RUSS 341
Collapse: The Fall and Afterlife of the Soviet Union Spring 2019 Division I; Cross-listed as RUSS341 / HIST341

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On Christmas Day 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev ended two things: his tenure as President of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union itself. The following day, Boris Yeltsin entered office as the first president of the Russian Federation, and without delay, began to institute radical economic and social reforms. Under his watch, the country privatized national industry, cut the state budget, and courted foreign multinational businesses. The world most commonly used to describe Russia in the early 1990s is “disappear”: money, jobs, food, and people. The very things that Soviet-style socialism had committed itself to providing for started to vanish as a result of invisible and market forces. This course will explore what emerged in the spaces left empty after Soviet-style socialism’s demise in three parts. The first part of the semester will examine the origins of the Soviet Union’s collapse and its breakup into fifteen successor states. The second part of the semester will survey the political, economic, and social processes that followed the collapse. Finally, the third part of the course will focus on Putin’s ascendancy to the presidency and its consequences for Russian citizens at home and Russia’s image abroad. By semester’s end, students will have acquired the content and analytical literacy to place present-day Russia in its specific historical context and identify multiple sources of causation that may help explain Russia’s transition from socialism to capitalism to Putinism during the past quarter century.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 15-20
Class#: 3992
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation based on active class participation, three short essays (3-5 pages), and one long essay (10-12 pages)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: History Majors
Distributions: Division I;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under HIST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under RUSS
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia

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