PS 633 Russian Politics

A historic transition began with the collapse of the USSR in 1991.  Russia proclaimed its desire to break with its authoritarian past and to become a market democracy.  The rise of Putin has brought a return to authoritarianism with a veneer of democracy.  During the upcoming semester, we will assess the twists and turns of post-Soviet Russia and try to determine what the future holds for Russia.  We will focus primarily on three key goals which Russia has set for itself: democracy, the market, and the rule of law.  In each case, we begin by defining the concept and then turn to its applicability in the Soviet and post-Soviet context.  In an effort to understand the legacy with which Russia was confronted when the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, we begin with a brief survey of the Soviet era.