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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLAV3402 Russian Society from Perestroika to the Crimean Annexation (1985-2015)

20 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Ilya Yablokov

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with

SLAV2401Russian Society from Perestroika to the Crimean Annexation (
SLAV2402Russian Society from Perestroika to the Crimean Annexation (

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The course will study the political, socioeconomic and cultural development of Russian society after Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika. The course will look at the causes of the Soviet collapse, the emergence of new political leaders and will pay particular attention to the rise of Putin as Russia's political leader. During the module we shall discuss the introduction of liberal economic reforms, consider the economic model elaborated over the post-Soviet period and will look at the emergence of oligarchs. In addition, the course will discuss Russia's relationship with the West and former Soviet countries with a view of explaining the crisis in Ukraine and the reasons behind Russia's annexation of Crimea.


The module aims to introduce students to:
• Russian politics
• Russian history
• Russian modern culture
• Russian media

Learning outcomes
1. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the major events and socio-cultural phenomena which emerged in the post-Soviet period of Russian history;
2. Students will demonstrate the ability to analyse primary sources with a view to understanding the underlying causes of political and socio-economic and cultural change;
3. Students will develop critical understanding of the process taking place in the post-Soviet space and how these processes impact on European politics and security;
4. Students will develop skills of comparative analysis of historical processes in several countries with a view to tracing the causes of the political conflicts in Europe in the-post communist period.
5. students will have a clear understanding of the roots of the populist and authoritarian trends that emerge across Europe in the 21st century.

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module students should:
• show advanced research skills;
• demonstrate an ability to disseminate independent research
• be able to engage in critical debate around issues on Russian politics and culture
• be able to produce a piece of extended academic writing


The module will cover a diverse range of topics from a variety of aspects of post-Soviet Russian life. It will focus on the societal, political and cultural evolutions of post-Soviet Russian society with a view of showing alternative paths which Russian society could have taken in teh aftermath of the Soviet collapse. The module will cover the following topics:

Gorbachev’s perestroika (1985-1989) and the Collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
‘There will be blood’: Economic reforms in post-Soviet Russia. Privatization, financial crisis, the emergence of oligarchs. Russia as a petrostate.
Russia's political system: political parties, courts and presidential power.
The Strongman: Putin as a phenomenon.
Mic check: Musicians and Politics in post-Soviet Russia.
(Un)Civil society: dissidents, intelligentsia and foreign agents.
Post-Soviet media: The journalists of the ‘Broken’ generation.
Nation-building and Russian nationalism after the Soviet Collapse.
Pussy Riot phenomenon: Religion and state in the post-Soviet Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Policy post-1991: Back to the USSR?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

180 hours of independent study to supplement in-class tuition. Students are expected to carry out weekly homework assignments and revise material covered in class on a regular basis.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

• Each week students will receive tasks to prepare at home. The results of their preparation will be assessed at fortnightly seminars.
• Tutor will be available during office hours to provide further guidance and feedback on successful completion of the module.
• Class participation will be used to monitor progress

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 words80.00
Presentation15 minute verbal presentation20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 08/05/2019


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