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Emerging Markets - BRICS & CIVETS Resources @ Pitt (Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Africa & Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa and more ...): Russia Today

This guide is designed to provide selected high-quality resources for those interested in emerging market economies. It features individual country pages as well as sources searchable by topic or country.

Russia Today : Economy, Technology, and People


For information on the speakers and registration  (which is open to the community)  please see the main page for the course

Russia Today Course Info

File:St.Basil-Moscow Red Square.JPG

St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow 
[Uros, the photographer has released it to the Public domain,
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license].

Russia Today: Economy, Technology, and People

Class times: 5pm Friday, October 24, 2014 to 1pm Sunday, November 26, 2014
(100 Porter Hall,CMU - Carnegie Mellon  University)

Russia Today is a one-credit (Pitt)/ three-unit (CMU) mini course, consisting of 14 hours of classes over a weekend, with a major paper assignment to be completed for credit. The course will open with two keynote lectures on Friday evening on an overview of the issues. This will be followed by instructional lectures on Saturday on the various themes by experts in the fields.  Sunday morning will be a discussion of two case studies and a panel discussion by the speakers on future challenges, and some possible projections/ recommendations.

This course is created for undergraduate and graduate students. However, K-12 educators, business and community members are welcome to attend all or sections of the course for free.


As global citizens, students need to have a working knowledge of other countries which are important in shaping the corporate, social and political world. As a rising state in the world economy, Russia’s status in the business and in world affairs is shifting.

Course Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, the students will:
1. Have a general understanding of the corporate, geo-political, cultural and social factors that define Russia's economic, cultural and technological landscape at the present time.
2. Explore one of these factors in depth, through the paper.


Wegren, S.K. (Ed.). (2012/2013 5th edition). Return to Putin's Russia: Past imperfect, future uncertain. Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc.

This book will be available at the University of Pittsburgh's Bookstore and Carnegie Mellon University Bookstore. Copies are available at CMU's Hunt Library: DK510.763  R477  2013 and at Pitt in Hillman and Greensburg: DK510.763  R477  2013.  


This short course will explore how various intersections of economy, society, and identity interact in Russia and in the perceived position of Russia as an emerging world economy. It will explore questions such as:

  • How does Russia's history and diversity reflect in the policies and the economy of Russia? In the way Russians react with the market?
  • What are today’s challenges in attaining equity in quality of life in Russia? What are some of its greatest needs?
  • What are impediments to Russia’s economic and business growth?
  • What are some of the salient features of the U.S.-Russian relations?
  • How have cultural traditions and modernizations integrated in Russia? What have been some cultural responses to globalization?
  • What lies ahead? What are the opportunities and challenges in Russia’s immediate future?


Due to the immersive nature of the course, students are expected to attend all sessions on all three days. Further, each student will be required to read the assigned book and develop a term paper on one dimension of modern Russia that has been introduced in class. The paper should be based on one of the topics covered in the course. The length of the term paper will be 5-10 pages, double-spaced in 11 point font. Research papers are due by November 21 at 5:00 pm and should be submitted through Carnegie Mellon's Blackboard or University of Pittsburgh’s Courseweb assignment tab for the course.

Sample topics for term papers include:

  • Historical factors in the development of Russia’s market economy
  • Factors that encourage or retard technological innovation in Russia
  • The role of education in making Russia a world power
  • Financing innovation in Russia: foreign, multinational, and Russian enterprises
  • Education and innovation in Russia
  • Ethnicity and educational opportunity
  • Russia’s economy—communist, socialist, capitalist, or something else?
  • Global forces impacting the Russian economy
  • Global forces impacting the Russian education system

Note: The paper is not a book or chapter review, but an overall analysis that demonstrates your reading and thinking on the subject. First articulate an organizing question that you will attempt to answer, and proceed from there to find sources. The organizing question has to be an exploration on one of the issues or aspects addressed by one or several speakers in the course.

As this is a generalist course, we don’t expect a detailed economic or political analysis, but a thorough literature review on the topic and your synthesis of these readings to answer the question with a critical perspective.

Audit Option:

Carnegie Mellon students may also audit the course by attending all the sessions, but not writing the paper. You should be sure to process an audit form, both if you are auditing from the beginning or later if you have decided not to do a paper and want your status changed from credit to audit. Pitt students may also audit but students must choose this option before the beginning of the course. Once the course has started students will be graded based on how they signed up for the course.

Instructors (responsible for grades and class organization):

Professors Amy Burkert ( is responsible for grades at Carnegie Mellon University and
Andrew Konitzer ( and Veronica Dristas ( at the University of Pittsburgh, respectively.   Please send e-mail to us individually if you have questions regarding grades.  

Sponsored by:

University of Pittsburgh:  Global Studies Center Center for Russian and East European Studies,  Department of Economics,  Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of EngineeringInternational Business Center, and  College of Business Administration 

Carnegie Mellon University:  H. John Heinz III College,  Office of the ProvostDivision of Student Affairs 

Course Textbook is ONLINE!


Related Research Guides

These LibGuides in the University of Pittsburgh Library System provide additional web based resources for your research.

Library Research Subject Specialist for Russia:

Dan Pennell, Subject Specialist and Liaison Librarian for REES

Russia Profile Links and Resources

Many pages of this guide will be useful as you begin your Russia research.  The tabs above can take you to additional information and links to helpful resources. 

If some of these links do not work from off campus instead go directly into the database with the links in the box below.

Country Profiles & Information

Course Schedule

Friday, October 24    5:00 - 8:00pm

5:00 pm- 5:15 pm   Brief Introductions and Welcome
5:15 pm- 6:30 pm   Jonathan Harris- "From Gorbachev to Yeltsin to Putin"
6:30 pm- 6:45 pm   Break
6:45 pm- 8:00 pm   Thomas Remington- "Rebuilding the Social Contract in Post-Soviet Russia"

Saturday, October 25    9:00 am - 6:45 pm

  9:00 am -  10:15 am  David Greene- "Title"
 10:15 am - 10:30 am  Break
10:30 am - 11:45 am   Harley Balzer- "Civil Society, Public Opinion and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine"
11:45 am - 12:00 am   Break
12:00 am -   1:15 pm   Judy Twigg- "Critical Condition? Health and Demographic Trends in Russia"
  1:15 pm -   2:30 pm    Lunch
  2:30 pm -   3:45 pm    Harley Balzer- "The Great Reversal: China and Russia in the Global Economy"
  3:45-pm -  4:00 pm    Break
  4:00 pm -  5:15 pm    Barry Ickes- "Russia's Addiction"
  5:15 pm -  5:30 pm    Break 
  5:30-pm -  6:45 pm    Stephen Wegren- "Russia's Rural Economy: Yesterday and Today"

Sunday, October 26,   9:00 am - 1:30 pm

  9:00 am - 10:15am    Boris Barkanov- "Russian Energy: State Power and Strategy in Natural Gas"  
10:15 am - 10:30 am   Break
10:30 am - 11:45 am    Andrei Tsygankov- "The Sources of Russia's Ukraine Policy, 2004-2014" 
11:45 am - 12:00 pm    Break
12:00 pm -  1:00 pm     Conclusions and Closing Remarks

Sponsored by:

University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies Center, Center for Russian and East European Studies, Department of Economics, Katz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of Engineering, International Business Center, and College of Buisness Administration,  

Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III College, Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs

Liaison Librarian and Reference / Instruction

Lois Kepes's picture
Lois Kepes
G20-X Hillman Library (Ground Floor)


Tuesday evening appointments often available.

CMU Students - Pitt Temp Logon

CMU students may visit Hillman Library's service desk on the ground floor to get a temporary logon.  It will permit you to access our ebooks and databases while in Hillman Library. 

Pitt affliates should be able to access all material from on campus or remotely.  Our Ezproxy server will prompt you to log in from with your email user name and password when you access paid licensed content (databases and ebooks).  

Recommended Readings

Harley Balzer - Recommended Readings:

Crotty, Jo, Sarah Marie Hall and Sergei Liubownikow, “Post-Soviet Civil Society Development in the Russian Federation: The Impact of the NGO Law,” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 96 No. 8, October 2014, pp. 1253-69.

Ferdinand, Peter, “Russia and China: Converging Responses to Globalization,” International Affairs, Vol. 83, No. 4 (2007), pp. 655-80.

Rutland, Peter, “Post-Socialist States and  the  Evolution  of  a New Development Model: Russia and  China Compared,” Paper presented at International Seminar on Globalizaion and Eurasia, Jawaharl Nehru University, New Delhi, 9-12 November 2008.

Dunn, Elizabeth C. and Michael S. Bobick, "The Empire Strikes Back: War without War and Occupation without Occupation in the Russian Sphere of Inflence,” American Ethnologist, Vol. 41, No. 3, August 2014, pp. 405-413

Balzer, Harley and Jon Askonas, “Innovation in Russia and China Compared,” forthcoming in Russian Analytical Digest, 2014.

Boris Barkanov - Recommended Readings:

Olcott, Martha Brill, "Vladimir Putin and the Geopolitics of Oil," JAMES A. BAKER III INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY

Sussex, Matheew, "Strategic Security and Russian Resource Diplomacy," in  Russia and its Near Neighbours, eds. Freire, Maria Raquel andKanet, Roger E., Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Abdelal, Rawi. "The Profits of Power: Commerce and Realpolitik in Eurasia." Review of International Political Economy 20, no. 3 (June 2013): 421–456. (available on JSTOR)

David Greene

Jonathan Harris - Recommended Readings:

Stephen WhiteUnderstanding Russian Politics, (2011) Chapters 1-3.

Thomas F. Remington - Recommended Readings:

"Employment, Earnings, and Welfare in the Russian Transition," by Thomas F. Remington. Chapter 2 of Remington's The Politics of Inequality in Russia, 2011.

"Negotiating Welfare in Postcommunist States," by Linda J. Cook.  Published in Comparative Politics, Vol. 40, No. 1 (2007), pp. 41-62.

Andrei Tsygankov - Recommended Readings:

Vladimir Putin, Address by President of the Russian Federation. March 18, 2014.

Jack Matlock, Ukraine: "The Price of Internal Division."

Anatol Lieven, "Ukraine should be a bridge, not a battleground."

Judy Twigg - Recommended Readings:

The Dying Russians by Masha Gessen.  New York Review,  2014. 

8 Things Masha Gessen Got Wrong About Russian Demography by Mark Adomanis. Forbes, 2014.

Grigoriev, Pavel, France Mesle, Vladimir M. Shkolnikov, Evgeny Andreev, Agnieszka Fihel, Marketa Pechholdova, and Jacques Vallin. "The Recent Mortality Decline in Russia: Beginning of the Cardiovascular Revolution?", Population and Development Review 2014.

Stephen Wegren - Recommended Readings:

Wegren, S.K. (Ed.). (2012). Return to Putin's Russia: Past imperfect, future uncertain.  Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc. 

Barry Ickes - Recommended Readings:

"Russia's Dependence on Resources," Clifford G. Gaddy and Barry W. Ickes.

"Russia After the Global Financial Crisis," Clifford G. Gaddy and Barry W. Ickes.

"Putin's Protection Racket," Gaddy and Ickes.