Russian Foreign Policy CEES4079

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines theoretical and practical issues surrounding Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet era.


One 2 hour class per week

This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the CEES Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

General Honours entry requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements

Grade C3 in Central and East European Studies or cognate social science or humanities Level 2

Excluded Courses





Policy Report and Presentation

Students will each be required to compose a four-page policy document highlighting the main policy issues in the international relations between Russia and a country chosen from a list provided. Students will be expected not only to provide concise overviews of the situation, but also to provide policy advice for the regulation of conflicts. These reports will be presented to the class and the student will have the opportunity to respond to questions. The final mark for this component of the course is weighted at 40% which is based on the quality of the written report (75%) and on the quality of the oral presentation (25%).



The students will be required to write a 2,500-3,000 word essay. A list of five essay questions will be distributed to students at the beginning of the course. The final mark for this component is weighted at 60%. The essay will be graded on the student's application of relevant IR theory to the Russian case. Outstanding essays will demonstrate sound factual knowledge of a particular question, but will also be able to provide their own analysis.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course examines post-Soviet Russian foreign policy from numerous theoretical and practical perspectives. Attention will be paid not only to Russia's relations with the countries of the former Soviet Union, but also to the wider world. Changes in the form and content of foreign policy will be tracked from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present. In order to understand contemporary Russian foreign policy we will consider historical, geographical, domestic, and external factors. Ultimately we will ask if it is possible to make sense of Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet era, and to what extent Russia poses a security or ideational threat to other countries.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


Apply theories of international relations to the study of Russian foreign policy

Identify the main aims of Russian foreign policy in the post-soviet era

Assess, and seek explanations for, the successes and failures of Russian foreign policy

Obtain a wide knowledge of the most salient issues which determine Russia's international relations with a number of states

Produce and present concise policy reports on Russia's relations with specific countries

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.