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Regular version of the site

Soviet History: Russia in the Age of Transformations

Monday 1 July - Friday 12 July, 2019

2 weeks =  2 ECTS

Course Description

This course examines the history of the 20th century Russia in the context of multiple transformations, ranging from global political events to internal cultural changes. We will go through key stages of Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian history from 1917 to 2000 by looking at the interplay between global and local developments. The main question of this course is how did the Soviet Union develop in this age of many rapid and deep transformations? What the Soviet culture, ideology, society, economy, technology, and environment were about? How did the Soviet system develop and why did it fail? What was Soviet failure and success to the nation and globe? How did the country survive post-socialist period? And, in general, how to interpret this age? The course will discuss such questions as: the new Soviet man and its destiny; political regime and the borders of control; Soviet technological innovations, science and technology; nature and environment; economic choices and pitfalls; Soviet consumer; Soviet and post-Soviet regime and globalization of tastes and production; memories about the Soviet. 

Brief course content:

Class discussion: Introduction: Continuities and Disruptions 
Revolution of 1917: Visit to the Museum of Political History
Class discussion: Soviet ideology: the new Soviet man
Class discussion: Soviet technological innovations, science and technology
Class discussion: Economic choices of the planned economy
Class discussion: Soviet consumer: abundance and shortage
Class discussion: “We will bury you!”: East-West-South and the Cold War
Class discussion: Environmentalism: Was it there?
Class discussion: Post-Soviet Developments
Field excursions in the city: Memory about the Soviet in the city

Teaching methods

The course combines traditional lectures built around key historiographical discussion and plenty of historical materials and field trips. It includes a visit to the Museum of Political History, the most updated and richest museums in Russia with a specific focus on the February and October revolutions. In the end of the course, a unique excursion in the city will show main developments of the country “on site” on the example of Petersburg-Petrograd-Leningrad-St. Petersburg.

Learning outcome

Under successful completion of this course participants will:
-know key interpretations and approaches to Soviet and Russian history and the history of the 20th century
-develop an understanding of Russian history as a complex phenomenon
-gain skills of doing interdisciplinary research
-learn about well known and new historical sources
-learn to build connections between history and presence, adequately seeing the legacies of historical past today

Course lecturer

Elena Kochetkova

Senior Lecturer

Proceed to application