The Russian Military, Past and Present

Course #NS3450

Est.imated Completion Time: 3 months


This course examines Russia’s military from the past to the present. It is organized chronologically and is divided into three parts. The introductory section begins with Muscovy and the foundations of Russia’s military to the First World War. The second section explores the rise of the Soviet military-industrial complex and the emergence and decline of the Soviet Union as a military superpower. The final section considers the current state of the Russian military. This course weaves politics, history, and foreign policy into one historical and analytical narrative by focusing on interpretations of Russia’s past wars and analysis of the Russian military today. Throughout the course we will explore such questions as: What has been the role of war in the creation of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation? What ideas have motivated people to fight? What is the relationship between technological innovation and war? And how do we write about war and the military?

Learning Outcomes

Students will work towards mastering two main learning objectives:

·      The first is to develop subject matter expertise on the state of Russia’s military both past and present. In this class, you will study the composition of Russia’s armed forces, its evolution, military strategy across time and space, as well as the relationship between the armed services, the government, and the population. You will also develop a command of the current posture and capabilities of the Russian armed forces, which requires you to have a knowledge of Russian military history in the 19th and 20th centuries as well as an ability to analyze current developments.

·      The second learning objective is to develop your skills in both oral and written communication. This class is writing focused. Throughout the quarter you will be working towards producing a publishable piece of original analysis on the militaries of Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia. Writing is an iterative process and during the quarter you will have ample time to refine your research question, argument, and approach as well as to develop your skills as an editor. The objective is for you to conclude the class with a piece that you could submit for publication. 

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Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

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