History 450 - JYW Seminar in History
TU TH 1:00PM 2:15PM
Open to Seniors and Juniors in History, Middle East and Judaic majors only. ?The Collapse of the Soviet Union and Emergence of New States?
On December 25, 1991, Michael Gorbachev dissolved the USSR allowing for the emergence of its component republics to become independent states. Spring 2022 is the 30th anniversary of the transition of 15 new states from near-colonial status inside the USSR to independence. Some leaders in the republics had worked for this goal and others were taken by surprise and did not know what to do without instructions from Moscow. The US promptly recognized their independence and began to send teams of diplomats to open embassies in each capital city. Western analysts were confident that democracy would blossom once people were freed of controls.
This seminar will study the Soviet collapse ? the economic and political weaknesses and reform efforts that led to it?and the emergence of the new post-Soviet states, their character, and their challenges. We will read analyses written as events unfolded as well as later interpretations.
Students will begin by writing short papers (500 words) based on contemporary reports and analysis, often from US government sources, building toward a longer final paper (about 2000-3000 words) on one aspect of this process of Soviet decay and creation of new states (during 1990-92) with the option to focus on one of the new states.