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Russia after 1991

Class at Faculty of Social Sciences |


October 6  introduction to the course. Requirements, expectations etc.

October 20, 2023  forming of the state, was the fall of the Soviet Union a real catastrophe for Russia? Why was the fall of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe"? What went wrong? 

November 3  were the 1990s a disaster? Were the reforms of 1990s a complete failure? 

November 10

 Vladimir Putin a rise of a strongman? How did Vladimir Putin get to power? Why the system become so stable? What were the conditions of the environment? Russia as a dictatorship? President’s power in the system. Putin’s use of a parliament etc.

November 24

 Russian elections: fraud or reflection of voters’ preferences? Party system. Reforms of the party system as a limitation of democracy etc. Setting the authoritarian rule? 

December 1 groups of power. Siloviks, liberals etc. informal power, rules. 

December 8

 Russian federation united we stand? Is Russia still a federation or a unitary state?  

December 15

Media, historical policy, and state communication

December 22

 Russian econ omy colossus on clay feet? Dependency on oil. Current problems of Russia’s economy 

January 5

Russian foreign policy:  Is Russia losing its role? Relations with the close neighborhood. Russian aspect in their policies. Russian minority.  


The main aim of the course is to discuss the problems of post-communist Russia from their political, economic, and social perspective. Rather than giving final answers, the course should open new questions and promote critical thinking about Russia and its politics. We should challenge the established truths and subject them to a critical evaluation. The course aims to explain the current topics based on the development of the previous almost thirty years. True, the war against Ukraine changed a lot, but we will concentrate on long-term patterns and systemic features.

The main questions we should try to address are topics such as: What is post-soviet in Russia? Why is Vladimir Putin still popular in Russia while negatively perceived in the West? Who rules the country? Is Russia a great power? Does it promote its borders or defend its territory? Nevertheless, students are welcomed and encouraged to raise their questions.

After finishing this course, students should be able to analyze the problems of contemporary Russia in their depth and explain them not only by simple declarations and truths so well known in newspapers. We will be simply asking questions, trying to find possible explanations.

Our goal is to understand and discuss, not to judge.

After absolving this course, students should be able to analyze impartially and without emotions the situation in Russia and its role in the world.