contain three different elements from the five offered:

  1. Review article of one of the books assigned for reading (1,200 words)
  2. Critique of two relevant commentary-based online platforms (1,200 words);
  3. Script for official speech (1,500 words);
  4. Single Twitter thread responding to Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweet(s) (minimum of 15 and maximum of 25 tweets in the thread)
  5. Script for podcast (1,500 words).


  • Play active part in class discussions (25%)

  • Portfolio, each element weighted equally (75%)


  • Resits are available only for those students who fail the course as a whole. All failed elements can be resat – except active participation.

  • Portfolio: revise and resubmit any (or all) of the failed elements only

Exam Review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for uploading of all course documents, including slides used in lectures/seminars; updates regarding the course; submission of all assessments

Reading list

  • a detailed reading list will be distributed at the start of the course, including compulsory reading for each class;

  • it is recommended that students familiarise themselves with resources available at https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/russia_en.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in [English])http://hum.leiden.edu/students/study-administration/usis-english.html) and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable




Dr. M.E.L. David