This module is a study of political culture in both imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, considering the media, surveillance and coercion. It will start with a question: what is propaganda, and how does it work? Chronologically, part one of this year-long special subject will start in the second half of the nineteenth century and continue into the early Soviet period. It will examine examples of propaganda from both the autocracy and also revolutionary culture. Conversely, the module will consider the evolution of the public sphere in late imperial Russia and the role political propaganda played in the form of symbol and ritual on the part of both the Romanovs and their opponents. Part one will follow the emergence of political radicalism in the nineteenth century through to the revolutions of 1917, and then the mobilization of the people in the early Bolshevik state. The birth of the ‘propaganda state’ will examine the development of the Soviet Union through the 1920s. This special subject will use different genres of sources, including literature, film and the visual arts, to understand historical change, and encourages students to analyse the role of culture in politics and society, to explore the inter-relations among ideas, identities, representations and political and social practices, and to reflect on culture as an historical phenomenon.