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eeHISTORY 322 Spring 2014 Dr.


Harris 2120 TR 9:30-10:45

COURSE PURPOSE: Winston Churchill once characterized Russia as a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. No country can boast a more interesting or mourn a more tragic history. Just in the last quarter century Russia seemingly has escaped from Communism and toyed with democracy and capitalism only to risk a return to authoritarian rule. This semester we will attempt to unravel, unwrap, and understand Russia through the history of the last century and a half (since 1855). Although the Soviet Union exists no longer and no one views Russia as the other superpower, what happens in Russia is still necessarily of vital interest to the entire world. We will examine events, institutions and personalities as we also sift out ideas, policies and values. We will do this through reading, lectures, discussion, and writing. By the end of the semester you should be able to trace significant themes through recent Russian and Soviet history and be able to speak knowledgeably about that history. REQUIREMENTS: READING: You are asked to read the following books, are available at the VCU Bookstore. Read assignments before the class when their content will be the topic of discussion. I will assume that you have done so and will conduct class accordingly. Ludmilla Alexeyeva and Paul Goldberg, The Thaw Generation: Coming of Age in the Post-Stalin Era; Jeffrey Brooks, When Russia Learned to Read; Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Four Plays; Catherine Evtuhov, [David Goldfrank, Lindsey Hughes,] and Richard Stites, A History of Russia: Peoples. Legends, Events, Forces (TEXT); (Those of you who do not plan to take HIST 321 may want to purchase the shorter version of the textbook that starts its coverage with the year 1800.) Christopher J. Ward: Brezhnevs Folly: The Building of BAM and Late Soviet Socialism.

ATTENDANCE: You are held responsible for all lecture and discussion material or course changes missed as a result of absence for any reason. We cover a lot of material in each class session. Miss at your own risk! WRITTEN PAPERS: Everyone will write three short papers (minimum 1000 words). You have considerable latitude to develop the papers as you wish. The first paper, due at the beginning of class February 6, will discuss the issue of social mobility in late 19th-century/turn of 20th-century Russia based on Jeffrey Brooks book on Russian literacy and Anton Chekhovs plays. The second paper, due at the beginning of class April 1, will evaluate the role of Josef Stalin in Soviet/Russian history. The third paper, due at the beginning of class April 22, will discuss reasons for the end of Soviet power. Look in Blackboard under Assignments for more guidance on the papers. TESTS: There will be two mid-term tests and a final examination. The tests will not be cumulative, but part of the final exam will ask you to draw from the experience of the entire course. Format for tests and

2 exam is identification and essay. You should bring a bluebook for each test and the final exam. Tests are scheduled for: February 13 and March 27. The final examination is set for Thursday, May 1, 1:00-3:50 p.m. OTHER INFORMATION: E-MAIL and the net: I will be posting information about the course on Blackboard. You are responsible for forwarding your email to any other address besides your VCU email address. You can set up the mechanism to forward your mail online from the VCU web page. I will also use Blackboard to inform you about web sites dealing with Russian and Soviet history. I welcome your email questions and comments. My address is VCU POLICIES: University policies on academic integrity and plagiarism (honor system), student conduct in the classroom, students with disabilities, military short-term training or deployment, and other matters can be found at the website You are expected to be familiar with and follow all university policies found at that site. I recommend you read them carefully. CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR: PHONES AND OTHER DEVICES MUST BE TURNED TO SILENT OR (PREFERABLY) OFF. IT IS RUDE TO WALK INTO CLASS LATE OR TO WALK OUT UNANNOUNCED DURING CLASS. DO NOT LEAVE THE CLASSROOM DURING CLASS UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY; IN GENERAL YOU SHOULD NOTIFY ME BEFOREHAND OF ITS NECESSITY. IT IS ALSO RUDE TO EAT AND DRINK DURING CLASS. THIS IS NOT BRUNCH; EAT BEFORE CLASS OR AFTER CLASS. SURELY YOU CAN LAST 75 MINUTES WITHOUT TAKING A SIP OF ANYTHING. CLASS IS OVER WHEN I SAY IT IS; DO NOT PACK YOUR STUFF EARLY. LEAVE YOUR SWORDS, DAGGERS, AND FIREARMS AT HOME. ANYONE TAKING NOTES IN CLASS BY LAPTOP OR OTHER DEVICE MUST SIT IN THE FRONT ROW. OTHERWISE LAPTOPS AND OTHER DEVICES ARE NOT TO BE USED. CONSIDER THIS CLASS A STEP BACK INTO A TRADITIONAL UNIVERSITY SETTING. OFFICE: 813 Cathedral Place South, room 301. Regular office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00-noon, Wednesdays from 10 a.m to noon and 2:00 to 3:30, and Thursdays from 3:30-5:00. I am also in the office at other times. Make an appointment for times outside regular office hours (phone 828-2211; leave a message and I will return your call). Please feel free to come by to discuss the papers, or if you have any difficulties at all in the course, or if you simply want to talk about Russia and Russian/Soviet history. GRADE: Your course grade will be calculated as follows: Tests @ 20% Written Papers @ 10% Final Examination

40% 30% 30% 100% Yes, spelling counts. To learn how to spell any Russian word or name, be sure you write it correctly the first time and then copy it as many times as necessary until you get it right. Youll be surprised as how quickly you can master Russian terms and names. Grading scale: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69. F = <60.

3 COURSE SCHEDULE: [Note: TEXT readings in italics are for the post-1800 edition] WEEK 1 (1/14, 16) READ TEXT, chapters 19 and 20 for background and 21 for material [4-5, 6]. TOPICS: Introduction and historical background; the early reign of Alexander II. What was the basis of the Russian Empires power and influence? How did various groups within Russian society view serfdom? How did their solutions to its problems vary? What was the nature of the Great Reforms? How did Russia manage to get the capital to begin its industrialization? What was life like for Russias peasants and city workers? What were the distinguishing characteristics of Russian higher culture at this time? WEEK 2 (1/21, 23) READ TEXT, chapter 22 [7]; Brooks, intro. and chapters 1-2. TOPIC: End of reign of Alexander II What caused some people to stop seeing Alexander II as a reformer but instead as reactionary? What effect did the Turkish war and its aftermath have on Russias role internationally? What were the characteristics of nationalism in late 19th-century Russia? Why did Russian peasants begin to value reading? What kinds of schools existed for them? WEEK 3 (1/28, 30) READ TEXT, chapters 23-25 [8-10]; Brooks, chapters 3-5; Chekhov, Sea Gull and Uncle Vanya. TOPICS: Alexander III; Russian culture What form(s) did political reaction take under Alexander III? What was the relationship between political reaction and economic development? How would you distinguish the Golden and Silver Ages of Russian literature? What sorts of things did peasants read? What was the nature of the change in their reading tastes? How can we account for why tastes changed? WEEK 4 (2/4, 6) READ TEXT, chapters 26-28 [9-13]; Brooks, chapters 6-8; Chekhov, Three Sisters and Cherry Orchard. Paper #1 due at class time on February 6. TOPICS: Nicholas II. How well were the institutions and mechanisms set up by the Great Reforms operating toward the end of the century? To what extent was Russia industrializing, and in which industries? How did diplomatic events in these years impact on domestic policies, and vice versa? What were the effects of governmental repression on opposition movements? Why did the government persistently refuse to reform itself more in line with what was happening in other European states? How did the Silver Age of Russian fine arts express itself? What are the values of the characters in Chekhovs plays? How does Chekhov depict social change in his plays? WEEK 5 (2/11, 13) READ TEXT, chapter 29 [14]; TEST DURING CLASS ON FEBRUARY 13. This weeks reading will be included on the test. TOPIC: The Tottering of the Romanov Dynasty. Why was there a revolution in 1905? Why did it fail? How successful was the experiment in constitutional government? What were its drawbacks? How many political groupings (parties) were there in Russia? Why so many socialist groups? How do you account for the differences among them? What was the nature of the revolution in the arts that took place in Russia during this period?

4 To what extent did the Great War pave the way for revolution or, alternatively, possibly delay it? What social changes were engendered in Russia by the World War? WEEK 6 (2/18, 29) READ: TEXT, chapter 30 [15]. TOPIC: Revolutions. Why couldnt the Provisional Government manage to hold onto the situation? What factors swung support to the Bolsheviks before October? Which was more revolutionary, the February/March overturn or the one in October? What were the key events (and why) marking the transitions of 1917 politically? How clearly did the Bolshevik leaders envision policy during the first months in power? How does one account for the Bolshevik victory in the Civil War? Were they popular? WEEK 7 (2/25, 27) READ: TEXT, chapters 31-33 [16-18. TOPICS: Establishing Bolshevik power in war and peace (Civil War; NEP; Stalin Revolution). Why did the Bolsheviks institute the New Economic Policy? Why was it important for the Bolsheviks to industrialize as soon and as rapidly as possible? What were their options? By what processes and actions did Stalin manage to isolate and defeat the potential opposition for the leadership one at a time? What was the goal of collectivization? What was evidently not the goal? What was unique about the five-year-plan method of running an economy? What were its strengths? What were the weaknesses? WEEK 8 (3/4, 6) READ: TEXT, chapters 33-35 [18-20]; Alexeyeva, pp. 3-17 TOPICS: Stalinism. How did Stalin and his henchmen manage to put the country through the purges without being severely contested? What themes dominated popular culture during the times of such momentous political, economic, and social changes? March 11 and 13 - Spring Break. HAVE A GOOD TIME BUT BE CAREFUL. Week 9 (3/18, 20) READ: TEXT, chapters 34-36 [19-21]; Alexeyeva, pp. 17-28. TOPIC: Great Patriotic War. What was the nature of the Soviet Unions relationship with the rest of the world in the 1920s and 1930s? How did it change over time? What was unique about Russias relationship with Germany? How did it become imperiled? What possible avenues for delaying or preventing war did the USSR have in the late 1930s? Should the USSR have anticipated Hitlers attack? What are we to make of reports that some Soviet citizens welcomed the Nazis as liberators? What features characterized the war in the east? Where were its turning points? How does one arrive at an estimate of the wars cost? In what ways was meaning given to the war and its effects? Week 10 (3/25, 27) READ: TEXT, chapter 37 [22]; Alexeyeva, pp. 29-70; preface. TEST DURING CLASS ON MARCH 27. This weeks reading will be included on the test. TOPICS: Stalin's Last Years To what extent did the post-war regime learn from the mistakes of its excesses pre-war? How can we account for such events as the Leningrad Affair and the labor camp sentences of former POWs?

5 What evidence is there that Stalin was planning another purge in the early 1950s? By what processes did the USSR ensure it had compliant neighbors immediately to its west? Week 11 (4/1, 3). READ: TEXT, chapter 38 [23]; Alexeyeva, pp. 79-115. Paper # 2 due at start of class April 1. TOPIC: The Khrushchev Decade. What was the Thaw? What is meant by the term the Khrushchev generation? In what ways did Khrushchevs rule mark a return to normalcy? How did the USSR come to understand the term coexistence? Week 12 (4/8, 10) READ: TEXT, chapters 39-40 [24-25]; Alexeyeva, pp. 116-312; Ward, all. TOPICS: The Era of Stagnation: Brezhnev. What factors contributed to the stagnating of the Soviet economy? What were the roots of the so-called dissident movement? What was Detente, and what impact did it have on life within the USSR? In what ways (many can be identified) was BAM symptomatic of late Soviet socialism? What indications were there that the nationalities issue might become a serious problem? Week 13 (4/15, 17) READ: TEXT, chapter 41 [26]; Ellman and Kontorovich, all. TOPIC: The 1980s: interregna, Glasnost, Perestroika. What if Yuri Andropov had lived longer? What were Glasnost and Perestroika? Why didnt Gorbachevs ideas of reform work? What factors were most responsible for the final collapse of the Soviet Union? Week 14 (4/22, 24) READ: TEXT, chapters 42[27]; Alexeyeva, pp. 313-317. TOPIC: The Tumultuous 1990s Paper #3 due at class time April 22. How might the political crises of 1991 and 1993 be compared? How does one move from socialism to a free-market economy? What did the end of the USSR mean for Russias role in the world? What might have been done differently to ease the transition? Week 15 (4/29) READ: TEXT, chapter 43 [28]. TOPIC: From Chaos to Order: The Putin-Medvedev-Putin Years. What were Putins positive contributions? Was there an alternative to managed democracy? To what extent are Russias natural resources (especially oil and gas) a blessing and to what extent a curse? F I N A L E X A M I N A T I O N on Thursday, May 1, 1:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.