East European Politics - PO618

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
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5 15 (7.5) MRS M Kutlay







The module examines the politics of transition and change in post-communist countries in their effort to establish new democratic regimes and find their place in the world. The module consists of three main parts.
Part I focuses on the experience and nature of communist rule, to develop basic understanding of communism as an ideal, political system, and a life style. Part II looks at transitions, examining regional patterns of change and relating them to the 3rd and 4th waves (coloured revolutions) of democratisation globally. Part III discusses the issues of post-communist politics in Europe, by way of exploring the forms and quality of democracy in the new states, considering the effect of EU enlargements on the new Member States and the EU neighbours; and discussing the future of communism in the world.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

22 hours lecture/seminar

Method of assessment

100% coursework (essay of 2,500 words 40%, essay of 3,500 words 60%)

Indicative reading

The Politics of Communism (Part I):
Swain,G. and Swain, N. Eastern Europe since 1945(Palgrave, Macmillan, 2009), 4th edition
Holmes, L. Post-communism: an Introduction (Oxford, Polity Press, 1997)
White, S. (ed.) Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems: an Introduction (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990), 3rd edition
White, S. Communism and its Collapse (Routledge 2001)

The Politics of Transition (Part II):
Berend, I. Central and Eastern Europe 1944-1993: Detour from the periphery to the periphery (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), reprint 2004
Bideleux, R. and Jeffries, I. A History of Eastern Europe: Crisis and Change (London, Routledge 2007), 2nd edition
Crampton, R. Eastern Europe in the 21st century – and after (London: Routledge, 1997), 2nd edition
East, R. and Pontin, J. Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe (Continuum International, 1997) 2nd edition
Rothschild, J. and Wingfield, N. Return to Diversity: A Political History of East Central Europe since World War II (Oxford: OUP, 2007), 4th edition
The Politics of Post-Communism (Part III):
Brown, A, The Demise of Marxism-Leninism in Russia (Palgrave, 2004)
Sakwa, R. Postcommunism (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1999)
Ramet, S. Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989 (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
- Identify principal features of communist rule (inclusive of main institutions and political processes).
- Understand the reasons for the fall of communist power in Eastern Europe.
- Describe, discuss and contrast patterns of change in the CEE/FSU using case-studies. Relate them to a broader paradigm of the 3rd wave of democratisation.
- Understand the main challenges of transitions for the CEE/FSU.
- Develop understanding of the nature of the newly emerged regimes, and relate them to a broader discussion of democracy, and the 4th wave transformations.
- Describe and discuss the challenges and consequences of the EU enlargements, and the emergence of the new EU neighbourhood.

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