The course will be organized problematically, not chronologically, with the material mostly centered on the last few centuries of Russian history (although students are not discouraged from driving on earlier and contemporary material in their papers and in-class responses). The course does not seek to explore some constant tensions characteristic of Russian history. Rather, it is oriented towards the problems in contemporary social sciences that can be explored on the variety of materials from Russian modern history.
The course is divided into 4 blocs, each setting a problem in a historical context, the developments of the last two centuries without which the understanding of current political situation is unattainable. Ongoing imperializing of neighboring countries and largely unsuccessful attempts to maintain the status of superpower, contemporary social and political movements within the country are all set in the context from which they originated. The first class in the bloc is usually focusing on 19th or early 20th century topic, whereas the second one is supposed to provide the connection to contemporary state of affairs. In the course of the studies we will read primary sources, as well as the scholarly literature on the subject.