International relations

Russia and Eurasia in International Politics

Module code: 998M9
Level 7 (Masters)
30 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

This module explores the international politics of post-Soviet Russia, in its interaction with the former Soviet space and the wider world. After a period of relative decline in the 1990s, Russia has more recently been described as ‘rising Great Power’ and developments involving Russia have returned to the news – from ‘gas wars’ to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, to the ‘democratic revolutions’ in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and the repercussions these had for relations between Russia, the EU and NATO.

At the same time, there continue to be dramatic swings in the relationship between Russia and the West. While the last few years have seen talk of a ‘new Cold War’ between Russia and the West, Obama’s re-orientation towards Russia means relations are once again in flux. And Russia has now re-gained the confidence to act beyond its immediate sphere of influence – expressed in its quest for a ‘multipolar world order’, its engagement with China, and the influence it exerts in the Iran issue.

All 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.

This module will investigate the background for and current issues in Russia’s foreign and security policy, in relation to the Near and the Far abroad – and of course, the way in which these spheres are increasingly intertwined. Among other things, we will discuss Russia’s status as Great Power, the ‘colour revolutions’ in Ukraine and Georgia and the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, relations with NATO and the US, 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.

Module learning outcomes

  • Learning to critically engage with concepts and applying them to empirical knowledge
  • Further impoving critical argumentative and academic writing skills
  • Gain a systematic up-to-date knowledge of recent developments in Russian foreign policy