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Regular version of the site

Political History of Russia and Foreign Countries

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
1 year, 1-4 module


Course Syllabus


This is a general course introducing fundamental political processes in the world and in Russia from the early modern time to 1991. The course will outline historical contexts of such issues as formation of modern state and governmental practices; emergence of nation-states; main political ideologies and political parties; social and political revolutions; mass politics and new forms of political movements. The course is aimed at developing comparative thinking and deepening the understanding of any political phenomenon in its historical dimension.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To familiarize students with main events and phenomena of political history of Russian and foreign countries in the 16-20th centuries
  • To familiarize students with main concepts of political history
  • To develop students' comparative thinking
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • The student consistently uses terminology of political history
  • The student consistently uses terminology of political history, knows main facts of political history of Russia and foreign countries (16th-20th centuries)
  • The student can discuss scholarly issues in groups and present the results of these discussions; can solve scholarly issue in collaboration with groupmates.
  • The student can identify main thesis and issues raised in scholarly literature
  • The student can comprehend primary sources effectively
  • The student consistently uses terminology of political history, knows main facts of political history of Russia and foreign countries (16th-20th centuries
  • The student can communicate information and ideas in a style that is completely appropriate to discussions of scholarly literature
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction: What is political history?
    What is history? What is political history
  • Early Modern European state building
    Weberian concept of the state, chronology of the early modern period, Reformation and the birth of capitalism, types of early modern state and their peculiarities (England, France, Sweden, Spain)
  • The Russian Empire in the making, XVI–XVII centuries
    Periodization of state-formation in Russia, the rule of Ivan IV, expansion of Muscovy, Time of Troubles, the first Romanovs and the changes in Muscovy, autocracy in Muscovite state, modernization of governance in early modern Russia, early modern Russian empire
  • European politics in the XVIII century: Ancien regime and Enlightenment absolutisms
    Long seventeenth and long eighteenth centuries, European balance of power, The Second Hundred Years War, Industrial Revolution, Enlightenment thinking, Physiocrats, enlightened absolutism, Prussia and the concept of fiscal military state
  • American War of Independence and the French Revolution
    The age of revolution in the Atlantic world, origins of American war, the Declaration of Independence, American Revolutionary War, Was it a revolution, the origins of French revolution, Constituent assembly of 1789 and the beginning of confrontation, The declaration of the rights of man and citizen, French Revolutionary wars, Jacobin terror, Thermidorian reaction, French Consulate, Political outcomes.
  • European wars and revolutions in XIX century
    Napoleonic wars, Vienna system of international relations, Serbian revolution, Greek War of Independence, Belgian revolution, French revolution, Spring of Nations, Unification of Italy and Germany, Crimean War, Franco-Prussian War, Spanish Revolution, French Commune, Russo-Turkish war 1877-78.
  • Age of nationalism: the issue of the emergence of the nation states
    Definitions of nation, French enlightenment and the idea of nation, definition of nationalism, paths to nation state in the 19th century, nations and empires, features and issues of the established nation-state in the nineteenth century
  • Industrial revolution in Europe
    The first industrial revolution. “The Great Divergence” and “the European Miracle”. Political institutions and representative government. The Chartist movement.
  • The politics of the early modern colonial empires
    Atlantic world in the early modern period, age of discovery, Portuguese Empire, Spanish Empire, Dutch Empire, British empire, types of early modern colonialism
  • European Imperialism and colonial rule in the XIX century
    Late nineteenth century empire building, imperialism, the age of imperialism, anti-imperialism, colonialism, Imperialism in South Asia and China, Scramble for Africa, crises of empire and anti-colonial resistance, governance of the colonies, racism
  • The Russian Empire in the XIX century: power and reforms
    Peter the Great and modernization of Russia, Alexander I, Decembrist revolt, Nicholas I, estates of the realm, reforms of Alexander II, Alexander III and counter-reforms,
  • Civil War in the USA and Reconstruction
    Jacksonian Democracy and nationalism in the US in the first half of the 19th century, contrast between North and South, slavery and bonded labour in the US, attitude of Democrats and Republicans to slavery and race, abolitionism in the US, American Civil War, global impact of the Civil War, the road for emancipation and Reconstruction in the US, failure of presidential reconstruction.
  • Modernization of East Asia in the nineteenth century
    Modernity and Westernization. Meiji Restoration in Japan. Self-Strengthening Movement in China. Gabo Reform in Korea.
  • The making of modern political ideologies: Liberalism and Conservatism
    Ideology, ideas of liberalism (Benjamin Constant), classical liberalism, classical political economy, John Stuart Mill, utopian socialism, conservatism, Edmund Burke.
  • The making of modern political ideologies: Socialism and Anarchism
    Utopian socialism, Karl Marx, main concepts, capitalism, Marxist theory of history, mode of production, class struggle and proletariat, Manifesto of the Communist Party, Marxist and anarchist theory of the state, Mikhail Bakunin and his ideas
  • Politics in the First World War
    The causes of the First World War. Entente and Quadruple Alliance. The Balkan Wars. How the war became “total war”? Social-political effects of war mobilisation. War governments. Crisis in Austria-Hungary and Russian Empire. USA in the war. The armistice and peace settlement.
  • The Russian Empire in the revolutions, 1905–1921
    Pre-revolutionary Russian Empire, Russian-Japanese war, The Russian Revolution 1905-07, October Manifesto, the results of First Revolution, February revolution, Russian Provisional Government, Petrograd Soviet, Crises, October Revolution and first decrees.
  • The Soviet political system
    October revolution, or a coup. Lenin and the Council of People's Commissars. Revolutionary decrees. The Constituent Assembly elections
  • Restructuring the world order after the First World War
    Paris Peace Conference and creation of a new world order. Formation of new states and problem of nationalism. International relations in the period of interregnum. The policy of “appeasement” toward Germany. The Munich Pact. Military conflicts of the 1930’s. The German–Soviet Non-aggression
  • Interregnum: Liberal democracies in crisis
    Representation of the People Act 1918. Labour government. Weimar Republic. Democratic Czechoslovakia. “Sanation” government in Poland. The New Deal in USA. Welfare programs in Europe.
  • Stalinism: totalitarian regime in the USSR
    Notions of Stalinism. “The revolution from above” and “the Great Leap”. The structure of political power. Collective ruling and personal dictatorship. The 1936 Constitution. The Great Terror. and the politics of terror. The High Stalinism..
  • Totalitarian regimes in Italy and Germany
    Postwar political challenges. Fascism and Nazism in Italy and Germany. B. Mussolini and A. Hitler. Ideology and practice of totalitarian political movements. Nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism. Cult of personality and leadership. War crimes and genocide.
  • World politics in the Second World War
    The causes of the Second World War. Pact. Vichy France. Winston Churchill. Operation Barbarossa. The Nazis’ “New Order”. Charles de Gaulle. Anti-fascist resistance, partisan movements. The Holocaust. The USSR’s role in the outcome of the war
  • The Cold War, 1946–1961
    Yalta Conference. Fulton’s speech. Truman’s doctrine. The Marshall Plan. NATO. Eastern Bloc and Warsaw Pact. Non-Aligned Movement. Division of Germany. The Korean War. Nuclear weapon. The 1954 Geneva and Berlin conferences. The Suez Crisis. The Eisenhower Doctrine. The Berlin crisis. Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • The Cold War, 1962–1991
    Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik. The 1968 crisis and the Brezhnev Doctrine. Détente and international meetings. Strategic Arms Limitation. Policy of peaceful coexistence. Global conflicts and global cooperation. The Second Cold war
  • Communist polities in global history
    Meanings of communism and socialism. Making postwar communist regimes. The Yugoslavian path to socialism. Communist takeovers of late 1940’s. People’s republics and people’s democracy. National roads to Communism. Hungarian Revolution and ‘goulash Communism’. Czechoslovakian’ ‘socialism with a human face’. The 1968’s crisis.
  • Political development of China in the XX century
    Сhina in the early XX century: political crisis. Patriotic and nationalist movements. Last emperors. New Culture Movement. The Kuomintang. Chinese Civil War. Mao Zedong and Maoism. Chinese Communist Revolution and People's Republic of China. The Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping and market reforms.
  • Decolonization in Asia. Resistance, revolutions, wars.
    Laos, Pathet Lao. Sihanouk and Red Khmers in Cambodia. Evolution of Indonesian political regime from Sukarno to Suharto. Thailand and military dictatorships. Political development of Malaya. Philippines and presidency of Marcos. Malaysia and Singapore. Division of British India. Decolonization of Africa. South-east Asia after the WW2: paths to independence. Vietnam War. USA and Philippines.
  • Democracy and the post-WW2 political regimes in the West
    The Federal Republic of Germany and Christian Democrats. German Social Democrats and Willie Brandt. Labour Party in power in the UK. The France’s Fourth Republic and Charles de Gaulle. The Italian republic. Scandinavian Social-Democracy. Democratization of the Iberian states.
  • The “Global Sixties”: new political movements across the world
    Decolonization of Africa. South Africa Apartheid. Division of British India. Laos, Pathet Lao. Sihanouk and Red Khmers in Cambodia. Evolution of Indonesian political regime from Sukarno to Suharto. Thailand and military dictatorships. Political development of Malaya. Philippines, USA and presidency of Marcos. Malaysia and Singapore. South-east Asia after WW2: paths to independence. Vietnam War.
  • The making of neoliberal state.
    Theories of Neoliberalism.The making of neoliberal state and politics. Chile in 1973. Thatcher and Conservative party in power. Reagan and Neo-conservatism.
  • The anti-communist revolutions of 1989–1991
    Crises of state socialism in Europe. The anti-communist revolutions of 1989–1991. The Solidarity and Poland’s democratic transition. Peaceful revolutions. Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. The Fall of the Berlin wall. Romanian violent revolution. The Global 1989. The democratic transitions of the early 1990’s.
  • The political crisis and the dissolution of the USSR
    The USSR in the 1960-1980’s. Economic and political crisis? Mikhail Gorbachev and the Perestroika. Political alternatives from late 1980’s to early 1990’s. Democratic oOpposition. Boris Yeltsin and the institution of presidency. Dissolution of the USSR
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminar discussion
  • non-blocking Preliminary assessment
    Preliminary assessment consists of a written assignment which includes 2 questions based on the issues discussed during the seminars and lectures
  • non-blocking Exam test
    The exam will be held in the written format. The final exam is a test in LMS (lms.hse.ru) covering the topics and questions discussed in seminars and lectures. Students have to log in to their personal LMS accounts 5 minutes prior to the exam, and open the page of the discipline “Political history of Russia and Foreign countries”. Students’ computers should meet the following requirements: stable access to Internet, Google Chrome, Opera or Safari, access to LMS. In order to take the exam, students need login and password to their personal LMS account. They have to log in according to the schedule of the exam. During the exam it is forbidden to plagiarize, (copy material, communicate with the groupmates, etc.) and to open any new tabs other than LMS test. The student can be offline only for a minute. If the student is offline for more than a minute, he/she will not be able to continue the exam. Students who fail the exam will have to retake it in the same format.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.4 * Exam test + 0.23 * Preliminary assessment + 0.37 * Seminar discussion


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Banner, J. M. (2012). Being a Historian : An Introduction to the Professional World of History. New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=438567
  • Berger, S. (2006). A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe, 1789 - 1914. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=147363
  • Brown, A. (2007). Seven Years That Changed the World : Perestroika in Perspective. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1761087
  • Bushkovitch, P. (2012). A Concise History of Russia. New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=432731
  • Cameron, E. (1999). Early Modern Europe : An Oxford History. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=364431
  • Cotterell, A. (2014). A History of Southeast Asia. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International [Asia] Pte Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=846075
  • Elliott, J. H. (2006). Empires of the Atlantic World : Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=188044
  • Fukase-Indergaard, F., & Indergaard, M. (2008). Religious nationalism and the making of the modern Japanese state. Theory & Society, 37(4), 343–374. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-007-9055-8
  • Harvey, D. (2007). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=192206
  • Hobsbawm, E. J. (2012). Nations and Nationalism Since 1780 : Programme, Myth, Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=909520
  • Hoffmann, D. L. (2003). Stalinism : The Essential Readings. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=231468
  • Howard, M. (2007). The First World War: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=192138
  • James M. McPherson. (2015). The War That Forged a Nation : Why the Civil War Still Matters. Oxford University Press.
  • James, H. (2014). Europe Reborn : A History, 1914-2000. Hoboken: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=812600
  • Klimke, M., Pekelder, J., & Scharloth, J. (2011). Between Prague Spring and French May : Opposition and Revolt in Europe, 1960-1980. New York: Berghahn Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=416085
  • Mill, J. S. (2009). Considerations on Representative Government. [S.l.]: The Floating Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=313937
  • More, C. (2000). Understanding the Industrial Revolution. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=63920
  • Morgan, P. (2003). Fascism in Europe, 1919-1945. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=94858
  • Pons, S. (2014). The Global Revolution : A History of International Communism 1917-1991 (Vol. First edition). Oxford [England]: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=830618
  • Rakove, J. N., & United States. (2009). The Annotated U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=327588
  • Rossabi, M. (2014). A History of China. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=618852
  • Shields Kollmann, N. (2017). The Russian Empire 1450-1801. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1450736
  • Skinner, Q. (2004). Visions of Politics: Volume 2, Renaissance Virtues. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=112400
  • Smith, S. A. (2002). The Russian Revolution : A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=100322
  • Spohr, K., & Reynolds, D. (2016). Transcending the Cold War : Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–1990. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1339515
  • The Communist Manifesto / Marx, K — New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. — 229 с. — ISBN 9780300123012. — URL: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibrary-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3420865&query=Marx%2C+Karl (дата обращения: 30.08.2019). — Текст : электронный.
  • V. I. Lenin, & Todd Chretien. (2015). State and Revolution. [N.p.]: Haymarket Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=982978
  • Warring, A., Wieviorka, O., & Gildea, R. (2006). Surviving Hitler and Mussolini : Daily Life in Occupied Europe (Vol. English ed). Oxford: Berg Publishers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=204130

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Allen, R. C. (2009). The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India. The Journal of Economic History, (04), 901. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.jechis.v69y2009i04p901.927.00
  • Beckett, I. F. W. (2012). The Making of the First World War. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=497687
  • Berger, M. T. (2004). The Battle for Asia : From Decolonization to Globalization. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=105903
  • Besier, G., & Stokłosa, K. (2013). European Dictatorships : A Comparative History of the Twentieth Century. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=685806
  • Brown, T. S. (2013). West Germany and the Global Sixties : The Anti-Authoritarian Revolt, 1962–1978. Cambridge, [England]: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=638091
  • Eric Foner. (1995). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men : The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War. Oxford University Press.
  • Mann, M. (2013). The Sources of Social Power: Volume 4, Globalizations, 1945–2011. New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=527893
  • McLaughlin, P. (2002). Mikhail Bakunin : The Philosophical Basis of His Theory of Anarchism. New York: Algora Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=66825
  • Meyer, M. W. (2009). Japan : A Concise History (Vol. 4th ed). Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=274508
  • Morrow, J. (2013). The Great War : An Imperial History. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1361538
  • Müller, J.-W. (2011). Contesting Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=457463
  • Nelson, W. M., Hunt, L., & Desan, S. (2013). The French Revolution in Global Perspective. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=671401
  • Remnev, A. V., Von Hagen, M., & Burbank, J. (2007). Russian Empire : Space, People, Power, 1700-1930. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=225219
  • Stueck, W. W. (1995). The Korean War : An International History. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=75031
  • Wilson, P. H. (2000). Absolutism in Central Europe. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=79626