Russia Today: Economy, Technology, and People

Russia Today

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Russia Today is a one credit (Pitt)/three unit (CMU) mini course, consisting of 14 hours of classes over a weekend, with a final paper assignment to be handed in for credit.  The course learning outcomes are:

  • This course will introduce you to Russia’s political, economic, technology, and institutional transformation as a result of the collapse of communism and will familiarize you with some of the policy implications of the transition.
  • The course will improve your knowledge of contemporary political, economic and technical issues in Russia as a major factor in the global context.

At the end of the course, the students will:

  • Have a general understanding of the political, economic, and policy environment in Russia at the present time.
  • Explore any of these topics in depth, through a paper.

The course will open with a keynote lecture on Friday evening providing a general overview of Russia and its role in historical and contemporary perspective.  This will be followed by instructional lectures on Saturday and Sunday on the various themes by experts in the fields.  The course will conclude with a discussion by the speakers, linking the various themes and identifying some future challenges.

Main textbook:

  • The Russia Balance Sheet (Peterson Institute for International Economics) Anders Aslund and Andrew Kuchins 1st Edition, 2009

Due to the immersive nature of the course, students are expected to attend all sessions on all three days. Attendance will be recorded. Further, each student will be required to write a small reflection piece for each lecture (Due March 30 by 5:00pm) and develop a term paper on one dimension of modern Russia that was presented during the course. Students may refer to the textbook, the RUSSIA TODAY presentations, and to the Recommended Readings that will be posted for each session. The length of the term paper will be 5-10 pages, double-spaced in 11-point font. Term papers are due by April 18 at 5:00pm and should be submitted through the RUSSIA TODAY Blackboard site. Sample topics for term papers include:

  • Historical factors in the development of Russia’s market economy
  • Factors that encourage or retard technological innovation in Russia
  • Russia’s economy—communist, socialist, capitalist, or something else?
  • State planning, innovation, and the Russian economy
  • Global forces impacting the Russian economy
  • Compare and contrast policy debates, environmental impacts etc. Of economic growth between those of the Russia and another emerging economy such as Brazil, China and or India)
  • Russia’s role as a member of BRICs

Instructors (responsible for grades and class organization):

  • Andrew Konitzer, University of Pittsburgh
  • Veronica Dristas, University of Pittsburgh
  • Josephine Olson, University of Pittsburgh
  • Amy Burkert, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Renee Camerlengo, Carnegie Mellon University

Sponsored by:
University of Pittsburgh: Global Studies Center, Center for Russian and East European StudiesKatz Graduate School of Business, the Swanson School of Engineering, International Business Center, Carnegie Mellon University: H. John Heinz III CollegeOffice of the ProvostDivision of Student Affairs