This course is an overview of the politics of post-communist states, primarily focusing on Eurasia. More than 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite regimes in Eastern Europe, the post-communist states have evolved into vastly different polities. Some are market-oriented democracies and have joined the European Union and NATO, while others still oscillate between semi-authoritarian and semi-democratic governance, and some are fully authoritarian. In this course, we will explore the political, social, and economic institutions and outcomes in this region with an eye towards understanding what makes post-communist states different from those that have not experienced communism. We will also consider to a lesser extent some of the states in East Asia that remain communist.
This course will be based on student-centered discussion. Reading is essential for full participation in discussions and students will be asked to explain concepts from the readings in class. In addition, students will research and write an original research paper, with shorter proposal assignments to structure the work of the final paper. Finally, students will make a formal presentation of their papers at the end of the semester.