17S.919: THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF THE POST-SOVIET STATES
Spring 2013, T-Th 11-12:30, E53-438
Instructor: Carol Saivetz
“The International Relations of the Post-Soviet States” will focus on the foreign policies of and the relations among Russia and the other post-Soviet states. As the 2008 Russian-Georgian war or the gas wars between Ukraine and Russia both demonstrate, what happens in what the Russians call the “post-Soviet space,” can have a major impact on the wider world.
The course will explore issues such as the geopolitics of energy, the impact of authoritarianism across the region, the rise of Islamism, and Putin’s proposal to create a Eurasian Union. We will also spend time discussing Central Asia: there, Russian concern about what it sees as NATO encroachment has a major impact on how the US and NATO conduct the war in Afghanistan and how Russia and the Central Asian states prepare for the ultimate withdrawal of Western forces.
The final weeks of the semester will focus on contemporary realities. In particular we will address what Putin’s return to the presidency (Putin 2.0) portends for the future. We will discuss whether or not a President Putin, weakened by declining revenues and political unrest, can implement an assertive foreign policy. In that light, we will examine the prospects for the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the newly proposed Eurasian Union. Finally, we will analyze how the state of the US-Russian reset will affect the success or failure of these policies.