Spring 2020 - IS 304 D200

Russian Foreign and Security Policies (4)

Class Number: 9120

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    HCC 2510, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    Nicole Jackson
    1 778 782-8424
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units. Recommended: IS 200 and HIST 335.



Introduces the Russian Federation's foreign and security policies. Reviews key actors, institutions, and stages in the development of Russian foreign policy development as well as the gap between rhetoric and realities in Russian foreign policy.


This course is designed to develop student expertise on Russian Foreign Policy. We will begin with an overview of how scholars study the subject of ‘foreign policy analysis’ and the multiple dimensions “power”, followed by brief examination of the historical roots of Russian foreign policy and then an analysis of domestic politics and the making of Russian foreign and security policies.  Key issues, debates and practices in Russian foreign policy will be explored, and the evolution of different types of Russian influence – ideational, soft, hard and “practical” – will be highlighted.  Students will be encouraged to explore Russian policy thinking and action towards specific issues in key regions which may include Central Asia, the Western CIS, the Caucasus, Asia, Europe and the US.


The course aims to familiarize students with the principal alternative approaches to Russian foreign policy analysis, and to consider what kinds of power and influence Russia possesses. By the end of the course, students will be able to carefully assess whether, how and why Russian power and influence have evolved over time.  Second, students will have learnt how to critically participate in and contribute to contemporary debates about Russian foreign policy and foreign policy-making using theoretically-informed empirical analysis. This will be assessed in oral and written format, and thus help students to hone these key skills. Third, students will have developed and defended their own critical study of a chosen issue in Russian foreign policy. By the end of the course, students will be able to critique the concept of power, situate their own evidence-based arguments within the academic literature and outline, and defend pragmatic policy prescriptions.


  • Participation including oral presentations 20%
  • Research essay 45%
  • Final test 35%



Andrey Tsygankov, Russia’s Foreign Policy, Rowmann and Littlefield Publishers, 2016

Richard Sakwa, Henry E Hale and Stephen White, eds, Developments in Russian Politics 9, 2019


Background Readings

Timothy J Colton, Russia: What Everyone Needs to Know, OUP, 2016.  

Jeffrey Mankoff, Russian Foreign Policy; The Return of Great Power Politics, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009

Walter Lacqueur, Putinism: Russia and its Future with the West (Thomas Dunne, 2015).

Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom, Tim Dugan Books, 2018 (paperback)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html