REEES 395 - Russia and the Soviet Union: Reform, Revolution, and the Socialist Experiment
Fall 2022, Section 001 - Russia and the Soviet Union: Reform, Revolution, and the Socialist Experiment
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES)
Department: LSA II: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


From the earliest times, the polities of the East Slavs, and, later, Russia attempted to find a way in a competitive international environment despite disadvantages and challenges. Even as the largest country in the world (by territory), the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union were confronted by rival states that threatened -- and felt threatened by -- the colossus that stretched from central Europe to the Pacific Ocean.

Russia's modern history is of radical social experiments, the rise of a Great Power, and then the descent into defeat. Yet, this is the country that provided an influential model of a kind of state socialism, and it played a key role in the defeat Nazi Germany, before becoming one of the great antagonists of the Cold War.

Another striking paradigm is that Russia, always “late to the table” in European culture, and so different in its history from Western-European cultural patterns, has, despite (perhaps, in part, because of) its evident disadvantages and its frequent claim of a distinct path, made stunning and very original contributions to world literature, music, and the arts.

This course explores the extraordinary history of the East Slavs before modern times, then of the Russian Empire, later of the Soviet Union, and now of today’s Russian Federation, with some reference to the fourteen other states that emerged in 1991 from the collapse of the Union: Ukraine, Belarus’, the countries of “Central Asia”, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Baltic republics.

The course is interdisciplinary; the story is told from different perspectives, through the lenses of a number of invited lecturers from various departments and schools, bringing together the methodologies of the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

The humorist Will Rogers once said, "Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it's true. Even if it's a lie, it's true. If it's about Russia." Come and find out what really is true and what might be false about the country that Winston Churchill famously called "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

Course Requirements:

Discussions, films, and readings will contribute to the understanding of a much misunderstood part of the world.


REEES 395 - Russia and the Soviet Union: Reform, Revolution, and the Socialist Experiment
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (DIS)
 In Person
F 3:00PM - 4:00PM
003 (DIS)
 In Person
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM
004 (DIS)
 In Person
F 4:00PM - 5:00PM
005 (DIS)
 In Person
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM

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