Russia in Revolution: The USSR and After

Ref: C2224418

Russia of the Tsars, and the Soviet Union that replaced it after the 1917 Revolutions, covered one-sixth of the world's land surface. Why was backward Tsarist Russia the first to embark on the “socialist experiment”? How did the USSR survive economic and political isolation? What led to its collapse? From Lenin to Putin – the course assesses the Soviet Union that replaced the Russia of the Tsars, and post-Soviet Russia: • The problems of Tsarist Russia and the First World War; the Russian Revolutions of 1917 • The Communist regime - Brest Litovsk Treaty, Civil War, War Communism, the New Economic Policy • The rise of Stalin; Stalin's revolution; collectivisation; Five Year Plans; totalitarian control; the Great Patriotic War • Stalin and the Cold War; Stalin's successors from Khrushchev to Brezhnev • Gorbachev and the fall of the USSR; Russia from Yeltsin to Putin; Russia today

Course aim

The course examines why this most backward of the Great Powers was the first to embark on the "socialist experiment", the reasons for the fall of the USSR, and subsequent developments in post-Soviet Russia.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The course is for anyone who is interested in Russia. Some background knowledge of earlier Russian history would be an advantage but is not essential. Whilst the course will involve some detailed study, no special study skills are required.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Indicate reasons for the collapse of Tsarist Russia.
  • Show how the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia.
  • Explain how the USSR was able to survive isolation.
  • Suggest reasons for the fall of the USSR.
  • Assess Russia's place in the world today.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • Individual reading and research are encouraged.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • You will be encouraged to contribute to discussion and the tutor will provide opportunities for you to judge your own understanding and progress.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing other than an interest in Russia and Russian matters, and pen and paper for taking notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Individual reading is encouraged and a range of books will be made available for you to borrow. There is insufficient room on this form to include a recommended reading list but a list is available from your branch.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Russian language courses. Further research and reading using local libraries and record offices, e.g. connections between Russia and East Anglia through the ages.

Download full Course information sheet

Russia in Revolution: The USSR and After


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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