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

Postgraduate Course: Russia in Global Politics (PGSP11621)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course introduces students to the complexities of Russia's international relations, including the tools and methods of Russia's 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, the influence of ideas on the formulation of Russia's foreign policy, as well as number of more detailed analyses of Russia's contemporary relations with selected countries and regions.
Course description This semester-long MSc course examines contemporary Russia's international relations with special reference to historical (Tsarist and Soviet), ideational, domestic and international factors that shape Russia's engagement with the external 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 geographical directions of that 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 those capabilities and approaches that are described as hard, soft and sharp power.

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 Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically assess, taking into consideration competing explanations, the most salient issues influencing Russia's international relations
  2. Critically evaluate competing claims and make informed judgements about the role and influence of Russia in regional and global politics
  3. Demonstrate a a critical knowledge of different foreign policy tools, assess and seek explanations for the successes and failures of Russian foreign policy
  4. Assess different forms and aims of communication in international politics, critically evaluate policy statements and strategies
  5. Critically evaluate, and situate in their political context, foreign policy documents (concepts, strategies)
Reading List
- Cadier, D. & Light, M. (eds.) (2015) Russia¿s Foreign Policy: Ideas, Domestic Politicsand 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.

[The first and second volumes listed here are co-edited by women: Margot Light and Vidya Nadkarni]
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Generic cognitive skills: Students will improve their critical analysis and problem-solving skills in several ways. Two written assignments will encourage students to develop a strategy of searching for, collecting, classifying and assessing relevant materials and literature. It will help them build analytical and critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate the problem (essay question) and to make decisions (decide on the answer and line of argumentation).

- Seminars will involve tasks prompting students to: reason logically, consider similar cases, look for patterns, dissecting complex issues.

- Communication, numeracy and IT skills: Students will enhance their skills of presenting ideas verbally and in writing; they will practice building strong arguments supported with evidence, expressing their thoughts clearly and coherently and explaining their aims and objectives. Students will also learn how to listen, respectfully question and respond to the ideas of others. The course gives students ample opportunities to practice Word processing skills. In addition, students will be encouraged to use online translation and software-mediated secondary data gathering.

- Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Students will have a number of opportunities to work in a team. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group work. Teams will be tasked with several types of activities, such as: policy memo writing, role-paly and debate. This will give students the opportunity to practice negotiation skills, consensus building and solution finding in a team environment.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Katarzyna Kaczmarska
Tel: (0131 6)51 1740
Course secretaryMs Emilia Czatkowska
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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