History 152

Russia Since 1860 

"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
--Winston Churchill
and Policies
Lecture Outlines

Objectives and Outcomes

No nation has influenced twentieth-century history more than Russia.  In its heroic contributions to two world wars, in its revolutionary ideology and economy, in its colorful and ruthless (and sometimes saintly) leaders, in its contributions to technology and to the arts, in its brutality and blood-letting—no European culture quite compares.  Thus, Russian history in our century is vital to an assessment of our recent past.  But a solid foundation in modern Russian history is vital also in our time as we map out the course of the next century—as Europe integrates into the European Union, as the US plots out its ever-complex foreign policy, and as the continuing menacing presence of thousands of nuclear-tipped warheads is tackled.  The twentieth century began, we will argue, in the First World War and the Russian Revolution.  And it has ended with a new Russian Revolution.  Making sense of these tumultuous events, and speculating on what they mean for our global future, is the purpose of this course.


1. Walter G. Moss, A History of Russia, vol. II.

    This book serves as the basic textbook for the course.  Its purpose is to provide additional details on topics
    presented in lecture and discussions, as well as presenting an overview of the structure of Russian History in the
    period covered in this course.  This book has been chosen over other titles because of its brevity, it emphasis
    on themes important in this course, and its suitability for students new to Russian history.  No amount of time
    spent reading it will be wasted.

2. Yevgeny Zamyatin, We.

    An imaginative, futuristic novel that is a metaphor for Soviet Russia.

3.  Robert V. Daniels, ed., A Documentary history of Communism in Russia : from Lenin to Gorbachev.

    A valuable collection of documents illuminating key events in the history of the USSR to its fall in 1991.

4. Eric Hoffer, True Believer.

    A classic discussion of the psychology of the persons who join militant groups, fringe religious sects and
    revolutionary parties.  An essential read for anyone who wants to understand the Russian Revolution.

5. Richard Overy, Russia’s War, 1941-1945.

    A highly readable yet detailed treatment of Russia’s involvement in the Second World War.

[These titles are required and are available at the bookstore.]

Other readings will be distributed in class as needed.

Assignments and Policies

1. Examinations.  There will be two “blue-book” examinations, a mid-term and a cumulative final.

2. Quizzes.  No less than three quizzes, one of which will be a map quiz.  If it becomes apparent that the reading is not being done conscientiously, more, shorter quizzes may be added, at the discretion of the professor.

3. Paper.  Students will select a topic for research with the approval of the instructor.  This assignment is a research paper and will focus on a topic of interest to the student and related to (and supplementing) the course material.  2000 words.

4. Participation.  Students will be expected to attend class and to have prepared for lectures and for discussion by having read and thought about the assigned readings in advance.  Each student will periodically be assigned a primary source to present to the class during discussion sections.  These presentations, plus classroom contributions of other sorts, will factor into the participation percentage of the final grade.


We will be screening a number of classic (and not-so-classic) films about Russian history in our period, including the magnificent "Burnt by the Sub" and "Nicholas and Alexandra."


1.  The final grade will be determined according to the following breakdown:

 Midterm exam:   20%
 Final exam:   30%
 Paper:    25%
 Quizzes:   15%
 Participation:   10%

2.  Grades will be assigned according to the follow numerical equivalencies:

 93-100    A
 90-92    A-
 87-89    B+
 83-86    B
 80-82    B-, .....Etc.

Course Resources

Students should visit the professor's homepage to find the webpage for this course.  That page includes the daily handouts, the contents of the syllabus, and links to numerous websites relevant to the topics and materials presented in this course.  These linked sites include art history, source studies and editions, chronologies, maps, genealogical tables, and additional recommended readings.

Academic Honesty

The Undergraduate Catalog provides the following definition for "academic integrity":

Academic dishonesty is a profound violation of the expected code of behavior.  It can take several forms, including, but not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, misrepresentation of facts or experimental results, unauthorized use of or intentional intrusion into another's computer files and/or programs, intentional damage to a computer system, and unauthorized use of library materials and privileges.

For a course like this one, the major concern is plagiarism, partly because it remains, alas, fairly commonplace on college campuses, partly because what constitutes plagiarism is often unclear in the minds of students.  For the sake of clarity, plagiarism can be defined as generally leading your reader (or in the case of oral presentations, listeners) to believe that what you have written or said is your own work when, in fact, it is not.  Plagiarism runs from the rather mild to the totally flagrant.  It can be the word-for-word reproduction of another person's text without quotation marks and appropriate citation.  It can be a paraphrase that is far too close to the source text to constitute "being in your own words."  And it can be even the unattributed borrowing of apt phrases or terminology.  All of these degrees of plagiarism are equally unethical and may be penalized with failure for the assignment, or, in extreme cases, failure for the course.

The webpage for this course includes links to websites that discuss plagiarism and provide suggestions for identifying and rooting it out of your written work.  Students should visit this page, especially as they prepare to write their papers.

If you are ever in doubt as to whether your written work is plagiaristic in form, do not hesitate to consult with the professor.

Course Schedule

Week I
    January 21:  Russia, Land and People
    January 23:  Russia Under the Old Regime
    January 25:  The Great Reforms
         Read:   Moss, chs. 1, 2; Handouts.

Week II
    January 28:  Alexander III and the Birth of the Modern Police State
    January 30:  Nationalities and Empire
    February 1:  Discussion  (Topics for paper distributed today.)
         Read:  Moss, chs. 3, 4, 7;
         Daniels, xix-xxxv;
         Begin Hoffer.

Week III
    February 4:  Nicholas and Alexandra
    February 6:  1905
    February 8:  Discussion (of Hoffer)
         Read:  Moss, chs. 5, 6;
         Daniels, 3-14, 16-25;
         Finish Hoffer.

Week IV
    February 11:  Economy and Society
    February 13:  World War I
    February 15:  The Russian Revolution
         Read: Moss, ch. 8;
         Daniels, 42-70
         Start We.

Week V
    February 18:  Civil War
    February 20:  War on Religion
    February 22:  We
         Read: Moss, chs. 9-11;
         Daniels, 70-131;
         Finish We.
         Film this week:  Burnt By the Sun (evening screening)

Week VI
    February 25:  NEP and Stalin
    February 27:  Stalin and Hitler
    March 1:  World War II
         Read:   Moss, ch. 12, 13;
         Daniels, 133-39, 144-47, 153-59, 162-64, 170-75, 177-79, 185-90, 193-95, 197-208, 216-17, 223-29;
         Overy, all.

Week VII
    March 4:  The Cold War
    March 6:  Events Outside the USSR
    March 8:  Mid Term Examination
         Read:  Moss, ch. 14;
         Daniels, 232-246.

    March 9-17: Mid Break

Week IX
    March 18:  Economy and Society
    March 20:  Religion in the USSR
    March 22:  No Class
         Read:  Moss, chs. 15, 16; Handouts.

Week X
    March 25:  Military Matters
    March 27:  Eastern Europe Up Close
    March 29:  Easter Break
         Read:   Moss, ch. 17;
         Daniels, 246-279.

Week XI
    April 1:  Easter Break Continued
    April 3:  Khrushchev
    April 5:  Brezhnevian Stagnation
         Read:  Moss, chs. 18, 19;
         Daniels, 280-84, 286-302, 307-323.

Week XII
    April 8:  The “Interregnum”
    April 10:  Reagan, Reagan’s Ray Gun, Thatcher and Gorbachev
    April 12:  Reforming the Unreformable
        Read: Moss, ch. 20.
        Daniels, 325-66.

    April 15:  Society and Culture
    April 17:  The East Bloc Crumbles
    April 19:  Discussion
        Read:  Moss, ch. 21.
       Other, TBA.

Week XIV
    April 22:  August Putsch
    April 24:  Yeltsyn’s Russia
    April 26:  Discussion.  Papers Due today.
         Read:  Moss, ch. 22;
         Daniels, 383-89; Handouts.

Week XV
    April 29:  The Economic Crisis
    May 1:  The Nationalities Crisis
    May 3:  The Succession Crisis
         Read:   Daniels, 366-83, 389-90;
         Other, TBA.

Week XVI
    May 6:  Putin and the International Arena
    May 7:  Prospects and Predictions

Final Exam:  Thursday, May 9, 2002, 8:00am-10:30am.


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