Russia and Eurasia: Foreign and Security Policies

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tomila Lankina CLM 6.07


This course is available on the MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory, MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union, MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Course Coordinator by completing the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.


Some knowledge of post-1945 international history/international relations is necessary.

Course content

The course covers the various factors shaping Soviet, post-communist Russian and Eurasian foreign and security policy. It explores both the traditional foreign policy and security issues, such as the arms race and Détente, the role of the military, economic power projection, etc., as well as new soft power and security factors shaping policy, such as transnational civil society, sub-national regionalization, transnational ethnic and cultural networks, migration, the role of ideas, norms and norm entrepreneurs, etc. Key topics covered are Cold War, East-West relations and Détente; relations with Eastern Europe; relations with the Third World; Gorbachev’s foreign policy and the end of the Cold War; post-Cold War Russian foreign and security policy; Russia and the ‘near abroad’; ethnic separatism and regional conflict; Russian national and sub-national engagement with the West; Russia’s relations with China and the other ‘rising powers’; other security challenges (demographic problems, social protest, regional developmental disparities, etc.); regionalism and multilateralism in Eurasia; domestic and external influences on foreign policy and security in Ukraine, Belarus and the states of the Caucasus and Central Asia; Caspian energy and foreign policies; the challenge of Afghanistan for the region; regional responses to the Middle Eastern uprisings.

Watch a short introductory video on this course:


10 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the MT. 8 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be an introductory lecture in week 1 of MT followed by 17 one-hour lectures from week 1 of MT (9 in MT and 8 in LT). There will be 20 one-and-a-half hour weekly seminars commencing in week 3 of MT, including two revision seminars in ST. 

Formative coursework

Students intending to take the examination will be expected to write a minimum of three essays, of about 2,000 words each for the seminar teacher, and to present at least one seminar topic. These do not count towards the final mark.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be distributed at the beginning of the lecture course but students will find the following preliminary reading useful:

Bertsch, Gary K., Cassidy Craft, Scott A. Jones and Michael Beck, Crossroads and Conflict: Security and Foreign Policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia. New York and London, Routledge, 2000;
Brown, Archie, The Rise and Fall of Communism. London, The Bodley Head, 2009 (Suggested reading: Chapters 24-28);
Donaldson, Robert H. and Joseph L. Nogee, The Foreign Policy of Russia: Changing Systems, Enduring Interests. Armonk NY and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1998;
Fleron, Frederic J. Jr., Erik P. Hoffmann, Robbin F. Laird (eds), Classic Issues in Soviet Foreign Policy: From Lenin to Brezhnev. New York, Aldine de Gruyter;
Fleron, Frederic J. Jr., Erik P. Hoffmann, Robbin F. Laird (eds), Contemporary Issues in Soviet Foreign Policy: From Brezhnev to Gorbachev. New York, Aldine de Gruyter, 1991;
Haslam, Jonathan, Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall. New Haven, Yale Univ. Press, 2007;
Kennedy-Pipe, Caroline, Russia and the World, 1917-1991. London and New York, Arnold/Oxford University Press, 1998;
Leffler, Melvyn P. and Westad, Odd Arne (eds), The Cambridge History of the Cold War. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2010, Vol. 1-3. (Suggested reading: Volume 1, Chapters 1, 2, 5, 9, 15; Vol. 2, Chapters 2, 5, 7, 10, 13, 17; Vol. 3, Chapters 5, 7, 12, 15, 17, 24);
Lo, Bobo, Vladimir Putin and the Evolution of Russian Foreign Policy. London, RIIA and Blackwell, 2003;
MacKinnon, Mark, New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union, New York, Basic Books, 2007;
Mankoff, Jeffrey, Russian Foreign Policy: The Return of Great Power Politics, Lanham, Md, Rowman and Littlefield, 2009;
Moroney, Jennifer, Taras Kuzio, and Mikhail Molchanov, Ukrainian Foreign and Security Policy: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. Westport, Praeger, 2002;
Tsygankov, Andrei, Russia's Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity. Oxford, Rowman and Littlefield, 2006;
Zürcher, Christopher, The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict and Nationhood in the Caucasus, New York, New York University Press, 2007.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Students must answer three out of twelve questions.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.3
Merit 47.6
Pass 31
Fail 7.1

Teachers' comment

Please note that the teacher responsible for the course in 2013-2014, Tomila Lankina, started teaching the course in 2012-2013; earlier the course had been taught by another teacher. Students are therefore encouraged to consider the 2012-2013 survey results as their guide.

2012-2013 Survey results:

Question Average
Reading list (Q2.1) 1.5
Materials (Q2.3) 1.4
Course satisfied (Q2.4) 1.3
Lectures (Q2.5) 1.4
Integration (Q2.6) 1.5
Contact (Q2.7) 1.4
Feedback (Q2.8) 1.4
Recommend (Q2.9)
Yes 100%
Maybe 0%
No 0%

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2012/13: 12

Average class size 2012/13: 6

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2010/11, 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 94.4%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)