Introduction to International Relations: Russian Foreign Policy
instructed by Mark Mazureanu
Tuesday 3:30 - 5:00 pm in B6, Building A, room A 203
Start date: 08-09-2015; Finish date 08-12-2015

This course explores the vital international relations of Russia and other post-Soviet states. By starting with a historical survey, we will examine how geopolitical, economic, cultural, and other factors have played out in determining the origins and shaping the nature of the Russian empire. This is followed by a study of the Soviet era, i.e. the rise, conduct, and end of the Cold War (also the collapse of USSR) where power, ideology, institutions, and leadership will be comprehensively analyzed.

The remainder of the course is concerned with the analysis of post-Soviet foreign policy, critical junctures in particular regions (the Baltic states, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus-Caspian) as well as salient issues in trade, terrorism, nuclear security, peacekeeping, NATO expansion and missile defense. Though the “what, where and when” of post-Soviet foreign policy may predominate at times, understanding the “why” is our underlying goal.
That is, while knowledge of specific foreign policy developments is essential, so is viewing these developments in the context of international relations theory - economic vs. ideological analyses, foreign or domestic influences, the roles of individuals and institutions, the impact of nationalism and the politics of identity, etc.

Learning objectives:

At the end of the semester, course participants will be able to:

- Understand the historical formation of modern Russian foreign policy;
- Understand the politics of the Cold War era and the role of the USSR;
- Understand the complexities involved in ending the Cold War period;
- Explain the end of the USSR and the emergence of independent Eastern European states;
- Recognize the role of Russia and the former Soviet states in regional and global politics.