History of Soviet Russia

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 260

       Course Name: History of Soviet Russia

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces Soviet Russian history.  Content includes politics, economics, culture, thought and life from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 to the breakup of the Soviet Union.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the essential historical figures and events of the period covered.
  2. Describe the ethnic, cultural, and political diversity of Soviet Russia and interpret its historical consequences.
  3. Explain the religious, social, economic, and political ideas that emerged in Soviet Russia during the period covered.
  4. Evaluate major religious, literary, and philosophical works produced during the period.
  5. Analyze the relationship between historical events and contemporary issues in the region.
  6. Evaluate conflicting interpretations of the history of Soviet Russia.
  7. Analyze primary and secondary sources pertaining to the period covered.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Imperial Russia
  2. Bolshevism: Origins and Doctrines
  3. The March Revolution
  4. The Bolshevik Revolution
  5. Civil War, Armed Intervention and War Communism, 1918-1921
  6. NEP, 1921-1928
  7. Stalinism Triumphant, 1929-1941
  8. The Great Patriotic War, 1941-1945
  9. Reconstruction and the Cold War, 1945-1953
  10. Krushchev to Chernienko
  11. Party and State
  12. Planned Economy
  13. Culture and Education
  14. Peaceful Coexistence
  15. Dissent
  16. Gorbachev and the Impact of Perestoika and Glasnost
  17. Dissolution and its Aftermath

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lectures, as well as small-group and whole-class discussions, will be used extensively.  There will be frequent written assignments that will be short in character.  Occasionally, small group work and report and reporting will be used. Films will be used as appropriate.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:
  1. Read a standard textbook, as well as research materials.
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 12-14 double-spaced typed pages, in the form of a term paper, summaries of Journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

A standard survey of the history of Soviet Russia will be assigned.  Those which have been used recently are:

Dmytryshyn, Basil.  U.S.S.R.: A Concise History
Gaddis, John.  Russia, The Soviet Union, and the United States:  An Interpretive History

In addition, students will be required to read from additional sources.  Those which have been used recently are:

Cracraft, James. (ed) The Soviet Union Today
Crankshaw, Edward. Krushchev: A Career
Deutscher, Isaac.  Stalin : Apolitical Biography
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander.  One Day In The Life OF Ivan Denisovich.
Ulam, Adam.  The Bolsheviks

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out-of-class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available from Learning Center.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.