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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course examines contemporary Russian Foreign Policy through the historical framework of Soviet foreign relations. International, domestic, cultural and ideological factors will be examined throughout the course. This will provide an understanding of a wide range of issues that have affected Moscow’s foreign policy decision making in both the recent past and their legacy in the contemporary situation.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Mervyn Bain

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 3

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either International Relations (IR) (Studied) or Politics (PI) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims: This course will provide an objective analysis of the role that international, domestic, cultural and ideological factors had in shaping Soviet foreign policy from 1917 to 1991. This framework will then be augmented by the special role of the Soviet legacy to analyse the formation of Moscow's foreign policy in the period since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, that is from 1991 to the present. Main Learning Outcomes: The course aims to provide: (1) Students with a greater understanding of key determinants in Moscow's unique foreign policy in both the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. (2) A greater understanding of contemporary Russia and the important role that the Soviet legacy plays in Moscow's foreign policy. (3) A greater understanding of the role that international, domestic, cultural and ideological factors have in shaping foreign policies in general. (4) Enable students to develop their analytical and interpretive skills. Students will be able to disseminate and defend their ideas in both written and spoken word. Content: The course will study international, domestic, cultural and ideological factors in the creation of the Kremlin's foreign policy and pose analytical, empirical and ethical questions about contemporary Russian foreign policy. The course aims to introduce students to the nuances and complexities involved in studying foreign policy. Its main themes will include a theoretical framework and chronological study of significant issues throughout the twentieth century to ascertain whether a Soviet legacy exists in Russian foreign policy since 1991. A detailed study of Moscow's changing relationship with the 'near abroad', NATO, Western Europe, the United States and also the developing world in the post-Soviet period will also be conducted.

Further Information & Notes

Available only to students in Politics OR International Relations degrees.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: One two hour exam 60% and one 3000-3500 word essay 40%. Resit: Examination (60%); in-course grades will be carried forward.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written feedback will be provided for continuous assessment work. This will normally be provided within three weeks of the submission date. Oral feedback on class presentations will also be provided where appropriate.

Course Learning Outcomes


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