Political Economy of
Eurasia (Fall 2009)
Prof. Robert English
Since the end of the Cold War, and the collapse of state socialism, a dramatic
international experiment has been underway:
the attempted transition of some two dozen countries from
centrally planned, one-party systems to free-market democracy.
The West’s stake in their success is
great—whether they will become stable, prosperous neighbors and trade partners, or languish in poverty
and corruption while exporting mainly refugees, criminals, drugs, and perhaps chemical or nuclear
The questions we will be addressing include:
Have the prescriptions of the IMF and other
international lending agencies helped or hurt?
Has Russia finally found the path to steady growth?
have some Central European and Baltic countries done so much better?
Can regional integration, or new
oil wealth, save the failing states of Central Asia and the Caucasus?
And in what political, cultural, and
historical circumstances is democratization a help—or a hindrance—to building a market economy?
This is primarily a lecture course, though there will also be a significant discussion
The general pattern will be lecture for the first 45-50 minutes of each meeting, followed by a
discussion and Q & A period.
Beyond this, I will also ask each student to make a brief (3-5 minutes)
presentation on a particular article or chapter at least once during the semester.
There will also be two
exams and a research paper (see below for details).
One is to be an active participant, not only in class discussions but first and
foremost by timely completion of the reading assignments; without this, successful engagement with the
ideas and information vital to understanding post-communist political economy is impossible.
assignments are drawn from diverse sources—books, articles, think-tank studies and reports—compiled
in a course reader that is available for purchase in the SIR main office (VKC 330).
It is titled IR 439:
Readings on the Political Economy of Eurasia
This reader is “published” in three parts to save you from a single expensive purchase (and from a single,
The instructor will also occasionally supplement these readings with articles sent out
in Blackboard messages as e-mail attachments.
On other occasions, xeroxed “handouts” on relevant
current events will be distributed in class.
They are available only in class on one day—if you miss class,
it is your responsibility to copy or borrow these articles from colleagues.
Finally, your attention will occasionally be directed to various websites and on-line sources of news and