07:20 PM to 10:00 PM T
East Building 201
Section Information for Spring 2020
This course examines the political, social, and cultural transformation of Russia from the late Imperial period through the rise and fall of the Soviet Union to the present day. It focuses on the attempts of Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet rulers to reform the country from above – in order to catch up with and surpass the West – and people’s responses to these reforms. We will cover topics such as the fall of tsarism and the Russian Revolution of 1917, the origins of Marxism in Russia and the establishment of the first socialist state, Stalin’s “revolution from above,” the Great Terror, and Russia’s participation in World War II. In the second half of the semester, we will focus on the emergence of the Soviet Empire during the Cold War, Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization and his attempts to reform the “Soviet project,” Brezhnev’s “developed socialism,” Gorbachev’s perestroika, and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. We will try to understand how one of the world’s two superpowers collapsed seemingly overnight and what kinds of challenges and opportunities were left in its wake.