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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Russian Politics (PLIT10048)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to the politics and government of the Russian Federation. Format varies each year but follows the following general outline. It commences with an analysis of the disintegration of the Soviet state and its consequences. It then looks in detail at post Soviet state and institution building. Foci may vary but include party systems, civil society and human rights, democratisation in theory and practice, the nature of post communism, political culture and Russian nationalism. Russian international relations vis-a-vis the EU and post Soviet states will also be analysed. The course aims to provide students with critical and conceptual awareness of the following key areas:
- The actors and institutions involved in state and institution building within Russia and the post Soviet states
- The nature of political change in Russia
- Russian political culture, beliefs and values
- Russian foreign policy
Course description This semester-length MA Honours (3rd/4th year) course examines the primary actors, institutions, ideas and developments in contemporary Russia (also known as the Russian Federation). In particular, it analyses the consequences of the fall of the Soviet Union and the impact of the Soviet Union on contemporary Russia. It looks in detail at Russian state and institution-building. Foci change each year but generally include party systems, civil society and human rights, democratisation in theory and practice, the nature of post-communism, comparative post-Soviet government and the international relations of the post-Soviet space.

Outline Content:
Please note that the exact content may change from year-to-year, but the general framework will be similar to the following:
General introduction to course
The USSR: origins, structures, development
Gorbachev┐s perestroika and the collapse of the USSR
The politics of Russian economic reform
Executive-legislative relations
Centre-periphery relations
Russian elections and political parties
Civil society, uncivil society and quasi-civil society
Ukraine and Russian foreign policy
Post-Soviet democratisation

Student Learning Experience:
The course is hands-on, taught through one lecture and tutorial per week. The lecture will cover events, facts, background, and overviews of the week┐s topic. Each tutorial is attended by a maximum of 13 students. The tutorials do not duplicate lectures, but are intended for you to explore themes relevant to the lectures of that week in greater depth and in discussion with fellow students. Participation in tutorials will be assessed. Questions, comments and discussion on points of interest are encouraged throughout the course.. The course is cross-disciplinary and open to students with backgrounds in politics, IR, other social sciences, history, modern languages and other humanities.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites Visiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Other Study Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 171 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study Hours are a 2 hour DVD session
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 40 %, Coursework 60 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Tutorial participation 20%, essay 40% and examination 40%
Feedback You will receive regular feedback on your tutorial assessment, including written feedback on your presentations within two weeks after the presentation, and a mid-semester feedback session when I will discuss your progress with you in depth. In addition, you are encouraged to attend my weekly Guidance and Feedback hours for general questions relating to the course. I can also informally discuss essay and policy-brief questions during these hours, as well as any questions related to the marks and comments you have received on your written work. The course finishes with a revision session focussing on exam preparation and sample answers to exam questions, which you should attend.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop conceptual knowledge of the key institutions and processes in Russian Politics.
  2. Analyse competing analytical and conceptual approaches to Russian Politics.
  3. Evaluate alternative explanations for particular political developments and events in Russia and the CIS.
  4. Develop a personal assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian political system.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements This course has a quota. Preference will be given to Politics and IR students.
Additional Class Delivery Information Plus 1 hr tutorial per week
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Luke March
Tel: (0131 6)50 4241
Course secretaryMr Daniel Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3932
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