Sakharova Prospekt, Moscow (Summer 2019)

Schedule of Lectures & Readings

Week 1: Concepts & Theory

July 3: Introduction

William Zimmerman (2014) “Introduction” in Ruling Russia: Authoritarianism from Revolution to Putin, Princeton University Press, Chapter 1.

July 4: Independence Day (No Class)

July 5: What is the State?

Theda Skocpol (1985) “Bringing the State Back In: Strategies of Analysis in Current Research” in Bringing the State Back In, Eds. Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 1.

Sebastián L.Mazzuca & Gerardo L. Munck (2014) “State or Democracy First? Alternative Perspectives on the State-Democracy Nexus,” Democratization 21 (7).

July 6: What is Democracy?

Valerie Bunce (2003) “The Case for Russian Democracy” in “Rethinking Recent Democratization: Lessons from the Postcommunist Experience,” World Politics 55 (2).

Steven M. Fish (2005) “Some Concepts and Their Application to Russia” in Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 2.

July 7: Section #1

Week 2: The Russian Empire

July 10: Russian History 101

PODCAST – Revolutions.

  1. Season 10, Episode 09: “The Third Rome,” 31min, 27secs:

  2. Season 10, Episode 10: “The Russian Empire,” 33min, 19secs:

  3. Season 10, Episode 13: “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality,” 33min, 19secs:

July 11: Reform in the Russian Empire

Steven Nafziger (2016) “Decentralization, Fiscal Structure, and Local State Capacity in Late-Imperial Russia” in Economic History of Warfare and State Formation, Springer, Chapter 3.

Paul Castañeda Dower, Evgeny Finkel, Scott Gehlbach & Steven Nafziger (2018) “Collective Action and Representation in Autocracies: Evidence from Russia’s Great Reforms,” American Political Science Review 112 (1).

July 12: Revolution in the Russian Empire

Richard Pipes (1995) “The Revolution of 1905” & “The February Revolution” & “The October Coup” & “Reflections on the Russian Revolution” in A Concise History of the Russian Revolution, Knopf, Chapters 2, 4, 6 & 16 (Excerpts).

July 13: Imperial Legacies

Thomas S. Pearson (1996) “Imperial Legacies and Democratic Prospects: Max Weber’s ‘The Russian Revolutions’ in Historical Perspective” international Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 9 (4).

Andreas Kappeler (2014) “Ukraine and Russia: Legacies of the Imperial Past and Competing Memories,” Journal of Eurasian Studies 5.

July 14: Section #2

Week 3: The Soviet Union

July 17: The Building of the Soviet State (Lenin)

William G. Rosenberg (1991) “Introduction: NEP Russia as a ‘Transitional’ Society” in Russia in the Era of NEP: Explorations in Soviet Society and Culture, Eds. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Alexander Rabinowitch, and Richard Stites, Indiana University Press.

Terry Martin (2011), “The Soviet Affirmative Action Empire” in The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939, Cornell University Press, Chapter 1.

July 18: Revolutionizing or Reforming Communism (Stalin-Khrushchev)

David Shearer (2006) “Stalinism, 1928-1940” in The Cambridge History of Russia, Ed. Ronald Grigor Suny, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 7.

William Taubman (2006) “The Khrushchev Period, 1953-1964” in The Cambridge History of Russia, Ed. Ronald Grigor Suny, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 10.

Yoram Gorlizki & Oleg Khlevniuk (2020) “Conclusion” in Substate Dictatorship: Networks, Loyalty, and Institutional Change in the Soviet Union, Yale University Press, Conclusion.

July 19: The Collapse of the Soviet State (Gorbachev)

Yegor Gaidar (2007) “Cracks in the Foundation: The Soviet Union in the Early 1980s” in Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia, Brookings Institution Press, Chapter 4.

Michael McFaul (2001) “Gorbachev’s Design for Reforming Soviet Political Institutions” in Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin, Cornell University Press, Chapter 2.

Vladislav M. Zubok (2021) “Conclusion” in Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union, Yale University Press, Conclusion.

July 20: Midterm #1 Review Session

July 21: Section #3

Week 4: Post-Soviet Russia (1992-1999/2000-2008/2012)

July 24: Midterm Exam #1 – In-Class

July 25: A Preview/Portrait of Putin’s Russia

In-Class Film – Vitaliy Manskiy (2018) Putin’s Witnesses. Studio Vertov. 1hour 42mins.

Response paper assigned (Due August 3).

July 26: Russian State and Democracy in Transition (1992-1999)

Michael McFaul (2001) “The Quality of Russian Democracy” in Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin, Cornell University Press, Chapter 9.

Catherine Belton (2020) “Children’s Toys in Pools of Mud” in Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West, Harper Collins, Chapter 5.

July 27: Political Transformations under Vladimir Putin (2000-2008/2012)

Henry Hale (2014) “The Building of Eurasia’s Great Power Pyramids” & “Nonrevolution in Post-Soviet Presidential Systems” in Patronal Politics, Cambridge University Press, Chapters 6 & 7 (Excerpts).

Brian D. Taylor (2018) “Leashes and Clubs” & “Lawyers, Guns, and Oil” in The Code of Putinism, Oxford University Press, Chapters 2 & 4.

July 28: Section #4

Week 5: Contemporary Russia (2012-2022)

July 31: Competitive Authoritarianism (2012-2022)

Steven Levitsky & Lucan A. Way (2002) “Elections Without Democracy: The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism,” Journal of Democracy 13 (2).

Vladimir Gel’man (2015) “Regime Changes in Russia” & “Russia’s Flight from Freedom” & “The Unpredictable 2010s” in Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes, University of Pittsburgh Press, Chapters 1, 2 & 5.

August 1: Public Opinion and Disinformation

Daniel Treisman (2018) “Introduction: Rethinking Putin’s Political Order” in The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia, Ed. Daniel Treisman, Bookings Institution Press, Chapter 1.

Samuel Greene & Graeme Robertson (2018) “The People and Vladimir Putin” & “Russia’s Putin” in Putin vs. the People: The Perilous Politics of a Divided Russia, Yale University Press, Chapters 1 & 7.

August 2: Civil Society

Samuel A. Greene (2018) “Running to Stand Still: Aggressive Immobility and the Limits of Power in Russia,” Post-Soviet Affairs 34 (5).

Yana Gorokhovskaia (2018) “From Local Activism to Local Politics: The Case of Moscow,” Russian Politics 3 (4).

Jan Matti Dollbaum, Morvan Lallouet & Ben Noble (2021) “Who is Navalny?” in Navalny: Putin’s Nemesis, Russia’s Future? Oxford University Press, Chapter 1.

August 3: Recent Developments (2020 –)

Special Topics: Constitutional Reform (2020), Covid-19 (2020), War with Ukraine (2022)

Response Paper Due.

August 4: Section #5

Week 6: Historical Legacies

August 7: Historical Legacies – Vicious Circle

Vladimir Gel’man (2019) “Post-Soviet Bad Governance: A Vicious Circle?” in The Politics of Bad Governance in Contemporary Russia, University of Michigan Press, Chapter 2.

Gulnaz Sharafutdinova (2022) “Constructing the Collective Trauma of the 1990s” in The Red Mirror: Putin’s Leadership and Russia’s Insecure Identity, Oxford University Press, Chapter 5.

August 8: Historical Legacies – Virtuous Circle

Tomila Lankina (2021) “The Two-Pronged Middle Class: Implications for Democracy across Time and in Space” in The Estate Origins of Democracy in Russia: From Imperial Bourgeoisie to Post-Communist Middle Class, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 9.

August 9: Non-Cumulative Final Exam Review

August 10: Non-Cumulative Final Exam - In-Class


Keeping track of Russian politics:

Meduza News – non-state-sponsored Russian news for English speakers based in Latvia

Riddle Russia – analytical platform on Russian politics

Faridaily – Substack from Farida Rustamova (Independent journalist, Ex-BBC Russian, Meduza, RBC, TV Rain)

The Bell – your guide to the Russian economy

The Moscow Times – Western oriented reporting from the heart of Russia based in Moscow

Carnegie Moscow Center – policy reporting from Russia based in Moscow

RFERL – Central and Eastern European reporting based in the Czech Republic

PONARS Eurasia – international network of scholars advancing new approaches to research on security, politics, economics, and society in Russia and Eurasia

Russia Political Insight – Russian domestic politics, in English and Russian, in the press, academic journals, and on the internet

Russia in Global Affairs – Russian foreign policy and worldview on global affairs (from Russia)

Russian Analytical Digest – analyzes recent events, trends and developments within contemporary Russian politics, economics and business, foreign policy, security and society (from the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich)