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POL2087 : Contemporary Russian Politics (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Valentina Feklyunina
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module will explore the politics of the Russian Federation, the largest country in the world. It will discuss Russia’s transition from Communist to post-Communist rule, and will examine the key features of Russia’s political system. It will consider a range of challenging questions: What were the reasons for the disintegration of the Soviet Union? What role does Russia seek to play in the international arena? Can we define Russia as a democracy?

The module aims:
- To provide a comprehensive introduction to contemporary Russian politics
- To develop a critical understanding of the key political actors and processes in post-Soviet Russia
- To introduce students to key issues in Russian domestic and foreign policies, with an emphasis on the post-Soviet period

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Introduction: Russian History and Political Culture
2. The Rise of the Soviet Union
3. Perestroika and the Collapse of the Soviet Union
4. Political and Economic Reforms of the 1990s (i)
5. Political and Economic Reforms of the 1990s (ii)
6. Political and Economic Reforms of the 1990s (iii)
7. The Executive Branch and the Presidency: From El’tsin to Medvedev
8. The Judicial Branch
9. The Legislative Branch
10. Elections and Voting
11. Political Parties and their Substitutes
12. Civil Society in Post-Communist Russia
13. Human Rights
14. Russian Media and Political Communication
15. Social Policies
16. Economic and Business Policies
17. Reforming the Federation: Moscow and the Regions
18. Foreign Policy: Russia and Its Neighbours
19. Foreign Policy: Russia and the West
20. Russia’s Soft Power
21. Defence and Security Policies
22. Classifying Russian Political System: Democracy or Authoritarianism?

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce key issues in contemporary Russian politics and will provide students with guidelines for private study on each topic of the module. Seminars will give students an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics related to the subject of the module, which will help them to advance their understanding of Russian politics and to enhance their analytical and communication skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A45Unseen written exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M452000 word essay
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Seminar Participation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination will assess students’ general understanding of Russian politics, including its key actors and processes. The essay will provide students with a chance to critically examine a particular issue in greater depth, which will allow students to further develop their analytical and presentation skills.

Reading Lists