Fall/Winter Timetable

POL437H1F L0101

Graduate Course Code: POL2337H1F L0101

Government, Law and Politics in Russia


This seminar will explore government, law and politics in Russia, with special attention to the reform of law and courts in the post-Soviet period. This subject will be examined in historical and comparative perspectives and will be used to cast light on such larger questions as the nature of Soviet and Russian government, the role of informal institutions, and the politics of post-communist transition. More concretely, the seminar will consider the place of law in the Soviet system; judicial reform, constitutionalism, and legal regulation of the economy in post Soviet Russia; Vladimir Putin’s efforts to strengthen law and the courts; cultural obstacles to legal order, and patterns of legal transition in other post-communist countries. Related issues include the state of human rights in Russia; the impact of the European Court of Human Rights; organized crime; clientelism, patrimonialism, and corruption; and the role of the media in shaping legal culture.


Articles and chapters in Reader and Electronic Resources, the book How Russia Really Works by Alena Ledeneva.

Format and Requirements

This will be a reading and discussion seminar. All students will be expected to prepare the set of required readings each week, marked with an asterix. In addition, students will deliver brief oral reports on both required and supplementary readings. Written requirements include: a short review essay discussing two or more readings (5 pages), due October 16; and a research paper: 12-15 pp. for undergraduates, due December 16, and 15-20 pp. for graduates, due December 31. Papers may be delivered electronically, but be sure to retain a printed copy as backup. One page proposals for paper topics must be submitted for approval by November 14. The grade for the seminar will be 15% for the review essay; 25% for class participation and 60% for the research paper.


HIS351Y1 / POL354H1 / POL354Y1 OR a course in Russia/Soviet politics