East European Politics - POLI6180

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


The module examines the politics of transition and change in the post-communist states 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.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Essay 1, 2500 words, 40%
Essay 2, 3500 words, 60%

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Brown, A, (2004). The Demise of Marxism-Leninism in Russia. Palgrave
Dimitrov, M. (2013). Why communism did not collapse: understanding authoritarian regime resilience in Asia and Europe. New York: Cambridge University
Dutkiewicz, P. and R. Sakwa (2014). Eurasian Integration: a view from within. Routledge
Holmes, L. (1997). Post-communism: an Introduction. Oxford: Polity Press
Kenez, P. (2017). A history of the Soviet Union: From the beginning to the end. Third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Sakwa, R. (1999). Postcommunism. Buckingham: Open University Press
White, S. (ed.) (1990). Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems: an Introduction. Basingstoke: Macmillan. 3rd edition
White, S. (2001) Communism and its Collapse. London: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1: Identify principal features of communist rule (inclusive of main institutions and political processes)

2: Understand the reasons for the fall of communist power in Eastern Europe

3: Describe, discuss and contrast patterns of change in the CEE/FSU using case-studies, and relate them to a broader paradigm of the 3rd wave of democratisation

4: Understand the main challenges of transitions for the CEE/FSU

5: Develop understanding of the nature of the newly emerged regimes, and relate them to a broader discussion of democracy, and the 4th wave transformations.

6: Describe and discuss the challenges and consequences of the EU enlargements, and the emergence of the new EU neighbourhood.

7: Identify challenges for building a wider Europe, and discuss future prospects for communism


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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