Russia in Revolution, 1900-1938

Second year module

Lecturer: Arfon Rees

The first semester will examine late Tsarist Russia. It will cover the revolutionary events of 1905, the period of semi-constitutionalism and the Stolypin reforms in 1905-1914, the First World War and the two revolutions of 1917. It will include examination of the main social groups in Russia at the beginning of the century – peasants, workers, and the nobility – and the nature of the tsarist autocracy. It will also examine the impact of economic modernisation and political ideas on Russian development.

The second semester examines the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920, the New Economic Policy of 1921-28, the rise to power of Stalin, the collectivisation of agriculture, and the introduction of the planned economy. It concludes with exploration of the established Stalinist system and the Great Terror of 1937-38.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to understand the process of revolution and the establishment of the Stalinist system in Russia/the Soviet Union. As well as grasping chronological political developments, students will gain a knowledge of the changing social and economic structure.


The best of two assignments completed during the year counts for 33% of the final assessment. The two-hour written examination in the summer exam period, lasts for two hours and you are required to answer two questions. The examination counts for 67% of the final assessment (100%).