Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and the successor states have transitioned across differing paths to establish new political and economic systems. The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have made their transitions toward democracy and a market economy, while many of the other former Soviet Republics have struggled with these changes. This course offers a comprehensive analysis of contemporary political and economic systems in Russia and other former Soviet states including the evolution of those systems over the last century. The main goal of this course is to create a familiarity with the Soviet and post-Soviet polity, with an emphasis on Russia, the most powerful and the largest of the fifteen successor states, and its evolving role in the international community of the 21st century. Students are expected to complete weekly reading assignments, contribute to class discussion, and design a semester-long research project.