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History of Russia Since 1881 (HI289)

Module Director: Dr Claire Shaw


Office: Room H021, ground floor of the Humanities Building

Office Hours: Thursdays 2-3 and Fridays 11-12

Lectures: Thursdays 4-5 in OC1.04

Seminars: Fridays 10-11 (H1.02), 12-1 (S1.69) or 2-3 (H4.02)


October Revolution Day, 1938. Source: Wikimedia Commons

This 30 CATS undergraduate second-year option examines the history of Russia’s long 20th century, a period dominated by the Soviet ‘experiment’ to build a socialist utopia on the ashes of the Russian Empire. We will consider the roots of revolution in late 19th century Russia; attempts to build socialism after 1917; the lived experience of socialism under Stalin and his successors; and the decline, collapse and legacy of the USSR into the Putin era. By exploring Russian history from a variety of angles – including high politics and ideology, socialist economics, social and cultural history, and everyday life – we will attempt to draw conclusions about the relationship between self, society and the state in a ‘totalitarian’ system. We will also reflect on how this history has been told, and the ways in which international tensions between Russia and the West influence our understanding of Russia’s recent past.

Lecture and Seminar Programme

Seminar Details and Reading List (link to Talis Aspire)

Moodle (link to Lecture Capture)

Background Reading

Primary Source Collections