International relations

Russia and the Former Soviet Union in Global Politics

Module code: L2071SDUD
Level 6
30 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Not yet finalised

This module explores the international politics of post-Soviet Russia and the former Soviet space. After a period of relative decline in the 1990s, Russia has more recently been described as 'rising Great Power' and developments in the CIS have returned to the news - from 'gas wars' to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, from the 'democratic revolutions' in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan to the apparent erosion of democracy in Russia and talk of a "new Cold War" between Russia and the West. 

These are developments with implications for Western Europe and beyond, touching on traditional and new security issues alike, and shedding light on the implications of Western democracy promotion and the role of norms and identity in contemporary global politics. 

The module will investigate the background for and current development of international relations in the region - in particular Russia's status as great power, the 'colour revolutions' in Ukraine and Georgia and the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, NATO and the US in the former Soviet space, the question of Europe's 'energy security' and its relations with Russia, and what has been called the 'new Great Game' between Russia, China and the US in Central Asia. In doing this, it will introduce relevant theoretical concepts related to foreign policy analysis and constructivist explanations of the role of norms and identity in the international politics of Russia and the FSU.