Sakharova Prospekt, Moscow (Summer 2019)

Schedule of Lectures & Readings

Week 1: Concepts & Theory

July 3: Introduction

Vladimir Gel’man (2015) “Pessimism, Optimism, and Realism in Analyses of Russian Politics” in Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes, University of Pittsburgh Press, Excerpt from Chapter 2, pp. 19-37.

Stephen Kotkin (2016) “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics: Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern,” Foreign Affairs 95 (3).

July 4: Independence Day (No Class)

July 5: What is the State?

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

Yuhua Wang (2021) “State-in-Society 2.0: Toward Fourth-Generation Theories of the State,” Comparative Politics 54 (1).

July 6: What is Democracy?

Valerie Bunce (2003) “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: Discussion Section # 1 (Theory & Concepts Review)

Week 2: The Russian Empire

July 10: Russian History 101

Nancy Shields Kollmann (2017) The Russian Empire 1450-1801, Oxford Univeristy Press, Introduction, Prologue, Chapters 1, 2, 7, & 10.

Nancy Shields Kollmann (2019) “Frugal Empire: Sources of Russian State Power” in The State in Early Modern Russia: New Directions, Ed. Paul Bushkovitch, Springer.

Listen: PODCAST – Nancy Kollmann, “The Early Modern Russian Empire”

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.

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).

Listen: PODCAST – Susan Smith-Peter, “Local Identity in Mid-Nineteenth Century Vladimir”

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).

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).

July 13: Empire & Nationalism (Ukraine)

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

Alexei Miller (2015) “The Romanov Empire and the Russian Nation,” in Nationalizing Empires, Eds. Stefan Berger & Alexei Miller, Central European University Press.

Listen: PODCAST – Timothy Snyder, “The Making of Modern Ukraine”

July 14: Discussion Section #2 (Russian Empire Review)

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 and William Taubman (2006) “Stalinism, 1928-1940” & “The Khrushchev Period, 1953-1964” in The Cambridge History of Russia, Ed. Ronald Grigor Suny, Cambridge University Press, Chapters 7 & 10.

Yoram Gorlizki & Oleg Khlevniuk (2020) “Introduction” & “Conclusion” in Substate Dictatorship: Networks, Loyalty, and Institutional Change in the Soviet Union, Yale University Press, Chapters 1 & 11.

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

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) “Introduction” & “Conclusion” in Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union, Yale University Press, Chapters 1 & 16.

July 20: Midterm #1 Review Session

July 21: Discussion Section #3 (Soviet Union Review)

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

July 24: Midterm Exam #1 – In-Class

July 25: Putin’s Russia

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.

Watch: 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.

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).

Listen: PODCAST – Henry Hale, “Patronalism in Eurasia”

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

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

Bryn Rosenfeld (2020) “The Autocratic Middle Class” & “Conclusion” in The Autocratic Middle Class: How State Dependency Reduces the Demand for Democracy, Princeton University Press, Chapters 1 & 8.

Listen: PODCAST – Timothy Frye, “The Weak Strongman”

July 28: Discussion Section #4 (Post-Soviet Russia Review)

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.

Listen: PODCAST – Vladimir Gel’man, “Critical Junctures in Russia’s Authoritarian Path”

August 1: Public Opinion

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.

Timothy Frye, Scott Gehlbach, Kyle L. Marquardt, & Ora John Reuter (2023) “Is Putin’s Popularity (Still) Real? A Cautionary Note on Using List Experiments to Measure Popularity in Authoritarian Regimes,” Post-Soviet Affairs 39.

August 2: Opposition Politics

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

Watch: FILM – Daniel Roher (2022) Navalny. HBO Max/CNN. 1hour 38mins.

August 3: State-Society Relations

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

Yana Gorokhovskaia (2019) “What It Takes to Win When the Game is Rigged: The Evolution of Opposition Electoral Strategies in Moscow, 2012-2017,” Democratization 26.

August 4: Discussion Section #5 (Contemporary Russia Review)

Response Paper Due.

Week 6: Historical Legacies & Future Prospects

August 7: Historical Legacies – Vicious or Virtuous Cycles?

Gulnaz Sharafutdinova (2020) “Constructing the Collective Trauma of the 1990s” in The Red Mirror: Putin’s Leadership and Russia’s Insecure Identity, Oxford University Press, Chapter 5.

Listen: PODCAST – Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, “Russia in the Red Mirror”

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.

Listen: PODCAST – Tomila Lankina: “The Estate Origins of Democracy in Russia”

August 8: Recent Developments: Constitutional Reform & COVID-19

Fabian Burkhardt (2021) “Institutionalizing Personalism: The Russian Presidency after Constitutional Changes,” Russian Politics 6.

Joshua Yaffa (2021) “Why Russia Hasn’t Cracked Down on COVID-19,” The New Yorker, November 23, 2021.

August 9: Recent Developments: War in Ukraine

Michael Kofman & Jeffrey Edmonds (2022) “Russia’s Shock and Awe: Moscow’s Use of Overwhelming Force Against Ukraine” Foreign Affairs, February 22, 2022.

Serhii Plokhy (2023) “Putin’s War” in The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History, Norton, Chapter 7.

“Putin’s War: How Putin’s War in Ukraine Became a Catastrophe” (2022) The New York Times, December 16, 2022 (use link below to access multimedia article):

Trigger Warning: sensitive images of wartime destruction

New York Times:

August 10: Non-Cumulative Final Exam Review

August 11: 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)