POLITICS of RUSSIA

 

San Francisco State University, Spr 10

PLSI/IR 407

HSS 302

MW 14:10-15:50

Office hours: M 4:30-6 W 4:30-5:20

Andrei P. Tsygankov

Email: andrei@sfsu.edu

Office: HSS 354

Office phone: 87493

http://bss.sfsu.edu/tsygankov

 

Description:

 

This course seeks to understand Russia’s political system and change. It is a part of the two courses-set on Eurasia.[1] The course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive coverage of Russia before and after Soviet dissolution, particularly as viewed from Russia’s perspective. It seeks to accomplish the following goals.

 

Background knowledge. First, it seeks to understand Russia’s political system in historical and contemporary setting. It should provide students with background historical knowledge relevant for understanding the region en large, as well as the knowledge of Russia’s main patterns of policy formation and policy orientation.

 

Contemporary issues. Second, the course seeks to provide students with basic knowledge of contemporary issues of the post-communist development of Russia and, to the extend possible, the entire Eurasian region. We will be concerned with the Soviet collapse, Russia’s political, economic, and security development, among other issues. 

 

Analytical perspectives. Third, the course will view Russia’s development in the light of major analytical perspectives that have been developed in Russian area studies as a discipline. In particular, students will learn to think about our subject matter in terms of two major rival schools of thought: Modernism or Westernism, according to which Russia is in the process of incorporating Western institutions and Traditionalism that argues that Russia is fundamentally different from the West and will be unable to adjust to liberal democratic values that are deemed exclusively as a product of Europe and its Modernity project.

 

Critical thinking. Finally, the course should help in developing analytical abilities through critical reading and writing. Students will develop standards of a “good” argument and will learn to apply them in their writing and oral presentations

 

Requirements

 

Attendence and participation – 10% of the grade

Midterm Exam – 30%

Critical review paper (10 pages) – 20%

In-class presentation (7 minutes) – 20%

Final Exam – 20 %

 

The format of paper and presentation will be discussed separately.

 


 

Readings

 

Poe, M. T. The Russian Moment in World History. Princeton, 2003.

Suny, R. G., ed. The Structure of Soviet History. Oxford, 2003.

Herspring, D. R., ed. Putin’s Russia. 4th ed. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.

Articles on electronic reserve and by email (marked by *)

 

Calendar (tentative):

 

 

Week 1 Jan 25, 27

Week 2 Feb 1, 3

Feb 3 Assignment Discussion

Week 3 Feb 10

Week 4 Feb 15, 17

Week 5 Feb 24

Week 6 Mar 1, 3

Mar 3 Assignment Due

Week 7 Mar 8, 10

Week 8 Mar 15, 17

Week 9 Mar 22, 24

Mar 24 Midterm

Week 10 Mar 29, 31 BREAK

Week 11 Apr 7

Apr 7 Presentations begin

Week 12 Apr 12, 14

Week 13 Apr 19

Week 14 Apr 26, 28

Week 15 May 3, 5

Week 16 May 12

May 12 Paper is due in class

May 17 Final

     

 

Please note university-reserved and individual furglough days: Feb 8, Feb 22, April 5, April 21, May 10

 

The course schedule (dates and readings are subject to change):

 

I. INTRODUCTION

 

Week 1 (Jan 25) Introduction to the course

 

(Jan 27) Video: “The Russian Revolution” or “Land of the Tsars”

 

Week 2 (Feb 1, 3) The Russian Moment in World History

Poe: read all

Feb 3 Assignment discussion

 

Week 3 (Feb 8) Revolution and Bolsheviks / Lenin

Suny: 6-22 (Suny), 32-47 (Lenin et al), 62-72 (Decrees), 117-118 (Lenin)

 

II. SOVIET SYSTEM

 

Week 4 (Feb 15, 17) Stalin

Suny: 89-93, 151-164, 118-124 (Lenin), 188-198 (Timasheff), 229-232 (Pravda), 245-250 (Bukharin), 294-298 (Stalin)

 

Week 5 (Feb 24) After Stalin

Suny: 329-330, 359-360 (Suny), 340-349 (Khrushv), 360-370 (Bushnell), 370-380 (Millar)

Video: Cold War economy


 

Week 6 (Mar 1, 3) Soviet Collapse

Suny: 403-405 (Suny), 423-433 (Gorbachev), 438-445 (Andreeva), 452-456 (Yeltsin), 456-466 (Coup), 467-472 (CIS), 473-476 (Gorbi final speech), 533-549 (“Z”)

Mar 3 Assignment due

 

III. POST-SOVIET SYSTEM

 

Week 7 (Mar 8, 10) Yeltsin and His Legacy

Suny: 476-478, 492-504 (Suny), 478-492 (Shevtsova), 516-521 (Yeln vs. Khasbulv), 525-526, 530-532 (Yeltsin)

Two views on Yeltsin’s legacy: *The Economist vs. *Tsygankov

Video: “Return of the Csar”

 

Week 8 (Mar 15, 17) Putin, Medvedev and Challenges Ahead

Suny: 564-573 (Holmes); Herspring: 1-7, 17-28 (Sakwa); *Medvedev, Go, Russia!

Two views on Putin’s legacy: *Chivers vs. *Graham vs. *What Russia Thinks / Glazychev

 

Week 9 (Mar 22, 24) Review / Exam

 

Mar 24 Final Exam

 

Week 10 (Mar 29, 31) BREAK

 

IV. CURRENT ISSUES

 

Week 11 (April 7) Center-Regions Governance / Northern Caucasus

Herspring: 59-82 (Petrov & Slider)

Two views on Chechnya: *Nemtsov vs. *Stratfor

Apr 7 Presentations begin

 

Week 12 (Apr 12, 14) Political Economy / Oligarchs

Herspring: 159-182 (Rutland), 183-199 (Shelley)

Two views on Oligarchs: *Volkov vs. *Hedlund

 

Week 13 (Apr 19) State-Party System

Herspring: 39-58 (Remington)

Two views on the political system: *Reddaway vs. *Hahn

 

Week 14 (Apr 26, 28) Human Rights / Democracy

Herspring: 83-108 (Hendley), 109-132 (Lipman & McFaul)

Two views on democracy: Lipman & McFaul vs. What Russia Thinks / Polyakov

 

Week 15 (May 3, 5) Foreign Policy

Herspring: 159-182 (Tsygankov), 243-264 (Gleason)

Two views on Russia in Central Asia: *Cooley vs. *Niazi

 

Week 16 (May 12) Summary / Review

May 12 Paper is due in class

 

May 17 Final Exam / 1:30-4

 


 

         [1] The other part focuses on post-Soviet nations and is covered in IR/PLSC 328.