Module Identifier IP34720  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Jennifer Mathers  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   14 Hours (14 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours (8 x 1 hour)  
Assessment Essay   1 x 2,500 words   40%  
  Exam   2 Hours   60%  


Upon completion of this module students should be able to:

10 ECTS Credits


The aim of this module is to examine the major stages in the creation and development of the Soviet political system from October 1917 to the collapse of the USSR in 1991, and the emergence of a post-Soviet, Russian political system.

Brief description

This module begins with the revolutionary year of 1917 and examines the major debates about the development of the Soviet political system, such as the link between Leninism and Stalinism, and different explanations of the purges of the 1930s. After Stalin's death his successors faced the dilemma of reducing the regime's dependence on the use of coercion and terror as instruments of politics without losing control of events and provoking a backlash. Khrushchev embarked on a campaign of selective revelations about the excesses of the Stalin period, but was overthrown when his policies alienated powerful interest groups. The Brezhnev leadership placed emphasis on stability and brought an immediate end to de-Stalinization. When Gorbachev came to power he sought to invigorate politics with his policies of perestroika and glasnost, but instead released long-suppressed political aspirations which spiraled out of control. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union new political institutions and processes have been created, but it is still unclear whether the course that Russia's leaders are pursuing will result in the development of a democratic state.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Geoffrey Hosking. A History of Soviet Union 1917-1991.
Mary McAuley. Soviet Politics 1917-1991.