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Ukrainian Politics and International Relations


Admission requirements

Open to all students from the MA programme Russian and Eurasian Studies. Students from other MA programmes require a Russian or Ukrainian language reading level of B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.


On this course we examine the major developments that have shaped modern Ukraine. First, we will focus on Ukrainian politics and society since independence after the collapse of the USSR. We will analyse continuity and change in institutional arrangements and state-society relations, including elections and revolutions. Second we will focus on Ukraine’s foreign and security policies. We will discuss competing ideas about Ukraine’s place in the world as well as actual relations with countries in different regions, including Russia’s invasion. The course provides an empirical and theoretical examination of contemporary Ukraine at the domestic and international levels. This course seeks to avoid a reductive Russia-West discourse that ignores the importance of domestic realities and Ukraine’s own agency.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of the key concepts and frameworks essential for the study of the politics and international relations of Ukraine; evaluate specific issues relevant to recent events in a comparative context; and demonstrate their analytical and critical thinking skills through written assignments and oral presentations for a non-academic as well as an academic audience.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar. Attendance is mandatory. Absences without good reasons can result in exclusion from the course.

Assessment method


  • Preparation and participation online and in class (active participation)

  • One podcast recording for a general audience (oral presentation)

  • One briefing paper for a professional audience (written assignment)

  • One academic research paper (written assignment)


  • Preparation and participation (15%)

  • One podcast recording (20%)

  • One briefing paper (20%)

  • One academic research paper (45%)

Late submission of assignments without prior agreement for extenuating circumstances will be penalised.
In order to pass the course, students must have completed all assessment components to obtain a weighted average of 5.50 (=6) or higher.


Only the final research paper can be retaken. In case of a mark of 5.49 or lower students can resubmit a research paper in consultation with the lecturer. Research papers submitted more than a week late without an extension agreed in advance will be considered a resubmission.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Journal articles, book chapters and appropriate online material will be made available through Brightspace by the start of the course.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats


Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).