Political Science | Comparative Politics: Russian Politics
Y657 | 15020 | Smyth


Russian Politics:

The collapse of the Soviet Union produced widespread optimism that
the communist authoritarian regimes would give way to stable
democracies across the successor states.  In reality, Russia’s
political development has been uneven and ambiguous.  This course
will examine this outcome through the lens of a number of critical
debates:  the rise of competitive authoritarianism, the role of
political trust, the relationship between presidential regimes and
successful democratic consolidation, the importance of political
legacies, and the sources and impact of ethnic conflict.   Each
section will consist of two weeks.  In the first week, we will read
the theoretic literature and in the second week, the applications of
these theories to the Russian case.  We will begin and conclude with
two new books that explore the failure of Russian democracy:
Kathryn Stoner-Weiss’ (2006) study Resisting the State: Reform and
Retrenchment in Post-Soviet Russia and Steve Fish’s book, Democracy
Derailed in Russia:  The Failure of Open Politics (2005).  Students
will be asked to write short papers on the readings and to complete
a fieldwork grant application based on the NSF dissertation support
guidelines.