Russia: Eternal Enigma (8 ECTS)

The post Soviet space and Russia in particular has long been one of the most preferred topics of area studies. At its core is the assumption that Soviet and post-Soviet Russia is a unique country that cannot be understood and explained in comparison

Sergei Medvedev
Sergei Medvedev

Instructor: Dr. Sergei Medvedev

The post Soviet space and Russia in particular has long been one of the most preferred topics of area studies. At its core is the assumption that Soviet and post-Soviet Russia is a unique country that cannot be understood and explained in comparison with other countries or even regions.

This assumption can still be found in area studies today – independent from a seemingly 'normalization' of relations with post-Soviet Russia. Winston Churchill once said: "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." To what extent is this still true today? How does this understanding still mould our understanding of Russian politics today?

Video Introduction

Module Structure

Part I:

Unit 01: Making Sense of Russian Politics Today
Unit 02: Autocracy, Orthodoxy, Nationality: Pre-Soviet Legacies
Unit 03: Figures and Phases: Soviet Legacies I
Unit 04: Soviet Rule and Soviet Realities: Soviet Legacies II

Part II:

Unit 05: Reform, Collapse, and Dissolution: Soviet Legacies III
Unit 06: From Socialist to Post-Socialist Rule: Explaining Political Change
Unit 07: From 'Plan' towards 'Market' and Beyond: Economic Change
Unit 08: The Dual State: Political Change I

Part III:

Unit 09: The Federal State: Political Change II
Unit 10: The Hegemonial State: Political Change III
Unit 11: State and Identities: Societal Change I
Unit 12: Society and Identities: Social Change II
Unit 13: Russia among the BRICs
Unit 14: Russia and the Former ‘Eastern Bloc’
Unit 15: Understanding Russian Politics Today