Security in the Post-Soviet Space

Overview and aims

Over two decades have passed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the communist empire which had absorbed 15 states, all with very different political, economic and social histories. For decades, the Soviet government tried to bring these versatile political unities to a common denominator. However, once the regime collapsed the differences between these communities became increasingly apparent. By the early 1990s, 15 states occupied the political and economic space previously under one jurisdiction. Some of these states moved towards differing political and economic centres. The rapid disintegration of the region has recently been illustrated by military conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Unfortunately, military conflict is not the only security problem which former Soviet republics have had to deal with. This module aims to explore the main security concerns in the former Soviet space, where security is understood in broad terms to include environmental, economic, energy, human and more traditional political concerns. While one can debate to what extent these relatively new political actors could be seen again as one political entity, it is apparent that the majority of the current security processes in the region can be seen through the prism of its political past. Whether we are talking about the numerous gas disputes, violent ethnic conflicts, wars, environmental heritage of Soviet destruction, or strategic relations with powerful international actors such as NATO and the EU, this module requires you to examine the full range of processes in relation to the region’s common history and disintegrated present.

Module content

  • Economic and energy security: from energy superpowers to energy poverty
  • Environmental security
  • Political insecurities: from ‘colour revolutions’ to ‘cults of personality’
  • Military conflicts: fighting with neighbours
  • Searching for allies: intra- and extra-regional cooperation
  • Ethnicity and ethnic conflicts: finding the nations’ faces

Learning outcomes

After studying this module you should be able to:

  • critically understand and explain the role of former Soviet republics in the modern global political arena
  • identify and critically evaluate the causes of cooperation and conflict in the region
  • critically investigate existing security problems in the post-Soviet space, and the political contexts they exist in
  • critically analyse the complex interconnection between historical and contemporary factors shaping the current security situation in the region

This module will help you gain the skills and qualities to:

  • collect and analyse advanced empirical and normative data from primary and secondary sources to conduct advanced investigations leading to policy prescriptions
  • carry out advanced independent research to examine current security problems in the region, by designing and conducting your own research
  • critically explain the connection between theoretical discussions and empirical case studies, and form theory-based predictions

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