Russia: A History -CLOSED


1:10 PM ‚Äď 2:50 PM

9/14, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9

America‚Äôs renowned Sovietologist and foreign policy guru George Kennan once observed that whether it be Czarist Russia, Stalinist Russia, Khrushchev‚Äôs Soviet Union, Brezhnev‚Äôs Soviet Union or Putin‚Äôs Russia, Russia is Russia, and while there is much truth in Mr. Kennan‚Äôs abbreviated summary, there, is, however, a depth of history that is waiting for those eager enough to unlock the annals of the largest nation on earth.¬† This course chronicles Russia beginning with Kievan-Rus up to today‚Äôs post-Soviet-Russia ‚ÄĒ an immensely proud nation, which is seeking to find its way in an uncertain world order.


8 sessions starting Thursday, Sept. 14 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Russia:  A History
Mark Albertson, 

Week 1:  Pre-Romanov Russia:

From the rise of the East Slavic State, Kievan-Russ, circa 880 A.D., followed by the Golden Age of Kiev; the Mongol invasions; the rise of Muscovy and the evolution of the burgeoning Russian aristocracy to 1613, when Mikhail Romanov began a dynasty that would rule Russia for three hundred years . . . The early years of the Motherland are chronicled.  

Week 2:  Romanov Russia, I:

As the Romanovs compete with the Kingdoms of Sweden and Poland, the growth of Russia as a power is traced.  Peter the Great; Catherine the Great; the Napoleonic Wars; Russia to 1815.  The Time of Troubles will be explored; Serfdom; the Autocratic State that has come to characterize Russia.

  Week 3:  Romanov Russia, II:

The 19th century Great Game of expansion and competition with the Western colonial powers; the Industrial Revolution; the rise of Italy and Germany; the Crimean War and declining Ottoman power; Bismarck and the Balance of Power in Europe; the rising tide of discontent in Russia; the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War; 1905, St. Petersburg and Father Capon; countercoup by Czar Nicholas II; 1914, Lights Going Out in Europe; collapse of Russian Army, summer 1916.

 Week 4:  Russia Goes Red:

February 1917, soldiers, workers and peasants revolt against Czar Nicholas II.¬† A provisional government led by Alexander Kerensky will give way to the Bolshevik regime of Vladimir Lenin.¬† Civil war will erupt throughout Mother Russia.¬† But the Bolsheviks will emerge victorious, creating a new society in the wake of the defunct Romanovs.¬† But upon Lenin‚Äôs death in 1924, the Revolution will take a new course; one in which Winston Churchill will observe, ‚ÄúThe worst calamity to befall Russia was Lenin‚Äôs birth; the next worst, his death.‚ÄĚ

Week 5:  Stalin’s Revolution:

Stalin reconfigures Bolshevik Russia in his image:  First, he outmaneuvers Leon Trotsky to become Lenin’s heir.  Next the Georgian chieftain embarks into a sojourn of State Capitalism in a crash effort to industrialize the Soviet State:  Collectivization; industrialization; the Kirov murder and the Great Purges.  The rise of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.  The Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, August 23-24, 1939.  Resumption of the Great War.

Week 6:  Advent of the Cold War:

The Great Patriotic War; Soviets determine the land campaign for the Allies in World War II.  End of the Grand Alliance.  George Kennan and Containment.  1949:  China goes Red; Russia explodes its first atomic bomb.  Korean War.  French defeat in Vietnam, 1954.  The Middle East; America and Vietnam.  Revolutionary Nationalism

Week 7:  Demise of the Soviet Monolith:

The Nuclear Arms Race; Nixon and China; American defeat in Vietnam; defeat of the Arab armies in 1973; Hanoi victorious 1975; Sadat changes sides; Cuban troops in Angola; Vietnamese troops in Cambodia; 1979 Iranian Revolution; 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; 1980 Iran-Iraq War; rise of Pan-Islam; Reagan as president; Soviet defeat in Afghanistan; collapse of the Soviet monolith; Persian Gulf War.

Week 8:  Putin’s Russia:

Like Napoleon III of France in the middle of the 19th century, Vladimir Putin seems intent on raising Russia’s status as a world power:  How the former KGB functionary attained power; spread of NATO into Eastern and Central Europe; Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China; Russia’s 21st century strongman and his actions in Syria, Crimea and Ukraine, where he wages a conflict with the pseudo-Fascist regime in Kiev for control of eastern Ukraine.  And just like during the Cold War, the Atomic Sword of Damocles looms in the background with any strategic competition with the United States.  

Facilitator: Mark Albertson

Mark Albertson Mark Albertson is the research editor at Army Aviation magazine.  He has authored several books, one of which is On History: A Treatise.  As an avid speaker he travels the Constitution State lecturing on a variety of historical topics and current events.