Russia: A Political Survey Russia: A Political Survey from Gorbachev to Putin

Russia: A Political Survey from Gorbachev to Putin


Professor Anne O’Donnell, Moderator

This Seminar will explore Russia’s recent history, from the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev to the enduring power of Vladimir Putin. Why did Gorbachev decide to “reform” the Soviet system, and why did reform lead to collapse? After decades locked in Cold War with the United States, why did collapse, in the end, come about so peacefully? How was Russia ruled in the 1990s under Boris Yeltsin? What was Russia in the process of becoming – a democracy? dictatorship? – and what was the experience of ordinary people through this tumultuous transition? Why has Russia ended up, in 2017, once again in the hands of a lone powerful ruler? Video will be used.

Session 1 Gorbachev Comes to Power, The Quest for Socialist Reform (Perestroika), The Late Soviet Union
Session 2 The Soviet Collapse, Yeltsin’s rise, and “the End of History”
Session 3 The Yeltsin Era, Gangster Capitalism, the Devaluation Crisis (1998)
Session 4 Putin’s Accession (2000), a Democratic Path? Khodorkovsky, Kleptocracy, and the ‘Siloviki’
Session 5 Putin-Medvedev, the Roots of Nationalist Resurgence
Session 6 Putin in the Present
Anne O’Donnell

ANNE O’DONNELL — Assistant Professor of History and Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University. She comes to NYU from Harvard University, where she was a Prize Fellow at the University’s Center for History and Economics. Professor O’Donnell received her A.B. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. Her writing has been published in academic journals as well as The New York Times and The New Republic. She is currently preparing a book manuscript dealing with the history of the Russian Revolution for publication.