Russia in world affairs fall/Winter 2008 Wednesday, 11: 30-14: 30 Instructor: Sergei Plekhanov




НазваниеRussia in world affairs fall/Winter 2008 Wednesday, 11: 30-14: 30 Instructor: Sergei Plekhanov
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REVISED VERSION: JANUARY 30, 2009


YORK UNIVERSITY

Department of Political Science

AS/POLS 4280.03A(F) / GS/POLS 5280.03

RUSSIA IN WORLD AFFAIRS


Fall/Winter 2008

Wednesday, 11:30-14:30

Instructor: Sergei Plekhanov


Office: 383 York Lanes, phone: (416) 736-5156, 736-2100, ext.46013

Email: splekhan@yorku.ca, website: http://www.yorku.ca/splekhan/

Office hours: Thursday, 12:30-14:30, and by appointment


Russia is the world’s largest state with a unique identity and a wide range of regional and global interests. Russia’s relations with the outside world have unfolded primarily in the regions around it: East-Central Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East (including Transcaucasia), Central Asia, and the Far East. This breadth of regional interests made Russia a major world power by the 19th century. In the 20th century, communist ideology and nuclear weapons added major new dimensions to Russia’s global role, making it one of the two superpowers. After the fall of Soviet communism, Russia’s world role is being redefined under the impact of multiple factors, domestic and international.


This course consists of two parts. Part One deals with the historical context: a brief review of the history of the Russian Empire, followed by a study of the roles the Soviet Union played in world affairs in 1917-1991. It focuses on the formation of the Soviet Union as a result of the Russian revolution of 1917, the evolution of Soviet foreign policy under successive leaderships from Lenin to Gorbachev, as the USSR turned from a revolutionary state into a status-quo power locked in a protracted global conflict with the West, and on the radical changes in Soviet foreign policy enacted under Mikhail Gorbachev. Part Two focuses on the international relations of post-Soviet Russia as the main successor state of the USSR. It examines the impact of Russia’s transition crisis of the 1990s on the country’s status and role in the post-Cold War world; the resurgence of Russia as a great power since 2000; the transformation of its relations with the other new independent states of Eurasia, the United States, Europe, the Moslem world, and China.


Course requirements


Fall Term:

1 class report or short essay (6-8 pages double-spaced) - 10%

Major essay (12-15 pages double-spaced) - 30%

Participation - 10%


Winter Term:

1 class report or short essay (6-8 pages double-spaced) - 10%

Major essay (12-15 pages double-spaced) - 30%

Participation - 10%


Classes are organized as three-hour seminars, consisting of a lecture, a class report, and a discussion. Students are expected to participate actively in the discussions. Themes of class reports and short essays will be selected from the topics listed in this syllabus. Each student is also expected to choose topics for the two major essays. Lists of suggested topics will be handed out in class. The deadline for submitting Fall Term written assignments is Feb.19. The deadline for submitting Winter Term written assignments is May 20.


Please see the list of required readings below. The syllabus also includes a list of relevant websites. The select bibliography on Soviet and post-Soviet international relations, placed at the end of the syllabus, is designed to help the students find the additional readings for written and oral assignments.


NOTE: A collection of books and periodicals on Russia and Eastern Europe (in Russian, English and other languages) is available for in-library reading at York Centre for International and Security Studies. The catalog of the PCSP Collection, searchable by author, title, and subject, is available at:

http://www.arts.yorku.ca/yciss/pcsp_search.php


COURSE SCHEDULE


Sept.3:

INTRODUCTION


PART ONE. THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT



Sept.10:

RUSSIA IN EURASIA. The challenges of security and development in the Eurasian Heartland. Russia’s special place between East and West. Russia’s three frontiers. The expansion and containment of the Russian Empire, 1700-1917.
Required readings:

Donaldson and Nogee: The Foreign Policy of Russia, Parts 1 and 2

Trenin and Mathews: The End of Eurasia. http://www.carnegie.ru/en/pubs/books/36275.htm, Introduction and Chapter 1: the Spatial Dimension of Russian History

Additional readings:

LeDonne: The Russian Empire and the World, Introduction (2)

Russia Engages the World: 1453-1825. A multimedia exhibit at the New York Public Library.

http://russia.nypl.org/


Sept.17 and 24:

THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND ITS INTERNATIONAL CONSEQUENCES. The impact of World War I on the Russian state and society. An anti-imperialist revolution. The Soviet Union as a new type of international actor. The Soviet dilemma: promoting world revolution or “building socialism in one country”?

Topics for class reports:
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
The formation of Comintern and its role in early Soviet foreign policy.


Required readings:

“The Decree on Peace, November 1917” - http://www.historyguide.org/europe/decree.html

“The Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, March 3, 1918” - http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/brest.htm

Donaldson and Nogee: The Foreign Policy of Russia, Chapter 3

Additional readings:

Jacobson, When the Soviet Union Entered World Politics, Chapters 1-3 (3)

Nation: Black Earth, Red Star, Chapters 1-3 (3)

Page, S.W. The Geopolitics of Leninism (3)


Oct.1 and 8:

THE RISE OF FASCISM AND STALINISM. Totalitarianism West and East: convergence of the opposites. The Soviet role in the international antifascist campaigns of the 1930s. Stalin's geopolitical gamble before World War II.

Topic for class report:

The Stalin-Hitler pact of 1939.

Required readings:

Donaldson and Nogee: The Foreign Policy of Russia, Chapter 3

Lafeber: America, Russia, and the Cold War, Introduction

Additional readings:

Furet: The Passing of an Illusion, Chapters 6-8 (4)

Nation: Black Earth, Red Star, Chapter 3 (3)

Ulam: Expansion and Coexistence, Part V (7)


Oct.15 and 22:

THE SOVIET UNION IN WORLD WAR II. Germany’s attack on the USSR: a turning point in World War II. The Soviet Union in the Grand Alliance. The impact of World War II on the Soviet state and its world role.

Topic for class report:
The Yalta and Potsdam conferences.

Required readings:

Donaldson and Nogee, Chapter 3

Lafeber: America, Russia, and the Cold War, Chapter 1

Text of the Yalta agreements, February 1945: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Dip/yalta-cnf.html

Additional readings:

Furet: The Passing of An Illusion, Chapter 9 (4)

Murphy, David. What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa (3)

Nation: Black Earth, Red Star, Chapter 4 (3)


Oct. 22 and 29:

THE FORMATION OF THE COLD WAR SYSTEM. Stalin's goals in the Cold War. Evolution of the American policy of containment. The Cold War in Europe and Asia, 1946-1953.

Topics for class reports:
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