Fall/Winter Timetable

POL354H1F L0101

Politics and Society in Russia


This course explores the struggles to build democracy in Russia after the collapse of communism. We will begin with an examination of attempts to modernize Russia under the tsars, and then under Lenin and Stalin. Then we will examine Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempt to introduce radical reform, leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The bulk of the course will involve an examination of the transition from communism. We will ask whether Russia is advancing along a path of democratization or authoritarianism. This will involve an exploration of: economic reform, corruption and the rise of the oligarchs; institutional reform and the emergence of superpresidentialism; federalism and the rise of regional warlords; elections, parties and elites, with a close look at the leadership of Eltsin and Putin; the weakness of civil society (labour, women, & the media) and the unique role of organized crime; and, nationalism.


Will include a reader prepared by the instructor containing up-to-date analyses and documents.

Format and Requirements

One two-hour lecture per week. Course requirements TBA.


1.0 credit in POL/ JPA/ JPF/ JPI/ JPR/ JPS/ JRA courses