2010 Russia Today-Weekend-Today - Carnegie Mellon University

2010 Russia Today: Energy, Economics, Public Policy in Transition

A Joint course of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh

Carnegie Mellon course numbers:

99-334 and 90-793 (Heinz College): 3 units/ 1 credit

University of Pittsburgh course numbers:

BUSECN 1510 and CRN 39895 (undergraduate)
BIND 2300 CRN 39844 (graduate)

Dates: 5pm March 19, 2010 –  2pm March 21, 2010

Venue: Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, University of Pittsburgh

This course is the fourth in a series of weekend courses that explore modern economies and societies of countries emerging as economic forces of the twenty-first century. Each course focuses on three themes.

If you wish to attend Russia-Today lectures and are a member of the community, we invite you to register so we know you are coming:


INSTRUCTORS (responsible for grades and class organization)  
Indira Nair, Carnegie Mellon University
Svitlana Maksymenko, University of Pittsburgh
Josephine Olson, University of Pittsburgh (for Pitt business students)   

FACULTY/PRESENTERS on the topics and themes
Jonathan Harris, University of Pittsburgh
Svitlana Maksymenko, University of Pittsburgh
Wendy Goldman, Carnegie Mellon University
Adriana Helbig, University of Pittsburgh
Vladimir Padunov, University of Pittsburgh
Jennifer Murtazashvili, University of Pittsburgh
Linda Frank, University of Pittsburgh
William O’Rourke, Vice President, Sustainability and Environment, Health & Safety (EHS), Alcoa, Pittsburgh
Motivation:  As global citizens, students need to have a working knowledge of other countries which are important in shaping the corporate, social and political world. Russia has been for long a major actor on the international stage both politically and economically. Russia’s transition from communism and state-planned economy to democracy and a market economy has brought about significant changes both domestically and internationally.

This course will focus on the transition from communism and state-planned economy to democracy and market economy. The course will discuss political and economic transformations, as well as changes in public policy, including health, education and the arts. The course will also focus on pressing contemporary issues of global importance such as energy policy, international trade, and Russia’s position on the war of terror.
1.    This course will introduce you to Russia’s political, economic, and institutional transformation as a result of the collapse of communism and will familiarize you with some of the policy implications of the transition.
2.    The course will improve your knowledge of contemporary political, economic and policy issues in Russia as a major factor in the global context.

At the end of the course, the students will:
1.    Have a general understanding of the political, economic, and policy environment in Russia at the present time.
2.    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.

Course Content

1.    Yeltsin, Putin and the Political Development of the Russian Federation – Jonathan Harris, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh
2.    Russia's International Trade: Trends and Policies – Svitlana Maksymenko, Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh
3.    Effect of Privatization and the Market on the Lives of Ordinary People – Wendy Goldman, Professor, Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University
4.    Popular Music and Politics: Censorship and the State-Owned Music Industry – Adriana Helbig, Assistant Professor, Department of Music, University of Pittsburgh
5.    Russian Cinema Industry: From the Soviet Model to the Market – Vladimir Padunov, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Associate Director, Film Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh 6.    Russia and Central Asia: a Focus on Energy – Jennifer Murtazashvili, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh.
7.    US – Russia Relations – Jonathan Harris, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh
8.    Public Health Issues in Russia (title to be finalized) – Linda Frank, Associate Professor and Director of IDM MPH Community and Behavioral Intervention of Infectious Diseases Program, Department of Infectious Diseases & Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh
9.    Business Environment in Russia – William O’Rourke, Alcoa

The course may be taken:
(a)    for “audit” by attending all the lectures during the weekend; or,
(b)    for graded “credit” (3 CMUunits/ 1 PITTcredit-hour) by attending all the lectures and completing a research paper.  Requirements for the paper are provided below.  

The main text for the course available at the Carnegie Mellon and Pitt bookstores is:  The Russia Balance Sheet by Anders Aslund and Andrew Kuchins (Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2009).

Several papers will be posted on the Bb site.

ASSESSMENT – Paper Requirement
Due to the immersive nature of the course, students are expected to attend all sessions on all three days. Further, each student will be required to read the assigned readings and develop a term paper on one dimension of Russia. The length of the term paper will be 5-10 pages, double spaced in 11 point font.  Term papers are due by April 16 and should be submitted through the Digital Dropbox for the course.

Professor Nair is responsible for grades at Carnegie Mellon and Professor Maksymenko at the University of Pittsburgh, respectively. Please send e-mail to us individually if you have questions.

Note: The paper is not a book or chapter review, but an overall analysis that demonstrates your reading and thinking on the subject. First articulate an organizing question that you will attempt to answer, and proceed from there to find sources. The organizing question has to be an exploration on one of the issues or aspects addressed by one or several speakers in the course.

As this is a generalist course, we don’t expect a detailed economic or political analysis, but a thorough literature review on the topic and your synthesis of these readings to answer the question with a critical perspective.
You may choose to work with one other student of your own level (undergraduate and graduate). In that case, please let us know via an e-mail.

We expect you to read widely beyond the textbook. Be sure to cite all sources fully. In the case of a website, give the title of the article in addition to the url and why you think this is a credible source. Washington State University Libraries site has a good webpage on evaluating sources. See: http://www.systems.wsu.edu/bin/libdocs/instruction/source_evaluation.doc

Integrity in all your learning and work is the foundation of a good life – as a scholar and person. Your integrity in all dealings in this assignment is of prime importance to us. While collaboration and discussion of ideas is a cornerstone of the class, any copying or plagiarism from any source will be dealt with very strictly. Please observe group work rules. Let us know if you are under time or any other kind of pressure and need help of any kind with the class, and we will work with you. But plagiarism of any kind will be treated severely.

March 29
Paper topic, organizing question and initial bibliography due in Digital Dropbox on Blackboard.
March 29 – April 9
We would be happy to give comments on early drafts.
April 16
Paper due in to Digital Dropbox.

You should be sure to process an audit form if you have decided not to do a paper and want your status changed from credit to audit.


Russia Today poster [.pdf]