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Russian Politics


Admission requirements

This is an intensive course, covering 10 EC of material in six weeks of classes from February to March. It is most suitable for students who have already completed the ‘Inleiding Russische politiek en economie’ course and will be studying abroad in St. Petersburg from April. All other students should be aware of the intensive workload for this course, and consider how it might fit in with their studies.


This course deepens students’ understanding of developments in contemporary Russian politics. It moves beyond how the political system is structured to analyse how the system works in practice. By the end of the course students will be familiar with ideas such as informal power networks, electoral authoritarianism, contentious politics and centre-region relations in the Russian context. Students will develop a detailed knowledge of the specifics of the Russian polity within the diversity of the post-Soviet political experience.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will, through class discussion and written assignments, be able to:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of contemporary Russian government, political society and sub-national politics, as well as assess their development under Vladimir Putin;

  • Interpret the broader meanings of these developments and apply appropriate concepts and theoretical paradigms;

  • Critically appraise current developments in the contemporary politics of Russia, in particular the 2018 presidential election.


See Rooster

Method of instruction

  • Seminar.

Course load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Classes: 24 hours

  • Exam: 2 hours

  • Compulsory readings and seminar preparation: 100 hours

  • Independent research and written assignments: 154 hours

This is an an intensive course with four hours of contact time in class per week, and with the entire course being completed in February and March.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

  • Two written assignments (50% in total)

  • Final written examination (50%)

In order to pass the course, students must have completed all assessment components to obtain a weighted average of 5.50 (=6) or higher.


Late submission of assignments without prior agreement for extenuating circumstances will be penalised.

Only the final written exam can be retaken.

Exam review

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


Blackboard will be used for:

  • communicating with students

  • sharing study materials

  • submitting assignments

  • providing feedback and grades


Journal articles, book chapters and appropriate online material will be made available through Blackboard


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher: Dr. M. Frear

Coordinator of Studies: mw. drs. T. Bouma

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats


Academic Integrity

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).