Spring 2012

Kremlin Rising: Russian Foreign Policy from Yeltsin to Medvedev

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-204


Constantine V. Pleshakov (Section 01)


This course will examine the foreign policy of the Russian Federation throughout the past twenty years, from the disintegration of the Soviet Union to the present. We will start with the Soviet legacy – tensions and conflicts coming from Stalin’s territorial expansion and the concepts of world revolution, superpower, and empire. Second, we will examine Russia as a successor state that has inherited both the Soviet Union’s clout (nuclear arms, permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council) and Soviet debts – monetary, psychological, and historical. Third, we will explore the foreign policy resources Russia has – economic, human, and political. Fourth, we will attempt to track the dynamics of Russia’s foreign policy from Yeltsin to Putin and Medvedev. What are the conceptual foundations of Russian diplomacy? Can we deconstruct Russian nationalism so as to examine its different trends and their impact on foreign policy? Do Russian exports of oil and gas define Russian diplomacy, as it is often claimed? Is there any pattern in the struggle over resources and their export routes in continental Eurasia? What is the foreign policy-making mechanism in Russia today, and do Russian oligarchs have any say in it? At the end of the semester, we will address several scenarios for the future of Russia’s relations with other post-Soviet countries, Europe, the United States, and, last but not least, China.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor/Karl Loewenstein Fellow Pleshakov.


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012