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Unit information: Russian Politics in 2021/22

Unit name Russian Politics
Unit code POLI20006
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Magnus Feldmann
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides an overview of the key features of Russian politics since the early 1990s and introduces students to the controversies surrounding the development and nature of the emerging political system. It analyses the role of key political and social actors in shaping Russian politics and explores how the development of the political system has interacted with the dramatic social changes unleashed by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, such as the emergence of capitalism and a new class system, nationalism, civil society etc.


  • To provide an overview of Russian politics
  • To discuss the nature and development of the Russian political system since the early 1990s, incl. the significance of historical legacies
  • To analyse key issues in Russian politics, such as inequality and the new capitalist class system, the 'super-presidency', nationalism, the borders of the state and Russia's international role, esp. in neighbouring countries
  • To analyse the role of key actors in Russian politics, such as the oligarchs and business elites, the military and security sector (the 'silovarchs'), civil society, political parties and the state

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of the distinctive features of Russian politics and political development since the early 1990s
  • demonstrate understanding of the social bases of Russian politics, such as nationalism, classes and elites, civil society and the state
  • analyse the relationship between the evolution of the political system and other processes of social change
  • critically engage with the scholarly literature on Russia, incl. debates and controversies surrounding Russian politics and society and the nature of the Russian political regime

Teaching Information

2 hours of lectures and a one hour seminar per week

Assessment Information

Essay 1: 2000 words (25%)

Essay 2: 2000 words (75%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI20006).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.