Sergei Akopov

Professor, PhD Political science



LECTURE 1. Introduction to the course. The important facts & figures you have to know about Russia. Studying the map of Russia. Goal settings & educational objectives of our course. Russia and some myths of Russian History. The problem of East & West in Russian history. The most Famous Russian historians: N. Karamzin, S. Soloviev, V. Kluchevskii.

LECTURE 2. Where did Russia come from? How did Russia become Christian Orthodox? East Slavs in the 7 – 8 cc. The origin of the Rus state (862). The «Norman theory». Kiev princes & Kiev principality in 9 – 12 cc. (Oleg, Igor, Olga, Svyatoslav, Vladimir, Yaroslav the Wise, Vladimir Monomakh). The adoption of Christianity (988). The decline of Kiev & the origin of Vladimir – Suzdal, Galicia – Volhynia & Novgorod principalities; disparities between their political and social structures.

LECTURE 3. What impact on Russia had the Tartars Yoke? What is Alexander Nevskii famous for? St. Andrew (Andrei) Rublev.

LECTURE 4. How come did Moscow become the capital of Russia? Successful expansionist policies of Ivan III (1462 - 1505) & Vasily III (1505 - 1533). The subjugation to Moscow of Yaroslavl, Rostov, Tver, Chernigov, Novgorod, Pskov, Ryazan, Smolensk lands. The end of the Golden Horde & the Tatar Yoke (1480). Increasing personal power – Ivan’s Law Code (1497), the change in the system of land tenure (land as a military fief) & introduction of the system of civil & military appointments. The emergence of the Russian Orthodox Church as an autocephalous organization. «Moscow – the Third Rome» theory. Discussion: L. Gumiliov theory of «passionate people».

LECTURE 5. Who was Ivan «the Scarring» (Terrible) (1547-1584)? The regency of Crand Princess Helen (1533 – 1538). The «boyar rule» (1538 – 1547). First «Tsar of all Russia» (1547). The capture of Kazan & Astrakhan. Occupation of western Siberia (Yermak’s cossacks). The domestic reforms: Land Assembly (Zemsky Sobor) (1549), The new law code 1550. The introduction of the St. George Day. The Livonian War. The Oprichnina (1565 – 1572): it’s reasons and sequences for Russia.

LECTURE 6. What is the Time Of Troubles (1606 – 1613) and its result? Theodore I (1584 – 1598): a power vacuum. Boris Godunov (1598 – 1605). Suppressing boyars & binding peasants closer to their soil. Job, the first Russian patriarch (1589). The famines of 1601 – 1603. The end of the first Muscovite (Ryurikid) dynasty & the Time of Troubles (1606 - 1613). False Dmitry I. Vasily Shuysky’s rule in Moscow. The rebel army under Ivan Bolotnikov (1606). False Dmitry II as the spearhead of Catholic penetration into Russia. Russia, loosing its independence to Poland. Kuzma Minin & Dmirty Pozharsky. The new Russian tsar – Michael Romanov (1613).

LECTURE 7. The 17 c. – why Russian «crossway» ? The continued successful development of Moscovite Russia. Michael (1613 – 1645). Alexis (1645 – 1676). Theodore III (1676 – 1682). Ivan V (1682 – 1696). Eastern Ukraine – becomes a part of Russia (1654). The activity & the end of the democratic Land Assembly (Zemsky Sobor) institutions. The Boyar Duma and its political role. The law code 1649 & serfdom. The salt & copper revolts. The Cossack rebellion of Stenka Razin (1667 – 1671). The penetration to Siberia by Russian settlers. The church reform and Schism: Patriarch Nikon against the Old Believers.

LECTURE 8. Peter I: good, bad or Great? Peter the I – childhood and background. The Northern War (1700 – 1721). The creation of Russian army and fleet. The foundation of St.-Petersburg. The Battle of Poltava (1709). Victories on sea. Becoming an Emperor. The Jack of all trades. Peter’s economical & administration reforms. The Table of Ranks. Setting up Boards, Senate & Holy Sinod. The new calendar & alphabet. As a father: Alexis’s story.

LECTURE 9. The Age of Empresses or the age of favorites? The law of succession to the throne (1722) & the palace revolutions throughout the 18th c.. Catherine I. Peter II. Ann. Ivan VI. Elizabeth. Peter III. Catherine II. The age of favorites. Wars & Russian expansion towards the Black Sea (1787 – 1791). Russian colonization of Asia & expeditions to Alaska. The E.Pugachov rebel (1773-1775). The epoch of the Enlightened Monarchy. G. Potemkin as a favorite statesman of Catherine the II. The story of A. Radishev.

LECTURE 10. The principle of male primogeniture in succession to the throne from Paul I. Russian victories on sea under F. Ushakov & in Alps under A. Suvorov. Paul is becoming unpopular among the nobility. Coup dЎЇetat from 1801. Economical & industrial development of Russia in the beg. Of the 19th c.

LECTURE 11. The changes in social structure on the edge of the XIX c.: gentry, clergy, merchants, town-dwellers, peasantry. M. Speransky projects of reforms. The war with Napoleon (1805 – 1807) & (1812 – 1815). Internal administration of general Arakcheyev.

LECTURE 12. Why is the Decembrists uprising so important (1825)? What was the rule of Nicolas I about? Decembrists: who were they? The apogee of the autocracy? Codification of Russian laws 1832. «Orthodoxy, autocracy & patriotism» principle. The Third section of His Majesty’s Personal Chancellery. Nicolas I – «Gendarme in Europe». The Crimean War (1853 – 1856). Censorship & a strict systematic campaign of thought control. Russian intelligentsia. P. Chaadayev as a philosopher of Russian history.

LECTURE 13. The «19thc. thaw»: 1861 – emancipation of the serfs. Democratizing Russian society. The legal reforms of 1864 – the new jury. The new system of local government. The military reforms of 1874. The failed rural invasion of 1870’s. The People’s Will & the assassination of Alexander II. Westernizes & Slavophiles. Russia on the new «crossway».

LECTURE 14. Russia «on the Spilt Blood»: an outlook on the 20c. Alexander III: the reactionary rule & support of gentry. The introduction of the land captains (1889). Local government & educational anti-reforms. The national question. Russia’s cultural, economical, industrial & educational level in 1900’s, the urbanization process. Russia’s industrial revolution. Russian music, literature, theatre, art & science. The Russian revolutionary groups? anarchists & the philosophy of nihilism.

LECTURE 15. What had caused first 2 Russian revolutions? The first Marxist party (1898). The Russo - Japanese war (1904 - 1905). The “Bloody Sunday” & the First Russian revolution (1905). The formation of an elective body: the State Duma as a «parliament in embryo». The agrarian reform of Peter Stolypin. World War I. Gregory Rasputin. The February Democratic revolution 1917. Tsar abdicates from the throne.

LECTURE 16. Why Lenin? The arrival of Lenin to Petrograd. The struggle for power between The Provisional Government & The Soviets. The political figures inside two dual power governmental bodies. A. Kerensky. L. Kornilov’s failure in August 1917. October 25th 1917 – the new regime and new upcoming epoch. First Decrees of Bolshevik Government.

LECTURE 17. Why did the Whites lost the Civil war? The Constituent Assembly (31 January 1918). Moscow becomes the capital of RSFSR. L. Trotskii and The Red Army: building up the force. The peace treaty of Brest - Litovsk (3 March 1918). The struggle with the Left Socialists, the establishment of the one - party control in the Soviets. The murder of the Tsar (17 July 1918). The massive reprisals in Petrograd, The Red & White Terror. The Civil War of 1918 – 1921 and the famine of 1922. The Military Communism as an economical model.

LECTURE 18. What was NEP? What were the costs of the collectivization & industrialization? The New Economic Policy (NEP) (1921 - 1928): the tactical retreat. The first phrase of militant Stalinism: the liquidation of «the kulaks» as a class. An undeclared war between the peasantry & Stalin. The First Five Year Plan completed before time & the second great Soviet famine (1932). The industrialization. The White Sea canal. The dictator’s cult. The early trials (1928). Reading Zoshenko, Ilf & Petrov – satirizing the Soviet society.

LECTURE 19. How, when and why did Stalin become a full dictator? The creation of the USSR (1923). V. Mayakovsky. «The new culture for the new man», the «the big style». Lenin’s death (1924). Stalin’s vs. Trotsky; Stalin vs. Zinovyev & Kamenev. The arch – bureaucrat. The murder of Sergey Kirov (1934). The three great Moscow trials of 1936 – 1938. A savage campaign of terror against the armed forces (1937 – 1939).

LECTURE 20. What was the WWII for USSR and Leningrad (June 22 1941 – May 9) 1945? The Soviet – German Pact of 23 August 1939. The Soviet – Finnish Winter War (1939). June 1941: The Blitzkrieg. The Defense of Kiev, Odessa, Leningrad. George Zhukov as the head of the West front (October 1941). The Battle of Moscow. Hard winter & spring 1941 – 1942. Teheran 1943, the alliance with the USA & Britain. The battle of Stalingrad. The battle of Kursk. The guerilla war. The roads of Europe. The battle of Berlin. The War with Japan. Yalta & Potsdam conferences. The nuclear threats. Science & culture, state & church during the wartime.

LECTURE 21. What do we mean by «The Khrushov Thaw»? The soviet society after the war. The Iron Curtain & the Cold War. Yugoslavia breaking free from Moscow (1948). The creation of NATO (1949). The Korean War (1950 – 1953). The Kremlin doctors trial. The death of the dictator (6 March 1953). Khrushov, Malenkov, Beria – the struggle for power. The Warsaw Pact (1955). The 20th Party Congress: the Secret Speech & «rehabilitations». Khrushov, helped by Zhukov wins against Stalinist hard-liners. Khrushov’s internal & international policy, foreign relations. The Caribbean crisis (1962).

LECTURE 22. What are «the years of Stagnation»? The heyday of «nomenclature», a special caste of privileged officials. The rapid motion of arms. The trials on writers & further repressions. The Helsinki Agreement (1975) & dissidents movement, Andrey Sakharov. Brezhnev Doctrine: Czechoslovakia, August 1968; Afghanistan (1979 - 1989). Y. Andropov & K. Chernenko.

LECTURE 23. How can one translate «Perestroika»? What was it about? The «Glasnost» and the «Perestroyka». The Chernobyl Failure (1986). The crisis in society & old values. B. Yeltsin becomes the president of RSFSR (1991). August Putsch 1991. The decrease in the standard of living. The collapse of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe. Breaching the Berlin wall (1989). The end of the USSR. The end of the Cold War. The creation of CIS (1992). Privatization in Russia & the period of economical crisis. The new constitution of Russia (1993). President vs parliament (1993). B. Yeltsin in effort to overcome the crisis.

LECTURE 24. Where is Russia heading to?

Texts for home reading & reports:

On the pre – Soviet period (wholly or substantially)
1. Richard Pipes, Russia under the Old Regime (London & New York, 1974)
2. Robert K. Massie, The Romanovs: the final chapter (N.Y., 1995)
3. Nicolas V. Riasanovsky, The Russian Empire, 1801 – 1917 (Oxford, 1967)
4. Ronald Hingley, Russia: a concise history (London, 1991)
5. Mark D. Steinberg & Vladimir M. Chrustalev, The fail of the Romanovs… (London, 1995)
6. St.-Petersburg: A cultural History, by Solomon Volkov (N.Y., 1995)
7. Sunlight at Midnight, by W. Bruce Lincoln ( N.Y. 2000)

On the Soviet & post – Soviet period (wholly or substantially)
1. Ed. by Allen C. Lynch & Kenneth W. Thompson, Soviet & Post – Soviet Russia in a world of change (Univ. of Virginia, 1994).
2. Ed. by James R. Millar, Politics, work & daily life in the USSR (Cambridge, 1987)
3. Minxim Pei, From reform to revolution: the dismiss of communism in China & the Soviet Union (Cambridge, 1994)
4. Victoria E. Bonnell, Identities in transition: Eastern Europe & Russia after the collapse of communism (Berkeley, 1996)
5. Ed. by Vladimir N. Brovkin, The Bolsheviks in Russian society: The revolution & civil wars (London, 1997)
6. Ed. by Harold Shukman, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Russian Revolution (Oxford, 1988)
7. Leonard Schapiro, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union: Political Opposition in the Soviet State, 1917 – 1922 (London, 1970)
8. Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in power: The revolution from above, 1928 – 1941 (N.Y., London, 1990)
9. The great terror: A Reassessment, by Robert Conquest (N.Y. and Oxford, 1990)
10. Ed. by Susan J. Linz, The impact of World War II on the Soviet Union (N. J., 1985)
11. Ronald Hingley, Russian writers in the Soviet Society, 1917 – 1978 (London, 1979)
12. Alexander Yanov, The drama of the Soviet 1960’s: a lost reform (Berkeley, 1984)
13. Ed. by Hans – Joachim Veen, From Breznev to Gorbachev… (Leamington, 1984)
14. David Lane, Soviet Society under Perestroika (Boston, 1990)
15. Ed. by Alex. Shtromas & Morton A. Kaplan, The Soviet Union & the challenge of the future (N.Y., 1988)
16. The 900 Days: the Siege of Leningrad? By Harrison E. Salisbury (N.Y. 1970)

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