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PSC 210: Soviet Russian Politics

Course Prefix

Course Number

Course Title


Credit Hours



Soviet Russian Politics

1 - 0


Course Description

This course will be a combined chronological and analytical examination of Soviet and Russian politics since 1917, with the purpose being an understanding of its origins and evolution, its character and objectives,and the capabilities and restraints under which it labors in this century. In addition to analyzing Soviet Russian politics from a western social science perspective, this course will also endeavor to look at Soviet Russian leaders as they see themselves,examine the rationales for their own behavior, and discuss Soviet Russian views of the motives and behavior of their antagonists.

Topical Outline

  1. Historical Legacy and Ideological Roots of the Soviet Union
  2. The Russian Empire,Marxism,and the 1917 Revolutions
  3. From Lenin to Stalin: Succession,Terror, and WWII
  4. The Legacy of Khrushchev
  5. Soviet Politics and the Communist Bloc
  6. Brezhnev to Gorbachev:From Optimism to Stagnation to Renewed Optimism to Collapse
  7. The Social Context in Russia:Economic,Cultural, and Identity Structure
  8. The Russian Political System-Constitution--Presidency--Interest Groups--Parties-Elections
  9. Russian Foreign Policy
  10. Post Soviet Regime Transition--The Putin Era

Method of Presentation

  1. Lecture
  2. Directed discussion
  3. Films
  4. Videos
  5. Articles
  6. Student Presentations

Student Outcomes (The student should…)

  • explain the historical evolution of Soviet-Russian political institutions. 
  • explain and analyze the various political leaders in Soviet Russian politics and their methods of leadership. 
  • explain Soviet Russian foreign policy from a historical perspective and note the changes and rationale for these changes.
  • attempt to provide a reasonable, logical,and cohesive projection of how Russia should/will conduct itself in the global community.

Method of Evaluation

  1. Exams (3)
  2. Paper (10 pages) 
  3. In-class presentations 
  4. Discussion


The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union by Martin McCauley--Pearson 2008

Russian Politics and Society: An Introduction by Catherine Danks--Pearson 2006

Prepared by: Richard Krupa
Fall, 2008