Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Russian Politics (PLIT10048)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||After a period of collapse and chaos in the 1990s, Contemporary Russia looms large in global politics. However, Russia's domestic functioning and motivations, which underpin its wider global aspirations, are poorly understood. Much media and cultural coverage, particularly in Europe and the US, continues to see Russia through hackneyed prisms, focusing a 'return to the USSR' or a new Tsardom.
This course focusses explicitly on the politics and government of the contemporary Russian Federation. Format varies each year but follows the following general outline. It first analyses the nature of a Soviet 'legacy'. It then looks in detail at Russian state and institution-building. Foci generally include party systems, civil society, nationalism and social movements, comparative post-Soviet government and the international relations of the post-Soviet space.
The course examines the primary actors, institutions, ideas and developments in contemporary Russia (also known as the Russian Federation).
The course has three principal themes:
- The historical aspect: examining points of continuity and change in contemporary Russia, be they cultural, ideational or institutional;
- The comparative aspect: examining points of similarity and difference (e.g. compared with other post-Soviet states; with contemporary forms of democracy and authoritarianism);
- The empirical aspect; examining and analysing the key features of the contemporary Russian polity and clarifying their role in the light of common misconceptions (e.g. unpicking the narrative of the 'super-presidency').
The exact content will change from year-to-year, but will be held together thematically by three main components:
- Context: the course starts by focusing on the impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union on contemporary Russia (e.g. political-cultural and institutional legacy; the (mis)development of democracy in the post-Soviet space);
- Content: the course looks in detail at Russian state and institution-building. Foci generally include party systems, civil society, nationalism and social movements, and comparative post-Soviet government;
- Consequences: the course concludes by looking at the impact of Russian internal politics externally (e.g. Russian foreign policies towards the EU and US, relations with the post-Soviet space);
Student learning experience: The course will be delivered using a lecture plus tutorial format. The lecture will provide a detailed introduction to facts, background, and debates concerning the week's topic. Tutorials will give room for student presentations, debates, group and individual work. Each week, one team of students will take the lead in inspiring and leading a tutorial discussion. The aim of this task is to practice debate leadership and teamwork skills while stimulating productive and critical discussion among peers.
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?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 10,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
10% group presentation,
10% participation (participation will be one mark at end of semester, reading reflections will receive formative feedback)
||Tutorial participation. You will receive regular feedback on your tutorial assessment, including written feedback on your group presentations within two weeks after the presentation. Presentations will consist of: a handout (max 2 pages) and a ppt presentation (or any other format easily accessible to all course participants). The following components of the presentation will be assessed: handout, ppt presentation, presentation delivery style and tutorial discussion leadership. Each student will receive a (non-binding) mid-term seminar mark and indication of their seminar participation strengths and weaknesses.
Provision of written feedback on the essay. Students will be encouraged to consult the course organiser via Guidance and Feedback hours for guidance on essay topics. Essay topics will be designed not to overlap with tutorial presentation topics but reading summaries may be used as preparation for exam questions.
The course finishes with a revision session focussing on exam preparation and sample answers to exam questions, which you should attend.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S1 (December)||2:00|
|Resit Exam Diet (August)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Develop conceptual knowledge of the key institutions and processes in Russian Politics.
- Analyse competing analytical and conceptual approaches to Russian Politics.
- Evaluate alternative explanations for particular political developments and events in Russia and the CIS.
- Develop a personal assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian political system.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||This course has a quota. Preference will be given to Politics and IR students.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Plus 1 hr tutorial per week
|Course organiser||Prof Luke March
Tel: (0131 6)50 4241
|Course secretary||Ms Alison Lazda
Tel: (0131 6)51 5572