Contemporary Russian and East European Politics

Second year module

Lecturer: Katarzyna Wolczuk and David White

The module focuses on contemporary Russia and Ukraine as the two biggest Soviet successor states. Consideration is given to the progress or otherwise of democracy, institutional design, notions of nationhood and ‘national ideas’, spatial politics in Russia and Ukraine as well as tensions between state-building and democratisation in Ukraine. The course also analyses the international dimension: both relations between Ukraine and Russia within the CIS and their respective relations with the West in general, and NATO and EU in particular. The aim is also to develop an in-depth understanding of the contemporary developments in the two key countries of the former Soviet Union.

Learning outcomes

Student will be able to:

  • to contextualise the key features of contemporary Russia’s polity in terms of both Russia’s past and comparative international experience;
  • to critically apply theories of transition, democratisation and party formation to the specifics of contemporary Russia and Ukraine;
  • to identify the key socio-political processes in independent Ukraine, and assess their importance within Ukraine and the wider world;
  • to write analytical essays demonstrating outcomes 1 to 3.


  • Term One: 2000 word essay (25%)
  • Term Two: 2000 word essay (25%)
  • Term Three: 2 hour Exam (50%)