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   Course Title    Central and Eastern Europe: Problems of the 1990s and Prospects
Lecturer    Larissa Kuzmitcheva
Institution    Yaroslavl State University
Country    Russia

I. Aim of the Course

The collapse of the communist system in Central and Eastern Europe altered the political map on the European continent. New issues have been pushed into the European framework. Political events and challenges here in the 1990s, their consequences rise both as questions of the European future as problems of global political situation and world geopolitical changes. It is quite essential to address and examine the problems of post-wall Europe within the East-European context.

Objectives of the course:

  1. Introduce to the structure of international relations in Europe in the 1990s;
  2. Give key concepts and approaches, used by different sciences and theories, for the analysis of the CEEC internal problems, their foreign policy;
  3. Discuss international-legal, social, political and military dilemmas in the new Europe;
  4. Overview the problems of collective security in Europe; the origin and typology of regional conflicts in Eastern and Central Europe; the theory and practice of peacekeeping;
  5. Assume further scenarios of relations between the actors in Europe ( between the countries, applying for the EU or NATO membership; these countries – Russia; NIS – Russia; the EU NATO – CEEC – Russia etc )

The course "Central and Eastern Europe: Problems of the 1990s and Prospects" is designed for students of the final year of study. It includes both lectures and seminars. The questions of theories, methodology, processes and tendencies are observed in lectures. Some concrete cases and events, disputed questions from the history of the CEEC in the 1990s are discussed in the framework of seminars, colloquiums, "round tables".

I expect students to gain the following skills:

  • Ability to form their own opinions;
  • To use interdisciplinary approach while analyzing the whole complex of tendencies and problems of CEEC’ development in 1990s;
  • A skill of comparing different events, phenomena, processes (in this particular case: peculiarities of transformation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe);
  • A view of the past and the present by having in mind the various conceptions of history, world politics, the society’s development;
  • An ability to be open to ideological and political pluralism.

II. Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum

The curriculum of our History Department is overfilled with subjects dealing with World and Russian History (especially with political ones). Over the last few years our Department has made a considerable progress in rethinking and revising the curriculum and the content of courses. Social history and such topics as "women in history", "the history of childhood", "history ‘from the bottom up’", "the history of everyday life and views" have been paid more attention.

However the lack in teaching social and political sciences still remains and should be compensated. It has to do with the fact that future graduates of the Department will have to provide not only historical education in schools but also to teach different topics from political and social sciences. That is why the proposed course is important from an academic point of view.

The suggested course gives a chance to use an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. I also found new approaches, new methods of teaching during the CRC session.

III. Methods used

The main idea of using any pedagogical approach and method is that teaching must include the willingness to discuss controversial positions, a multitude of perspectives and open, social ways of working. Such a concept of teaching social sciences enables students to form their own opinions, to take into account other views, to dispute and seek compromises in cooperative work.

From my side, I intend to encourage discussions of students dealing with the topics of the course, to provide special literature, to promote the exchange of opinions and materials via Internet between students and professors of my University and other ones, to hold "Internet on-line seminars".

IV. Course content

Duration: one semester (nearly 15 lectures and 10 seminars)

Central and Eastern Europe: problems of the 1990s and prospects

1. Introductory lectures

What is the European continent after 1989?

2. The process of transition and democratization in Central and Eastern Europe: methodology, theories and research

  • in Russia
  • in Europe and the USA

3. Paradoxes of Transition (economic, political and legal aspects):

  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Russia
  • Yugoslavia

4. Various shades of potential conflicts in the CEEC in the 1990s

  • Ethnicity, nationalism, religion: key concepts and approaches ( E. Hobsbawn, A. Smith, Eriksen, J. Hutchinson and others);

  • Nation, state, nation-state, language and national identity: classical debates;

  • Integration and exclusion: using "the other" in analysis of international relations in Europe;

  • The value of human rights in the CEEC;

  • National minorities and the needs of minority protection.

5. Democratization and the rising of nationalism after the collapse of multiethnic communities and federations in Central and Eastern Europe: some cases and examples:

  • Democratization and ethnopolitical conflict: the Yugoslavia case;
  • Minority rights and Roma politics in Hungary;
  • Hyper-nationalism and Irredentism in the Macedonian Region;
  • The Russians in Baltic states: linguistic conflict-indicator, citizenship and political rights;
  • The dilemma of federalism and nationalist awakenings: the Chechnya case.

6. Local Governments in Central and Eastern Europe: some cases

7. Will NATO and the EU enlargement make Central and Eastern Europe safer and stable?

The Eastern enlargement of the EU:

  • "Healthy" competition or rivalry for the right to be admitted to the EU;

  • Collective Euro-identity: some perspectives in searching;

  • Economic aspects of the enlargement and its consequences for the CEEC;

  • Regional and trans-boundary cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe ( NIS, the Visegrad group, the CEEC-Russia etc ) before and after the EU enlargement;

  • The EU – CEEC – Russia: relationship and cooperation in 1990-s.

NATO in Europe in 1990-s and in perspective:

Typology of regional conflicts in Eastern and Central Europe;

  • Regional conflicts and NATO: crisis management (theory and practice). Peacekeeping process in Bosnia and "Humanitarian War" over Kosovo;

  • NATO-Russia relationship before and after Kosovo;

  • the NATO enlargement: the guarantee of security for the CEEC from Russia’s threat, counterbalance or threat to Russia; other explanations;

  • Dilemma of state sovereignty and human rights in international relations. International Humanitarian law: the Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya cases;

  • The CEEC-NATO-Russian relationship in the1990s: some opportunities and strategies.

8. Conclusions

  • Perspectives of relations in the "new Europe" and with the "new Europe";
  • The possibilities of regional conflicts’ prevention;
  • Further destiny of multilateralism and international security in Europe;
  • The basis of collective European identity as alternative to hyper-nationalism;
  • The EU-NATO-CEEC-Russia: perspectives of relationship ( a relationship of interdependence, a partnership, pragmatic cooperation, renewed confrontation etc )

V. Readings


  1. W. Derleth, Transition in Central and Eastern Europe Politics, 2000;
  2. K. Cordell, Ethnicity and Democratisation in New Europe, 1999;
  3. E. Pond, Rebirth of Europe, 1998;
  4. I. Hilsou, European Politics today, 1999;
  5. Decentralization: Experiments and Reforms"/ Ed. Tamas M. Horvath, 2000;
  6. East Central Europe: Paradoxes and Perspectives/ Ed. J.Jensen , F.Miszlivetz, 1998;
  7. Decentralization and transition in the Visegrad: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia/Ed. Kirchner, Houndmills, 1999;
  8. I. Neumann Uses of the other: "the East" in European Identity Formation, 1999;
  9. A. Smith Nationalism and Modernism: a critical survey of recent theories of nations and nationalism, 1998;
  10. Europe’s New Nationalism: States and Minorities in Conflict/ Ed. R.Caplan, J.Feffer, 1997;
  11. Recreating Europe: the European Union’s Policy towards Central and Eastern Europe/ Ed. A.Mayhew, 1998.


  1. NATO after Enlargement: New Challenges, New Missions, New Forces/ Ed. S.Blank, 1998;
  2. Z.Pecze, Civil-military Relations in Hungary, 1989-1996, 1998;
  3. T. Gurr, Minorities at Risk: a Global View of Ethnopolitical conflicts, 1995;
  4. Enlarging the EU Eastwards/Ed H.Grabbe, K.Hughes, 1998;
  5. Divided Europe: the New Domination of the East/ Ed.A.Burgess, 1997

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