We are democratically-minded Russian political scientists and our audience is primarily Russian. We believe that the lack of basic civic education is one of the reasons why Russia’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine became possible. Through this project Russian academics who are not involved in propaganda, many of them banned from teaching in universities at home, try to find new ways to talk to their students and the wider audience, to support the intellectual environment which could contribute to the democratic and peaceful Russia of the future with independent civil society and accountable institutions.
In spring semester 2023, the New School of Political Science is opening an English-language class Russian Politics which will explore how Russia’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine became possible and how Russia’s present-day authoritarian regime emerged out of the chaos of the 1990s. We will study the Soviet legacies and their role in post-Soviet politics, trace the unlucky path of political modernization and try to answer the main question: What went wrong in the attempts to build a stable democratic polity in Russia? The class will focus on Russia’s constitutional design (the presidency, the parliament – Duma, the constitutional court, federalism and municipal self-government), the problems and limitations of Russia’s civil society, the role of protests and the opposition, the ideology of the Kremlin and possible scenarios for the future. This is a unique opportunity to hear a real voice from Russia.
The class is taught by Vitaly Gorokhov, Russian political scientist and expert. Dr. Gorokhov was a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan and for many years has taught classes in political science for international students while Russia used to be a part of academic exchanges. He knows exactly how to explain and expose Russian politics to people with no previous knowledge of Russian affairs.