The course consists of two main blocks. In the first block we will focus on domestic politics of Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, attempt to define Russia’s political system, and situate it in a comparative perspective. More specifically, we will analyse the changes that occurred in the institutional arrangement and state-society relations during the transition years and under Putin’s rule. In addition to the core reading focusing on domestic politics (institutional design, political parties, federalism, civil society, and media), we will explore the academic literature on regime types and articles comparing Russia with other countries. The second block of the course will focus on Russia’s foreign policy and international relations. We will discuss competing ideas about Russia’s place in the world present among Russian elites and the actual relations of Russia with countries in different regions of the world (USA, EU, and China). Moreover, we will discuss the role of Russia in international organizations (United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Eurasian Economic Union, and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation). We will debate the conflicts in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2013-) and the idea of a ‘New Cold War’. Students will be encouraged to apply concepts of nationalism, sovereignty, democratisation, globalisation, and human rights in the context of Russian foreign policy, as well as reflect on the links between domestic and international politics.
Objective 1: The aim of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to Russian politics: increase their knowledge and understanding of Russia’s political system and its position in international relations.
Objective 2: Students will learn to apply theories and concepts from the fields of comparative politics and international relations to the case of Russia and strengthen their analytical skills in writing and presenting.
Mode of Instruction
Short lectures, seminar-style discussions, student presentations and reports
Part one - obligatory for all
Remington, Thomas F., Politics in Russia, Seventh Edition, Longman, Boston etc. 2012 (or later edition)
White, Stephen, Sakwa, Richard and Hale, HHenry E. (eds.), Developments in Russian Politics 8, Palgrave Macmillan, Duke University Press, 2014. (Be sure to buy this edition.)
Part two - optional
Åslund, Anders, How Ukraine Became a Market Economy and Democracy, The Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington D.C. 2009
Åslund, Anders, Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It, Institute for International Relaitons, U.S., 2015
Balmaceda, Margarita M., Clem, James I. and Tarlow, Lisbeth L. (eds), Independent Belarus: Domestic Determinants, Regional Dynamics, and Implications for the West, Harvard U.P., Cambridge (Mass.) 2002
Barany, Zoltan & Moser, Robert G. (eds), Russian Politics: Challenges of Democratization, Cambridge U.P., Cambridge etc. 2001
In addition, a collection of academic book chapters and journal articles will be used (to be announced). A course syllabus will be made available via Blackboard.
Active participation (10%), presentation (15%), mid-term essay (30%), final paper (45%). Regular attendance is required; students who miss more than two sessions will automatically fail the course.
See Preliminary Info