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Contemporary Russian Politics

July 6 – 17, 2020

2 ECTS, 20 contact hours in total


Russian politics might seem a riddle for many observers. However, this course sheds the light on different aspects of Russian politics and policy!

Course Description

This is a broad introductory course to Russian politics but it gives a good general understanding of how Russia really works. The course shall constantly bring us back to how Russian politics interacts with Russian society and economy but by its end students will get a firm grasp of how this triangle works. To achieve that, the course offers a reasonably vast reading of scholarly articles seasoned with ongoing political commentary and media reports. There are no strict prerequisites for the course, though some prior training in social sciences would make it a more rewarding experience.

The course is taught by Ivan Grigoriev, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, HSE.

Content 

  • Why do Russians support autocracy, or do they? 
  • Is it good Russia is a presidential republic? What happened to Russian federalism? What about its opposition?
  • Who were those people in the streets in 2011-2012, and what did they want? Where are they now?
  • Why does Russia sometimes support the bad guys internationally? Are Russian courts as bad as they are told, and why?
  • Did the 1990s' reforms fail or succeed? And the 2000s'? Why do they turn the hot water off at summer? Are oligarchs still politically mighty? How much corruption is there and is it bad for development? In general, what's wrong with Russia: is it the history, the climate, is it spoiled by its oil wealth? Maybe, is it, in fact, a well-developed country?

Skills and Competence

Students shall acquire some sound general knowledge of contemporary Russian politics and get to know a variety of approaches to understanding the current political events in the country.

Teaching Methods

One lecture per day, 9 days of classes in total and a final exam on the 10th day. Final assessment will be done upon the results of written test.

Final Grade Background

Class attendance and participation, final test. 

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