Russia in International Affairs - PO8103

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 7 20 (10) DR T Casier checkmark-circle


This module seeks to offer profound insights into the role of post-communist Russia in international affairs. It focuses both on the regional and global dimension. The module seeks to transcend easy stereotypes and opts for a pluralist theoretical approach. Identities and perceptions are regarded as key to understanding Russia's contemporary foreign policy. Actors, decision-making and objectives of foreign policy are approached against a historical background and linked to domestic developments.
Russia's foreign policy is studied at three levels: bilateral (with the EU, the US, post-Soviet countries, PR China, Middle East), regional (Eurasian integration initiatives) and multilateral (Russia's position within international organisations such as the United Nations, the OSCE, WTO, etc.). Different dimensions get specific attention: security, trade, energy, integration. Case studies will focus on topic theme (at the time of writing: Ukraine, Syria, sanctions, etc.)
Indicative overview:
1. Russia and the West: identities and perceptions
2. From Cold War to contested post-Cold War structures
3. Foreign policy and security doctrines: (neo-)revisionist Russia?
4. Key actors in Russian foreign policy and the domestic dimension
5. EU-Russia relations
6. Eurasian integration processes
7. The Ukraine crisis
8. Russia and the BRICS
9. Russia and the Middle East
10. Russia and international organisations
11. Energy relations
12. Russia's power and strategy revisited


This module appears in the following module collections.


Autumn Term

Method of assessment

Students write one research-based essay of approximately 5000 words studying one topic in depth.

Indicative reading

Tsygankov A. (2016), Russia's foreign policy: change and continuity in national identity (Rowmann & Littlefield)
Cadier D. & M. Light (2015), Russia's foreign policy: ideas, domestic politics and external relations (Palgrave)
Sakwa R. (2014), Frontline Ukraine. Crisis in the borderlands (I.B. Tauris).
Morozov, V. (2015), Russia's post-colonial identity (Palgrave)
Dragneva R. & Wolczuk K. (2013), Eurasian economic integration: law, policy and politics (Edward Elgar)
Haukkala, H. (2011), The EU-Russia Strategic Partnership: The Limits of Post-Sovereignty in International Relations (Palgrave)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.

On successful completion students will
- have an advanced understanding of the position of Russia, its foreign policy and its relations within wider Europe and within the world
- have an advanced understanding of Russian foreign policy and security doctrines, of the main actors and objectives in foreign policy-making
- be able to critically analyse the foreign policy and external relations of Russia, both regionally and globally and in different dimensions (political, economic, security, identity)
- have a profound understanding of the post-Cold War international structures of governance and their impact on the international and European agenda
- be able to place the role of Russian foreign policy in its historical context
- be able to have an advanced understanding diverging theoretical interpretations of Russian foreign policy

The intended generic learning outcomes.

Students who successfully complete this module
- will be able to work with theoretical knowledge at the forefront of their discipline
- will be aware of the ethical dimensions of the scholarly work done in their discipline in general as well as of their own work in particular
- will have a comprehensive understanding of methods and methodologies in their discipline
- will be able to undertake analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory areas of knowledge
- will have a level of conceptual understanding that will allow them to critically evaluate research, advanced scholarship and methodologies and argue alternative approaches
- will be reflective and self-critical in their research work
- will be able to engage in academic and professional communication orally and in writing
- will have independent learning ability required for continuing professional study


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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