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Regular version of the site
Master 2019/2020

Human Rights in Post-Communist Space

Type: Elective course (Political Analysis and Public Policy)
Area of studies: Political Science
Delivered by: Public Policy Department
When: 1 year, 3, 4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Instructors: Dmitry Dubrovsky, Artem Uldanov
Master’s programme: Political Analysis and Public Policy
Language: English
ECTS credits: 5
Contact hours: 40

Course Syllabus


The democratic wave in 1989 seems to change the political landscape of the former Communist countries in irreversible manner. Since the beginning of 2000th, though, the authoritarian shift in current post-communist space, which has started in post-Soviet space, covered the former communist bloc countries as well (Hungary, Poland). The course is devoted to the discussion of the current state of art with democracy and human rights in the former Warsaw pact countries from the perspective of critique of the “transition” perspective, as well as transitional justice, and other theoretic frame, which could explain the current tendencies in this part of the world
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Know the major tools of human rights protection, internationally and locally
  • Know the main tool of human rights monitoring (UPR, HR reports)
  • Know and able to analyze the data from international system of human rights monitoring
  • Be able to apply standards of human rights protection
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the general situation with human rights and democracy in communist countries of East Europe and USSR
  • Explain the struggle between economic reforms and human rights
  • To know the alternative versions of human rights in post-communist space and debates about universalism/particularism of human rights
  • To understand the complexity of the Russian minority question in the former Russian republic
  • To understand the question of nation-building process on the post-Soviet space
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction. The Soviet legacy and post-communist countries
    Human Rights in Warsaw Pact countries and demise of communism. Legacy of Soviet Union and political transformation of the former communist countries. East Europe and Baltic Sea countries VS Eurasia political development
  • Alternative versions of human rights in Russia
    Here we will explore the alternative versions of human rights in Russia
  • Collapse of Soviet Union and Issue of Human Rights
    Human rights in USSR in the time of political turbulences (late 80th -early 90th). Collapse of USSR, economic crises and the issue of "freedom with empty belly". Degradation of Russian democracy after 1993. Foreign assistance, democracy promotion and its failure
  • Baltic sea countries: Russian minorities, “Bronze soldier” crises, and “Neo-nazi’s revival”
    This topic is devoted to the investigation of the human rights situation in Baltic Sea countries and its controversy
  • Ukraine: the battlefield of the Nation VS Empire
    The turbulent history of post-Soviet Ukraine will be discussed in the prism of human rights
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Written Assignment #1
  • non-blocking Active participation in seminars
  • non-blocking Presentation
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.4 * Active participation in seminars + 0.2 * Presentation + 0.4 * Written Assignment #1


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Beissinger, M. R. (2006). Promoting Democracy. Dissent (00123846), 53(1), 18. https://doi.org/10.1353/dss.2006.0090
  • Diamond, L. J., Plattner, M. F., & Walker, C. (2016). Authoritarianism Goes Global : The Challenge to Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1083537
  • Gaufman Elizaveta. (2015). World War II 2.0: Digital memory of fascism in Russia in the aftermath of Euromaidan in Ukraine.
  • Gross, J., & Kotkin, S. (2013). Uncivil Society : 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment (Vol. Unabridged). New York: Modern Library. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=743888
  • Jordan, P. A. (2003). Russia’s Accession to the Council of Europe and Compliance with European Human Rights Norms. Demokratizatsiya, 11(2), 271.
  • Koposov, N. (2011). “The Armored Train of Memory”: The Politics of History in Post-Soviet Russia. Perspectives on History, 49(1), 23–26.
  • Mendelson, S. E. (2002). Russians’ Rights Imperiled. International Security, 26(4), 39. https://doi.org/10.1162/016228802753696762
  • Mullerson, R. A. (1990). Human Rights and the Individual as Subject of International Law: A Soviet View.
  • Peter Juviler. (2010). Freedom’s Ordeal : The Struggle for Human Rights and Democracy in Post-Soviet States. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Preclik, P. (2012). Culture Re-introduced: Contestation of Human Rights in Contemporary Russia. Review of Central & East European Law, 37(2/3), 173–230. https://doi.org/10.1163/092598812X13274154886782
  • Ryazanova-Clarke, L. (2014). The Russian Language Outside the Nation. Edinburgh University Press.
  • Stoeckl, K. (2014). The Russian Orthodox Church and Human Rights. Routledge.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Grodsky, B. (2007). Producing Truth: The Politics of Investigating Past Human Rights Violations in Post-Communist States. World Affairs, 169(3), 125–133. https://doi.org/10.3200/WAFS.169.3.125-133
  • Grodsky, B. (2014). Human rights activists and transitional justice in the post-communist world: explaining silence among the outspoken. Journal of Southeast European & Black Sea Studies, 14(1), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/14683857.2014.882082
  • Tibbits, F. (1994). Human rights education in schools in the post-Communist context. European Journal of Education, 29(4), 363. https://doi.org/10.2307/1503846