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

Undergraduate Course: Russia's Foreign and Security Policy (PLIT10135)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryRussia's tense relations with Ukraine and its military intervention in Syria have placed Moscow yet again at the top of security concerns for Europe and the US. The course introduces students to the complexities of Russia's international relations, including the tools and methods of its foreign and security policy. The course will allow students to compare, using concrete examples, traditional military-focused and non-traditional approaches to security and foreign policy. It will cover themes such as the making of foreign and security policy, the role of domestic political and economic factors and the influence of ideas on the formulation of Russia's foreign policy. We will also take a closer look at Russia's relations with its key partners and competitors.
Course description This course examines Russia's international relations with special reference to ideational, domestic and international factors that shape Russia's engagement with the world. It pays attention to the policy-making process and to specific tools and methods of Russia's foreign and security policy, as well as to major directions of Russia's foreign policy.

The course will be divided into two parts. Part one will analyse the historical context of Russia's contemporary international relations, the process of formulating Russia's foreign and security policy, with special reference to the role of domestic political, ideational and economic factors. Further it will explore the role of communication in Russia's foreign policy and compare hard, soft and sharp power capabilities.
Part two will focus on the directions of Russia's foreign policy with respect to such countries, regions and organisations as: the EU, the post-Soviet region, the US and NATO, the Middle East, China and Asia. The course will conclude with an assessment of Russia's approach to and role in global governance.
The course will allow students to consider whether and how concepts developed in the discipline of International Relations, such as soft power or strategic narrative, can be used to explain Russia's international relations. Students will also compare how these concepts have been employed in academic literature, media and policy discourses.

The module has a substantial practical orientation. Tutorials will use group-work, discussion and quick-fire practical activities through which students will e.g. compare the coverage of major international events by Russian and international media, identify elements of strategic narrative and ideology in policy statements, strategies and speeches, practice critical analysis of media narratives about Russia's foreign policy.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting 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 Section for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and explain the most salient issues influencing Russia's international relations.
  2. Present competing claims and make informed judgements about the role and influence of Russia in regional and global politics.
  3. Identify and distinguish between different foreign policy tools, assess and seek explanations for the successes and failures of Russian foreign policy.
  4. Discuss and assess different forms and aims of communication in international politics.
  5. Summarize and assess foreign policy documents (concepts, strategies).
Reading List
Cadier, D. & Light, M. (eds.) (2015) Russia's Foreign Policy: Ideas, Domestic Politics
and External Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Donaldson, R. & Nadkarni, V. (2019) The foreign policy of Russia: changing systems, enduring interests, sixth edition. London: M. E. Sharpe
Tsygankov, A. (2019) Russia's foreign policy: change and continuity in national identity, fifth edition. Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Generic cognitive skills: By the end of the course students should have strengthened their critical analysis and problem-solving skills.
Communication skills: By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in presenting ideas verbally and in writing and conveying information about specialised topics to informed audiences.
Autonomy, accountability and working with others: By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in consensus building and solution finding in a team environment.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Katarzyna Kaczmarska
Tel: (0131 6)51 1740
Course secretaryMr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001
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