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  1. Recommended Purchases 2 items
    1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

      Book Essential This short, accessible novella is recommended for purchase. Any edition is fine. The library also has multiple copies of it. Students need to have read the book in full by Week 8.

  2. Week One 10 items
    1. Lecture 1: Introducing Soviet History 5 items
      1. In preparation for this lecture, students should familiarise themselves with the structure of the module, notable deadlines, and the resources available on the Blackboard site as well as complete the essential reading listed below.

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Read the introduction.

      3. Reading Russia and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century: how the ‘West’ wrote its history of the USSR - Ronald Grigor Suny

        Chapter Background If time permits, read this overview of western historiographical trends and Soviet history.

      4. Writing history in twentieth century Russia: a view from within - A. L. Litvin 2001

        Book Background If time permits, read pp. 3-37 for an insight into the challenges faced by historians in the USSR.

    2. Lecture 2: Government and People in Late Imperial Russia 1 item
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Read Chapter 1.

    3. Seminar 1: Opposition to Autocracy 4 items
      1. Students should come to Seminar 1 having completed the essential readings for the first two lectures and also the essential readings for the seminar. Please prepare responses to the following questions, and be ready to discuss (and defend!) your views:

        1. According to Sergey Nechayev, what are the characteristics of a revolutionary? How would you describe his portrait of a revolutionary activist? How did conditions under the Tsarist regime lead to revolutionary terrorism?
        2. What did Father Gapon and the petitioners want from the Tsar? What does the petition tell us about how the autocracy was regarded by the workers?
        3. How did the Tsar appease different sectors of society following the unrest of 1905/06 (consider the intelligentsia, the peasantry, and the workers)? What rights and privileges did the Fundamental Law of 1906 (also known as the Basic Law) give the autocrat?

  3. Week Two 7 items
    1. Lecture 3: The Overthrow of Tsarism 2 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Please read Chapter 2.

    2. Lecture 4: Mass Power and Revolution: Lenin and 1917 3 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Chapters 3 and 4.

      2. Lenin - Lars Lih 2011

        Book Background If time permits, read pp. 84-121.

      3. Marxists Internet Archive

        Website Background If time permits, explore this excellent web site. Perhaps identify one or two revolutionary figures which interest you and search for their key works on this comprehensive site on Marxist theorists. Works by Nikolai Bukharin, Georgi Chicherin, Leon Kamenev, Alexandra Kollonatai, Vladimir Lenin, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Leon Trotsky and Gregory Zinoviev will be of particular interest.

    3. Seminar 2: The Bolsheviks 2 items
      1. After completing the readings, prepare answers to the following questions:

        1. What factors contributed to the overthrow of the Tsarist system?
        2. What challenges faced the Provisional Government in March 1917?
        3. Why was the Provisional Government so unsuccessful in meeting these challenges?
        4. Was the October Revolution actually a 'Bolshevik coup'?

      2. Competing voices from the Russian Revolution - Michael C. Hickey c2011

        Book Essential Students should read a number of different sections of this book, namely pages 65-82 and documents 3.13 ('The Petrograd Soviet on "Dual Power"'), 3.14 ('The Menshevik Defensists on Dual Power and the War'), and 3.16 ('Lenin, "On the Proletariat’s Tasks in the Current Revolution"'), pp. 107-113.

  4. Week Three 6 items
    1. Lecture 5: The Civil War and the Consolidation of Bolshevik Rule, 1917-1924 2 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Please read chapters 5 and 6.

      2. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

        Website Essential Have a look at the 'Demands of the Kronstadt Insurgents' text included in this website. To access, go to the main page, click on '1921' in the left column, then 'Kronstadt Uprising' again in the left column, then see the documents in the right-hand column.

    2. Lecture 6: Creating a New Revolutionary Culture 2 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Please read Chapters 7 and 8.

      2. Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution - Richard Stites 1989

        Book Essential Read a chapter or two of your choice from this excellent book.

    3. Seminar 3: The NEP 2 items
      1. Questions to consider:

        1. What was 'new' about the NEP?
        2. Why was it so controversial?
        3. Was it unsustainable?

      2. Russia's last capitalists: the Nepmen, 1921-1929 - Alan M. Ball 1987

        Book Essential Students must read pages 15-37.

  5. Week Four 8 items
    1. Lecture 7: Terror and the Gulag System 3 items
      1. Gulag Boss: a Soviet Memoir - Fyodor Mochulsky 2011

        Book Essential Students must read some of these memoirs, but which parts and how much is up to them.

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Please read Chapter 9.

    2. Lecture 8: Stalinism and Socialist Realism: A ‘New’ Soviet Reality 2 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Read chapter 11.

      2. 1929 - Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

        Webpage Essential Explore at least two 'events' listed on website 'Seventeen Moments in Soviet History' for the year 1929.

    3. Seminar 4: Collectivisation: Famine and the Holodomor 3 items
      1. As a general introduction to this topic, consider the question: how did Stalin want to change Soviet agriculture and industry?

         

        Students will also be asked to engage critically with historiographical debates on the famine of the 1930s. In preparation for this seminar, consider the following:

        • What is the purpose of Ellman's article?
        • How does Ellman construct his argument? 
        • Where might you stand in this debate?

      2. Stalin and the Soviet Famine of 1932-33: A Reply to Ellman - R. W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft 2006

        Article Essential Obligatory.

  6. Week Five 1 item
    1. The week of 30 October to 3 November is a Reading Week. Dr Knox's seminar groups will meet on the morning of 1 November but there will be no other classes this week.     

  7. Week Six 8 items
    1. Lecture 9: The 'Great Patriotic War' and the Siege of Leningrad 3 items
      1. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

        Website  Read at least three of the primary sources on the siege of Leningrad available on this website. To access them, click '1943', then '900 days', and choose from the sources listed in the right-hand column.

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Read chapters 13 and 14.

      3. Annals of Communism : Leningrad Blockade, 1941-1944 : A New Documentary History from the Soviet Archives - Bidlack, Richard, Lomagin, Nikita, Schwartz, Marian 2012

        Book Background Students should dip into this edited collection of primary sources on life inside the besieged city.

    2. Lecture 10: Workshop: Planning and Writing your Extended Essay 2 items
      1. Prior to the workshop, students must familiarise themselves with both the essay questions and the guidelines on the Formative Assessment (see the 'Module Overview' tab on Blackboard).

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Read chapter 12.

    3. Seminar 5: Identity and Ideology in Stalinist Society 3 items
      1. Questions to consider:

        1. What was Stalinism?
        2. What was its relationship with individual Soviet citizens?
        3. How did ordinary people in the USSR respond to Stalinism?
        4. What were the definitive features of Stalinist society? Be prepared to share your insights.

      2. Fashioning the Stalinist Soul: The Diary of Stepan Podlubnyi (1931-1939) - Jochen Hellbeck 1996

        Article Essential If you have difficulties accessing the e-book above, access the original version of the essay in this journal.

  8. Week Seven 6 items
    1. Lecture 11: Dictatorship, Dissent, Disorder: Communism in Eastern Europe 2 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Please read Chapter 18.

      2. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

        Website Essential Explore the 'Hungarian Crisis' section of the website, leading from '1956' in the left hand column of the main webpage.

    2. Lecture 12: After Stalin: The ‘Thaw’ and the ‘Secret Speech’ 2 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Read chapter 17.

      2. Contesting the Paradigms of De-Stalinization: Readers' Responses to "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" on JSTOR

        Journal Background If time permits, read this article which examines the reception of One Day in the Life among ordinary Soviet citizens and considers what this tells us about the limitations of Khrushchev's project.

    3. Seminar 6: The Secret Speech 2 items
      1. Students should read an extract of Khrushchev's speech in close detail, and preferably bring an annotated copy to the seminar. Questions to consider:

        1. Why did Khrushchev make this speech?
        2. What are the nature of Khrushchev's criticisms?
        3. What are the implications of the speech for the future of the USSR? 

      2. Nikita Khrushchev: The cult of the individual 1 | From the Guardian | The Guardian

        Webpage Essential The Secret Speech is best read in its entirety, but in preparation for the seminar students should at least read Parts I and II from the Guardian web site.

  9. Week Eight 7 items
    1. Lecture 13: Workshop: Using Primary Sources 2 items
      1. This lecture will consider how primary sources are used in historical writing, particularly in providing evidence to support the construction of a robust and convincing argument. To prepare for it, students should do the following:

         

        1. Select two primary sources you plan to cite in your essay. The best collections of primary sources can be found in the HS2348 Extended Reading List (a Word document available on the 'Module Overview' page of Blackboard). Either bring your sources along to the lecture with you, or make detailed notes on them.

        2. Analyse your sources using these key questions: 

        • What type of source is it?
        • Who was the author and who was their intended audience?
        • When was it produced? Close to or a long time after the events described?
        • Where was it produced? Near or far from the events described?
        • Why was it written?
        • What were the motives of the author?
        • How do we know about the source?
        • How was it preserved?

        3. What insights do your two sources offer into your essay topic?

        4. How do your sources support the overall argument of your essay? Which one (or more) of your main points do they relate to? In other words, how will you use these two sources to provide evidence and examples in your essay?

         

        Be prepared to discuss your sources in the workshop.

      2. Russia's Sputnik Generation : Soviet Baby Boomers Talk about Their Lives - Raleigh, Donald J. 2006

        Book Essential Read chapter 2 (‘"Back then I really wanted to join the party”: Natalia Valentinovna Altukhova’).

    2. Lecture 14: The Soviet Union as Superpower: The Cold War 3 items
      1. Cold War - Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

        Webpage Essential Read the 'Cold War' essay on the website 'Seventeen Moments in Soviet History', on the year 1947. Read at least 2 sources from the section 'texts'. Also explore the 'photos' section

      2. Avalon Project

        Webpage Background Students may also wish to review the Avalon Project's excellent collection of primary sources on the Cuban Missile Crisis, to be found here.

    3. Seminar 7: Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich 2 items
      1. Questions to consider:

         

        • How would you describe life and relationships in Gulag camps?
        • What are the major themes in the novella? Identify 3 or 4 themes.
        • Why is this regarded a political novella?

         

        If you had time to read Dobson's article (which was background reading for the lecture), also consider: 

        • What do we learn about the process of de-Stalinisation from Dobson's article?

      2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

        Book Essential Students should by this stage in the module have read the novella in its entirety, and be ready to discuss it in class.

  10. Week Nine 7 items
    1. Lecture 15: The Brezhnev Era 2 items
      1. Communal Living in Russia

        Website Essential This fascinating online ethnographic museum explores the Soviet kommunalka (communal apartment). Take some time to explore an apartment or two and get a feel for life in these crowded quarters. Khrushchev embarked on enormous housing developments in an effort to alleviate pressure in these buildings, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that this made a difference to most city dwellers. The examples on the site are all from Leningrad.

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Read chapters 19-20.

    2. Lecture 16: Power and Privilege in the Late Soviet Era 3 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Please read chapters 21 and 22.

      2. Russian Society and the Orthodox Church - Knox, Zoe 2005

        Book Background Chapter 2 examines the aims and objectives of Soviet religious policy.

    3. Seminar 8: Stability or Stagnation? 2 items
        1. What does Raleigh's interview with Altukhova tell us about life in the Brezhnev era? How did it differ from the Khrushchev era?
        2. What insight does the second interview you selected offer into the Brezhnev era?
        3. What was meant by 'developed socialism'?
        4. Did Brezhnev preside over an era of stagnation or of stability? How do the accounts you read inform your thinking on this question?

      1. Russia's Sputnik Generation : Soviet Baby Boomers Talk about Their Lives - Raleigh, Donald J. 2006

        Book Essential Pick an interviewee from this fascinating primary source collection. You will already have read Altukhova's interview in preparation for the primary source workshop; select another one to read for the Week 9 seminar.

  11. Week Ten 6 items
    1. Lecture 17: Gorbachev’s Radical Reforms 2 items
      1. The geopolitics reader - Gearoid O'Tuathaigh, Simon Dalby, Paul Routledge 1998

        Book Essential pp. 97-98.

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Read chapters 23 and 24.

    2. Lecture 18: Online Tutorial on Revising and Proof Reading & Drop in Session 1 item
      1. This session is the third and final workshop to support writing and research for the essay. The full details of this workshop will be posted closer to the time. It will involve two elements to help with revising and proof reading the extended essay:

        1. an online tutorial, to be completed in students' own time; and

        2. a drop-in session where students can bring their questions about the assessment to the module convenor.

         

         

    3. Seminar 9: Glasnost’ and Perestroika 3 items
      1. Please consider the following questions:

        1. Why did Gorbachev seek to reform the Soviet system?
        2. What obstacles lay in Gorbachev's way?
        3. Do you find Kramer's argument convincing?
        4. Identify the single most decisive reason for the Soviet Union's demise (and be prepared to defend your position in the seminar!).

      2. Gorbachev Resignation / Collapse Soviet Union / December 25 – 1991 1/2/2011

        Audio-visual document Essential Watch this news bulletin for a sense of how Gorbachev's resignation was received in Britain.

  12. Week Eleven 8 items
    1. Lecture 19: Documentary: My Perestroika 3 items
      1. In this lecture, the documentary My Perestroika will be screened. As you watch it consider the following questions:

        1. Andrei shares a story about attempting to join the CPSU. Others talk about belonging to the Komsomol. What were their motivations for membership? What role did these institutions play in people's lives? How did they reinforce government power? Can you think of any parallel organisations in modern Britain?
        2. Olga doesn't regret the democratic changes in postsoviet Russia, but she also comments that it was a much simpler time when, 'Basically, everything was taken care of', meaning housing, employment, health care, pensions and so forth were guaranteed. She says it was less stressful even if the standard of living wasn't as high as it was in the West. What were the benefits and drawbacks of government-provided, guaranteed housing, employment, health care or pensions in the Soviet era?
        3. Lyuba says that along with glasnost came the realisation that 'they had taught us one thing- but the truth was completely different'. What do you think were the most significant changes brought by the glasnost years for those in the film?
        4. Many historians and political commentators (especially in the United States) credit Ronald Reagan and his anticommunist policies with toppling the Soviet Union. Do you think the people in the film would agree with that conclusion? Why or why not?

         

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2009

        Book Essential Please read chapters 24 and 25.

      3. The revenge of the past: nationalism, revolution, and the collapse of the Soviet Union - Ronald Grigor Suny 1993

        Book Background Students may also find this book useful.

    2. Lecture 20: 1991 and After: The Legacy of Soviet-style Communism 3 items
      1. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Read chapters 26-28.

      2. Chaos, violence, dynasty: politics and Islam in Central Asia - Eric Max McGlinchey 2011

        Book Background Chapter 2 of this book may offer students a refreshing alternative to the usual focus on Russia and Eastern Europe.

      3. Eastern Christianity and politics in the twenty-first century 2014

        Book Background Chapter 2 of this book considers the legacy of the Soviet past on church-state relations in the Putin era.

    3. Seminar 10: Continuities and Discontinuities in Soviet History 2 items
      1. The final seminar will provide the opportunity to review what we have learnt over the course of the semester and to consider the impact of the Soviet experience on Putin's Russia. We will consider the following questions in order to draw out the major themes of the module:

        1. Would V. I. Lenin have recognised the Soviet Union in (say) 1988 as the state the Bolsheviks set out to create?
        2. Could the 'Soviet experiment' have worked?
        3. Can you identify some of the legacies of the Soviet past in today's Russian Federation?

      2. The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century - Robert Service 2015

        Book Essential Students should have read the Service textbook in its entirety by the final seminar.

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