Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Russian intelligence from Lenin to Putin
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word written essay  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word wrriten essay  50%
Semester Assessment seminar performance  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word written essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word written essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 500 written plan for co-leading a seminar in lieu of sem  10%

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify and discuss elements of continuity and change in the development of pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet Russian intelligence services
2. Describe and compare different perspectives among academic experts about key aspects of Soviet and Russian intelligence operations
3. Discuss a variety of primary sources (such as documents released from archives or memoir accounts of former intelligence agents)
4. Research, describe and discuss in detail a major Soviet foreign or domestic intelligence operation
5. Identify key points from seminar readings and jointly (with fellow student/s) lead one seminar discussion in the module

Brief description

This module examines the development of the Soviet and post-Soviet Russian intelligence services and their roles in surveillance and control of Soviet/Russian society and in foreign intelligence and espionage. Students will engage with academic literature on Soviet and Russian intelligence as well as memoir accounts of Soviet and Russian intelligence officers that are available in English. Students will consider such questions as the balance between continuity and change over time in the operation and position of intelligence in Russia, as well as the effectiveness of Russia's intelligence services in furthering the policy aims of the state.


The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Key themes that will be covered in the module include:
• The central role for intelligence services in establishing and maintaining the regime's control over society
• The evolution of the structure and organisation of intelligence services since the Bolshevik Revolution
• The range of foreign intelligence operations that the USSR and Russia have engaged in
• The extent to which the available archival evidence contributes to our understanding of Soviet intelligence and the way it functioned
• Debates about the power, status and effectiveness of Russia's intelligence services in the post-Soviet period

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to focus on material relevant to the objectives of their argument or discussion. This module will test oral communication skills as it involves assessed seminar participation. Students will be expected to demonstrate effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in their written work.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to use Blackboard to access materials for the module, use relevant websites, use Turnitin to submit essays and access their essay feedback and provisional marks. Students will be encouraged to use Twitter to share ideas and links to relevant sources about the module.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is designed to help students develop key employability skills, such as speaking to small and large groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statements of others, as well as expressing themselves clearly in writing.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays and preparation for seminar discussions will require students to develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. Students' ability to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt different points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to problems posed; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts.
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas relevant to the module. Subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module; • Evaluate competing perspectives; • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques; • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political problems.
Team work Students will work together in small and large groups in the seminars to consider different aspects of the topic and specific reading assignments. Students will work in small groups to prepare and to carry out the task of co-leading one seminar discussion.


This module is at CQFW Level 5