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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Ideology and Politics in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Space (ODL) (PGHC11409)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn the course of the last three decades, Russia has gone from being a communist state, a 'transitioning' democracy to a 'sovereign' democracy that claims to be an alternative to liberal democracy. It is clear both that ideological identity issues remain pivotal today, and that the 'new' Russia is deeply informed by Soviet history and political culture.

This course is offered first on the basis of 10 spaces for History (ODL) students and 10 spaces for SPS students. If these spaces are not used, then the course may be opened up to others.

This course is taught through a combination of face-to-face seminars and further discussion via discussion forum posts.
Course description The aim of this course is to put historical ideological trends centre stage in the analysis of
Russia. In view of the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, this course also seeks to
provide an examination of the longer-term trends in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics as they affect the other states of the former Soviet Union. While concentrating on Russia, the course aims to provide students with a profound knowledge and ability to analyse the politics and foreign policies of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the Baltic States and the other post-Soviet countries. The first half of this course will examine the emergence, transformation and development of the Soviet Union as traced from the collapse of the tsarist state, the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, via the period of Stalin's dictatorship and the leaderships of Khrushchev and Brezhnev, up to the end of the Gorbachev era which culminated in the dissolution of the Union in 1991. It will focus on the key features of 'really existing socialism' and explore conceptualisations such as totalitarianism. After briefly examining the reasons for the introduction of glasnost and perestroika and the relationship between these and the collapse of the USSR, the course proceeds to examine the political system of the Russian Federation as it developed from 1991 onwards under Presidents Boris Eltsin, Vladimir Putin, Dmitrii Medvedev and Putin again from 2012. The course will conclude with an examination of the process of the rise of authoritarianism under Putin. This course will integrate methodology and approaches from both History and Politics.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2017
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Learn forum posts (20%) and one 3,000 word essay (80%). The weekly use of Learn discussion forums will serve as a critical component of the teaching of the course.
Using discussion forums is a well-established practice in online learning to help students engage with the material and interact with each other. This is particularly important for courses, like those taught as part of the online MSc, that have a significant asynchronous component.
Each week, students will be responsible for a 200-250 word posting in which they will make a significant observation about the reading(s). They will also be responsible for posting two responses to their classmates' initial postings, each 100-150 words in length. These posts will help to create a conversation among the students prior to the course's infrequent synchronous sessions and provide the instructor with insight as to the students' mastery of the readings and interests. The forum posts will be evaluated weekly, using the standard written material rubric.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in forum posts and the final essay a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the Soviet and Post-Soviet space
  2. Demonstrate in forum posts and the final essay an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship, primary source materials concerning, and conceptual discussions about the history and political development of the Soviet and Post-Soviet space
  3. Demonstrate in forum posts and the final essay, an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in seminars and in written assessment by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  5. Demonstrate in seminar discussions, forum posts and written assessment originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Mark Bassin & Catriona Kelly (eds.), Soviet and Post-Soviet Identities (2012)
Archie Brown, The Rise and Fall of Communism (2010)
Marcel H. Van Herpen, Putinism: The slow rise of a radical right regime in Russia (2013)
Alastair Kocho-Williams (ed.), The Twentieth Century Russia Reader (2012)
Stephen Lovell, Shadow of War: Russia and the USSR, 1941 to the Present (2010)
Bertil Nygren, Rebuilding of Greater Russia: Putin's foreign policy towards the CIS countries
Serhii Plokhy, Last Empire: the Final Days of the Soviet Union (2014)
Richard Sakwa, Soviet Politics in Perspective (1998)
Ronald Grigor Suny (ed.), The Cambridge History of Russia (2008), Vol. 3, The Twentieth
Century and After
Serhy Yekelchyk, Stalin's Citizens: Everyday Politics in the Wake of Total War (2014)
Vladislav M. Zubok, Failed Empire: the Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (2009)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements This course is offered first on the basis of 10 spaces for History (ODL) students and 10 spaces for SPS students. If these spaces are not used, then the course may be opened up to others
KeywordsSoviet Ideology Politics
Course organiserMr David Kaufman
Tel: (0131 6)51 3857
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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