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Бакалаврская программа «Политология и мировая политика»

Politics and Society in Post-Soviet States

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
3-й курс, 1, 2 модуль

Course Syllabus


This course examines the political, social and economic development of the fifteen post-Soviet states since 1991. The course takes a thematic approach to explore patterns among the post-Soviet states. It considers why democratic and market reforms have been problematic and patchy, with reference to important features of the region's shared Soviet legacy and political landscape (oligarchs, media control, 'coloured revolutions', energy relationships and separatism). The policies of external actors are analysed. A key theme of the module is to increase the knowledge of student’s away from Russia to provide greater understanding of the other post-Soviet state. The course assesses the conflicts, societies, economies and politics across the post-Soviet region providing students with in-depth knowledge of the sociological, economic and political cleavages in the post-Soviet region
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • • The course aims at forming a coherent knowledge of the recent political developments in the post-Soviet states through the lens of various conceptual and theoretical approaches
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • explain political, economic and social developments in the post-Soviet states using concepts from political science theory
  • • evaluate arguments, present ideas and defend a theoretical position in relation to the topics covered.
  • • show understanding of the political systems and societies of the post-Soviet states and their relationships with Russia, the EU and China
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • • Introduction: Politics and Society of the post-Soviet space.
    This week provides the students with an overview of the module and explains what I require of them in terms of assignments and how I can be contacted. The lecture will focus on whether there is still such a thing as a ‘post-Soviet’ space.
  • • Post-Soviet Politics: The transition, break-up of the Soviet Union.
    This week we discuss the transitions in the post-Soviet region and assess why democracy and capitalism have been so difficult to construct in the area. We analyse the different literatures on the transitions in the region to gauge why democracy has been so difficult to implement in the post-Soviet space.
  • • Memory Politics: Interpretations of Soviet and Tsarist history, particularly Russia’s interpretation and other post-Soviet states reaction.
    This week investigates the interpretations of Soviet and Tsarist history. In particular we analyse Russia’s interpretation of these events and other post-Soviet states reaction.
  • • Post-Soviet Society: Demography, class structure, civil society, oligarchy.
    This week assesses the issues of demography, class structure, civil society, oligarchy in the post-Soviet space. By analysing each the week gives students a better understanding of societal issues in the post-Soviet region.
  • • Religion: One Orthodox Church, or many?
    This week investigated the different religions in the post-Soviet region, how these interact and the political and societal ramifications of each. The Russian Orthodox Church is the main protagonist of the week, but other Christian denominations are analysed as is Islam and Judaism.
  • • Mass media: Press control and freedom in the post-Soviet space.
    This week looks at media in the post-Soviet space and the interaction between the state and media in the region. Analysis of how media operates in each of the post-Soviet states.
  • • Energy: Oil and gas and how these resources are used.
    This week assesses how oil and gas underpins the economies of some post-Soviet states. The week investigates how Russia uses its natural resource wealth geo-politically and analyses the politics of energy in general.
  • • The Western Post-Soviet space: Events in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
    This week gives an historical overview of the events in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. It will analyse present-day events in all three countries to give students a good understanding of these three important countries. The week also analyses the role of external actors in this sub-region.
  • • The South Caucasus: Armenia Georgia and Azerbaijan.
    This week provides an historical overview of Armenia Georgia and Azerbaijan and analyses the geo-political position of the South Caucasus and relations between the three states. The week also analyses the role of external actors in this sub-region.
  • • Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
    This week provides an historical overview of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and analyses the geo-political position of Central Asia and relations between the five states. The week also analyses the role of external actors in this sub-region.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class Participation
    Assessment will be based on preparation of the readings assigned to each tutorial, participation in class discussion with the main focus on the student’s contribution to the discussion. Student’s should be able to answer questions based on the readings, devise their own interpretations and react to comments made by other students. Students are expected to be actively involved in tutorial discussions and in-class group assignments, read the mandatory literature assigned to each seminar and be ready to apply information developed in the seminar’s to their own research.
  • non-blocking Presentation
    20 minutes
  • non-blocking Response Papers (2 papers):
    Each student will write two brief (1000 words) response papers on the assigned optional readings for two tutorial sessions of their choice. The papers should not summarize the readings, but should link the readings with broader themes addressed in the course. Each paper should evaluate the main argument(s) in the readings. Papers should compare and contrast the arguments in the readings. Response papers are due by the tutorial sessions that they are related to (if a student decides to write a response paper on the readings assigned for tutorial 2, he/she must submit his/her paper via email to the instructor before the tutorial).
  • non-blocking Final paper
    The exam (in the form of a final paper) should relate to any aspect of the course. It can be a critical review of the existing literature on a specific topic, or an original piece of research (students should propose the topic and format of the paper for approval by the instructor no later than tutorial 4). The final paper should focus on one or several aspects of the course and analyse the chosen topic to one (or several post-Soviet countries. The final paper is due by the tutorial 9. Specific requirements for the final paper are: the final paper should clearly state a research question relevant to the theoretical, conceptual and empirical debates within the course and related academic literature; the final paper should present a coherent analysis with a clear argument embedded in a relevant theoretical discussions and be supported by empirical evidence; the final paper should include at least 10 items in the reference list (both academic literature and primary sources). 2500 words including references
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.3 * Final paper + 0.2 * In-class Participation + 0.2 * Presentation + 0.3 * Response Papers (2 papers):


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Ambrosio, T. (DE-588)1146349157, (DE-576)184707331. (2009). Authoritarian backlash : Russian resistance to democratization in the former Soviet Union / Thomas Ambrosio. Ashgate.
  • Babayan, N. (2015). Democratic Transformation and Obstruction : EU, US, and Russia in the South Caucasus. Routledge.
  • Wilson, A. (DE-588)124849954, (DE-576)294534180. (2005). Virtual politics : faking democracy in the post-Soviet world / Andrew Wilson. Yale University Press.
  • Wilson, A. (DE-588)124849954, (DE-576)294534180. (2011). Belarus : the last dictatorship in Europe / Andrew Wilson. Yale Univ. Press.
  • Wilson, A. (DE-588)124849954, (DE-627)366972324, (DE-576)294534180, aut. (2014). Ukraine Crisis what it means for the West Andrew Wilson.
  • Zweerde, E. van der, Jödicke, A., & Agadjanian, A. (2015). Religion, Nation and Democracy in the South Caucasus. Routledge.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Audrey L. Altstadt. (2017). Frustrated Democracy in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan. Woodrow Wilson Center Press / Columbia University Press.
  • Marlene Laruelle, & Johan Engvall. (2015). Kyrgyzstan Beyond “Democracy Island” and ’Failing State’ : Social and Political Changes in a Post-Soviet Society. Lexington Books.
  • Olcott, M. B. (2012). Tajikistan’s Difficult Development Path. Carnegie Endowment for Int’l Peace.
  • Wilson, A. (2015). The Ukrainians : Unexpected Nation, Fourth Edition: Vol. Fourth edition. Yale University Press.