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PL20780: Soviet and post-Soviet Russia

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 33%, ES 67%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 33%)
  • Essay (ES 67%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The aim of this unit is to examine the character, evolution and collapse of the communist political order in the USSR and the subsequent construction of a post-communist political order in Russia, focusing particularly upon controversies of evidence and interpretation in order to develop skills in historical and political analysis. A second aim is to help students improve their essay and seminar techniques.

Learning Outcomes:
Students who complete the unit successfully will:
* have a clear understanding of the historical evolution of the Soviet political and social order 1917-1991 and the Russian political and social order since 1991;
* be familiar with the major academic debates about the nature of the Soviet polity and about the roles of actors, ideas and structures in its evolution and collapse;
* be familiar with the major academic debates about the about the nature and problems of the postcommunist order and the factors driving its evolution;
* have gained experience in analysis of primary and secondary sources;
* have shown they can present an effective analysis of a particular controversy to a seminar and in essay form.

Skills in critical analysis, conceptual thinking, precision in the use of written and spoken language, exercise of independent judgement, reasoned argument, teamwork and the planning/conduct/reporting of non-quantitative research are taught and assessed in this unit. Skills in effective learning are developed in this unit.

The establishment of Bolshevik power under Lenin 1917-1921; the New Economic Policy and the struggle for power in the Communist Party in the 1920s; Stalin's drive for industrialization and rule by terror in the 1930s-40s; the USSR in the Second World War; reform and its limits under Khrushchev and Brezhnev in the 1950s-70s; the structure and problems of the Soviet political system in the early 1980s; the origins, development and failure of Gorbachev's reform programme 1985-91; ethnic and social developments in the post-Stalin USSR and their bearing on the collapse of communism; Yeltsin's attempt to build a new political order in Russia; the impact of transition on Russian society; the character of postcommunist politics under Putin and Medvedev; the prospects for political development in Russia.
Key texts: R. Service The Penguin History of Modern Russia: from Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century (Penguin: 2009); S. White et al (eds) Developments in Russian Politics 7 (Cambridge: 2010).
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PL20780 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UHPL-AYB09 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (French and ab initio Russian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB07 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (German and ab initio Russian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB22 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (Spanish and ab initio Russian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB15 : BA(Hons) Russian ab inito and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 2)

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.