PIR-20078 - Russian Politics and Society
Coordinator: Kyril Th Drezov Room: CBA1.024 Tel: +44 1782 7 33590
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2019/20

None

Available as a Free Standing Elective

No

Co-requisites

None

Prerequisites

None

Barred Combinations

None

Description for 2019/20

The main theme of this module is the most important political experiment of the twentieth century - the attempt to build communism in Russia. We look at:
* the ideological, cultural and political origins of communism
* the nature of the political, economic and social systems created under Lenin and Stalin
* the decline of the Soviet system
* the causes of the collapse of Soviet communism in the Gorbachev period
* communism's legacy and the postcommunist Russian political system
* Putin and Putinism
Indicative reading: Orlando Figes: Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991 (2014); Robert Service: The Penguin History of Modern Russia: from Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century (4th edition 2015).

Aims
This introductory Russian politics module, intended for second year students, addresses the following areas:
- An historical overview, focussing on dominant political values and traditions, and on how political institutions were formed in the Soviet period;
- Governing structures, institutional interactions and the mechanics of power in the Soviet Union and in postcommunist Russia;
- The development of civil society in Russia;
- Russia and democracy: democratic development and obstacles to democracy in contemporary Russia.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.
http://lists.lib.keele.ac.uk/modules/pir-20078/lists

Intended Learning Outcomes

Describe the main features of the Soviet political and economic systems, explain their origins, and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses: 1
Describe and analyse the main theoretical approaches to the study of the Soviet Union, and in particular the usefulness of the totalitarian model: 2
Account for the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and 1990s: 2
Describe the main features of the political system in postcommunist Russia, and assess why democracy has failed to take root: 2
Write effectively on an unfamiliar topic for a non specialist audience: 1

Study hours

Lectures/workshops 12 hours;
Seminars 8 hours;
Seminar preparation 32 hours;
Blog writing 32 hours;
Essay writing 66 hours

School Rules

None

Description of Module Assessment

1: Report weighted 35%
One blog post of 1250 words on a topic of the student's choice
Students will select an item from a list identified by tutors and produce a blog of 1250 words, designed as a piece of writing for a lay audience informed by the module material.

2: Essay weighted 65%
One essay of 2000 words
Students will produce one essay of 2000 words chosen from a list of titles that require students to confront the 'big' questions about the meaning of the communist experiment in Russia, its legacy and the nature of postcommunist politics