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History of Russia Since 1881 (HI289)

Module Convenor: Professor Christoph Mick

Lectures and seminars: Dr Anna Toropova and Professor Christoph Mick


Office: FAB3.66

Office Hours: Monday, 14-15; Tuesday, 11-12
(on campus or on TEAMS, by appointment)

Lectures: Monday, 13-14, OC0.04 (tbc)

Seminars: Group 1: Monday 10-11, FAB4.80 (tbc)

Group 2: Tuesday, 10-11, FAB2.36 (tbc)

Group 3: Tuesday, 16-17, FAB1.05 (tbc)

Group 4: Thursday, 14-15, FAB6.02


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 the history of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation 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 try to question Russian national narratives and ask to what extent the history of Russia needs to be 'decolonised'. This means that we will also reflect on how this history has been told, and the ways in which international tensions between Russia and the West and the Russian attack on Ukraine 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