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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Glennys J. Young
HSTEU 445
Seattle Campus

The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union

Russia and the USSR from Nicholas II to the present. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 445.

Class description

In 1917, the world's first experiment in creating a socialist society was launched in Russia. Seventy-four years later, in 1991, Soviet Communism collapsed. Although relatively short-lived, the Soviet experiment was the great utopian project of the twentieth century. Its significance, therefore, transcended Soviet borders. Its meaning was debated around the globe. For some, it was humankind's ultimate hope; for others, its "totalitarian terror" was among humanity's darkest nightmares. Now that the history of the Soviet Union is behind us, and we have access to more sources that once were secret, we can assess as never before the meaning of the Soviet socialist project. Indeed, we need to do so, for the challenges that the Soviet socialist project entailed, whether creating the just society, overcoming economic backwardness, or using politics to transform society and culture, are some of the challenges (and dilemmas) that face the world today.

Student learning goals

Equipping students with a basic knowledge of the history of twentieth-century Russia.

Helping students improve their ability to analyze primary sources used in the study of the past.

Helping students improve their ability to synthesize a large body of information.

Improving analytical skills.

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion. We will discuss readings and films.

Recommended preparation

Most important is a desire to learn and an interest in the subject matter. No background in Russian history will be assumed.

Class assignments and grading

Class assignments and grading will be outlined in the course syllabus.

Grades will be assigned on the basis of written work. Depending on the size of the class, class participation may be taken into consideration.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Glennys J. Young
Date: 04/16/2009