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Russian Geopolitics (EN)

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Are we witnessing a new Cold War? A phase with renewed currency and the frequent sparring of Russia with Western Europe and the United States has led many observers to conclude this. Yet Russia’s geopolitical performance is much more dynamic and complex.

On the world stage, we see Russia turning to its old allies and major players, testing the contours of a new strategic and mutually beneficial geopolitical order outside the conceptual west. These evolving ties include road and rail works, oil pipelines, technology transfers, business investments, trade, strategic alliances, maritime accords, educational initiatives and other ways of cementing loyalties.

This elective course brings together expert perspectives on how Russia is testing geopolitical waters and is exploring new contours of cooperation and influence around the world.

The lectures will offer a tapestry of facts, insights and theories woven together with the threads of history, geography, religion, culture, ideology, politics, diplomacy, military strategy and economy, and familiarise students with Russia's past and current negotiations with the world in this interdisciplinary fashion.

The course will highlight significant developments or processes in Russia’s ties with a specific country or area, covering countries in Europe, Central- and South Asia, amid global geopolitical movements. Lecturers will draw on a wide variety of materials, including courtroom testimonies, films, blogs and interviews. Consequently, students will have a fuller understanding of how geopolitics plays out in practice. Both historical and contemporary contexts will be addressed.


Mrs. N. Tromp

Learning objectives

  • See the Cold War as a global theatre of events
  • Understand Cold War history using a prism that is wider than the conventional focus on the standoff between ‘east’ and ‘west,’ in the past and present
  • Engage with the topic in an interdisciplinary fashion and from a broad perspective that draws on news, visual media and academic sources.
  • Connect historical events with contemporary geopolitical trends.

Teaching format

  • Lectures


  • 5 short reports
  • Final essay

Entry requirements

This course is for second-year and third-year Bachelor's students. 

Study Material

  • Literature
  • Syllabus
  • Practical training material: various internet sources. Links will be posted on Canvas


You can find the timetable on Datanose.

Number of participants



UvA-students can register from 7 June 2021  (look for code 5512RUGE6Y in SIS) until one week prior to the start of the course. If you have any trouble while registering, please contact us at Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl

Other interested parties, such as contract students or students from other institutions, can register from 7 June 2021 until one week prior to the start of the course, by completing the registration form.

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 prevention measures, only UvA students and ‘bijvak’ students (students from another university or higher education institution) can attend this course on-campus.
Contract students can only attend the lectures online and participate in the exam(s). Contract students therefore pay the lower fee for this course, which can be found on the website.


Check the website.

SDGs in education

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in our elective courses, honours modules and degree programmes, and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDGs website

Facts & Figures
Mode Short-term, open uva courses
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in September