Russian Foreign Policy

Course content

Russian foreign policy has become more assertive since the beginning of this Century. The war in Georgia, the annexation of Crimea, the destabilization of Eastern Ukraine, the involvement in Syria, and hybrid warfare. The purpose of the course is to analyze and explain the development of Russia’s foreign policy and to discuss how to deal with the development: is Russia a threat, is it defensive, and what should be done?


Bachelor student (2012 programme curriculum): 10 ECTS

Bachelor student (2017 programme curriculum): 7.5 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS

Learning outcome


The course aims at providing insights in Russian behavior, the recent conflicts, and the range of actual and potential countermeasures.


The achievement of relevant theoretical skills, methods to analyze the individual cases 


The ability to identify causes, policy options, and strategies

A combination of lectures, presentations, and discussions

Adamsky, Dimitri (2018): ‘From Moscow with coercion: Russian deterrence theory and strategic culture’. Journal of Strategic Studies, 41:1.


Cadier, David, and Margot Light (eds.) (2015): Russia's foreign policy, ideas, domestic politics and external relations. London: Palgrave.


Hansen, Birthe, Peter Toft and Anders Wivel (2009): Security Strategies and American World Order. Lost Power. London and New York: Routledge.


Kofman, Michael et al. (2017): ‘Lessons from Russia’s Operations in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine’. Report, Rand Corporation.

Lo, Bobo (2015): Russia and the New World Disorder. London (RUSI): Brookings Institution Press.


Lobell, Steven E; Jesse, Neal G; Williams, Kristen P. (2015): ‘Why do Secondary States Choose to Support, Follow or Challenge?’ International Politics, suppl. Special Issue: Regional Contestation to Rising Powers;  Vol. 52, Iss. 2,  pp. 146-162.


Lukyanov, Fyodor (2016): ‘Putin's Foreign Policy. The Quest to Restore Russia’s Rightful Place’. Foreign Affairs, May/June, pp. 30-37.


Mouritzen, Hans, and Anders Wivel (2012): Explaining Foreign Policy. International Diplomacy and the Russo-Georgian War. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.


Nizameddin, Talal (2013): Putin’s New Order in the Middle East. London: Hurst & Company.


Sakwa, Richard (2015): Frontline Ukraine. Crisis in the Borderlands. London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd., pp. 1-119.


Skak, Mette (2016): ‘Russian strategic culture: the role of today’s ‘chekisty’’. Contemporary Politics, Vol. 22, Nr. 3, pp. 324-341.


This seminar is offered to MSc-level students, only. To ensure common grounds and overall conducive teaching, it is advisable that students have a clear intention of applying interviews in their thesis or in another upcoming academic assignment.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Free assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28