• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest History, International Relations, Political Sciences, European Studies, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Filip Slaveski
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

In October 1917, a small band of Marxist revolutionaries called the Bolsheviks seized control of the largest country in the world, Russia, and declared they were building a new civilization. Just before its collapse in 1991, this “civilization” encompassed a third of the globe and its shadow continues to frame, indeed, haunt munch of it. How did this small band of radicals achieve this remarkable goal? This course traces how the Bolsheviks maintained and expanded their rule through civil war, rapid industrialization, colossal loss of life to famine and terror, Nazi invasion and the Cold War before the Soviet Empire collapsed in a remarkably bloodless dissolution in 1991. Some of the questions the course asks include: What was Communism and how did it triumph? How did the Bolsheviks go about creating their new civilization in an ancient and multiethnic Empire and then across the world? Who opposed them and what happened to them? What was life like before, under and after Stalin? Did a regime that had withstood civil war, invasion and cold war simply resign itself so meekly to the dustbin of history in 1991, as many thought at the time, or has more recent developments in Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet space cast doubt on this thesis? 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the history of the Soviet Union and Russian Revolution;
  2. critically evaluate key interpretations of the social, cultural and political history of Russia in the twentieth century;
  3. conduct research, analyse and integrate primary and secondary sources and present their research in written form; and
  4. demonstrate the significance of Soviet history for the contemporary world.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research Essay (2,500 words) (45) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Final Exam, Take Home (45) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Class Participation (10) [LO 1,2,4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorial and tutorial-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HIST6242.

Prescribed Texts

Not required

Preliminary Reading

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Shortest History of the Soviet Union'. Black Inc. 2022.

M. Lewin, The Soviet Century. (G. Elliot, Ed.). New York: Verso, 2016.

David Hoffmann, ed., Stalinism: The Essential Readings, Blackwell, 2003.

R. G. Suny, The Structure of Soviet History: Essays and Documents (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8235 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions