Fall 2011

Impact of War: A Case Study of Russia

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-300


Constantine V. Pleshakov (Section 01)


Sometimes the object of aggression, sometimes itself the aggressor, Russia has been party to all the major military conflicts of the 19thand 20thcenturies – Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War, World War I, and World War II. The Russian army also fought in numerous regional wars, notably in Afghanistan in 1979-1989 and recently in Chechnya and Georgia. We will study perceptions of war in modern Russian society. First, on the basis of primary sources (memoirs, interviews, speeches) we will address war-related nationalist stereotypes present in Russia today. Second, we will look at the origins of these myths; to do that we will study in depth the impacts of past wars, primarily World War II, Afghan War of 1979-1989, and the Chechnya War. What generated support for the government? How does the notion of "acceptable losses" change over time? How did wars of the past sixty years affect social structures and gender roles in Russia? What is the current Russian definition of “just wars”? The war in Chechnya occurred in post-Soviet, “capitalist” Russia with its new class divisions, rampant corruption and consumerism; did these changes cause society to perceive the war in a new way?  In the last section of the course we will discuss the “new” Russians’ willingness to support regional wars that the Kremlin will possibly choose to wage against other Soviet successor states and their likely attitude to another Cold War with the West.

Limited to 20 students. Fall semester.  Visiting Professor/Karl Loewenstein Fellow Pleshakov.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to senior and junior political science majors who require the course, then to majors by rank, then to non-majors


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011