Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

HIST3235 Political Culture in Modern Russia, part 2

Module Overview

This module is a study of political culture in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. The second part will start with the ‘great break’ of the late 1920s that saw the emergence of the Stalinist state. Areas for consideration will include Stalin’s Cult of Personality and the mass mobilization of the people during the 1930s. The Second World War is in many ways the key focus point of Russia’s twentieth century: an extended case study will examine the role propaganda played in the Soviet conflict from 1941-45. Following this, the module will consider the post-war period through the time of Soviet stagnation in the 1970s. The role of the media and surveillance during this period will also be considered. The final weeks will conclude with an assessment of the present-day Russian Federation and how different forms of media play a role in contemporary political processes. Like in part one, a key theme is the relationship between the Russian and Soviet states and their people, and how the latter responded to the symbols projected by the state. The ‘personality cults’ of various Soviet leaders will play a key role in seminars. The module will consider a wide variety of different source materials during seminars, and focus on the role of culture in the construction of the revolutionary project throughout Russia’s twentieth century and beyond. Furthermore, it will consider the ways in which propaganda has changed in response to different technologies and the changing demands of different historical periods.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Political, social, cultural, economic and technological changes in political culture from the 1920s to the present day, and the question of how these were the consequence of different motives for the groups in question
  • How changes in political culture reflect wider process of social, political and economic developments in Russia (i.e., the role of culture in politics and society)
  • The contested historiographical debates concerning political culture in very recent Russian history, thinking from the perspective of the government and its opponents
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work independently and unsupervised for extended periods of time when preparing for class and for assessed coursework;
  • Display effective time management, not least in adhering to a timetable for the preparation, writing, and submission of a lengthy assignment;
  • Write speedily yet fluently for an extended period of time in examination conditions, and retain that ability to organise and clearly articulate your ideas when working under pressure;
  • Adapt and apply the skills and knowledge acquired or consolidated during the module to problem-solving and policy-making.
  • adhere to guidelines re referencing/footnotes and demonstrate an adequate prose style.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Gather, assimilate, synthesise, and interpret a wide range of primary and secondary source material as the first stage in writing your essay;
  • Engage with specific texts, comment upon them fluently, cogently, and at length; and in so doing demonstrate depth of knowledge, insight, and understanding appropriate to the advanced study of a specialist area;
  • Draw upon that same bank of knowledge, insight, and understanding in examination conditions.


Possible seminar topics • Stalinism, especially the creation of the ‘cult of personality’ • World War Two (the Great Patriotic War) and the evolution of Soviet propaganda • The role of the media in sustaining Soviet power after 1945 • The effectiveness of control and surveillance during the period Soviet stagnation • How Putin’s government uses propaganda in the media • The use of propaganda in Russia today and how its role in the projection of state power

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study252
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Sarah Oates, Television, Democracy and Elections in Russia (2006).. 

Sophie Pinkham, Black Square: Adventures in the Post-Soviet World (2016).. 

Arkady Ostrovsky, The Invention of Russia (2016).. 

Jeffrey Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin! Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War (2000).. 

Peter Pomarantsev, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible. Adventures in Modern Russia (2015).. 

Nina Tumarkin, Lenin Lives! The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia (1997).. 

James Von Geldern and Richard Stites (eds.), Mass Culture in Soviet Russia (1995).. 

Victoria Bonnell, Iconography of Power (1998).. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Exam  (3 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules



Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There might be additional costs of buying textbooks.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings