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Understanding Contemporary Russia

Michael L. Bressler, editor
Understanding Contemporary Russia
ISBN: 978-1-58826-586-9
ISBN: 978-1-58826-561-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-446-1
2008/423 pages/LC: 2008014892
Understanding: Introductions to the States and Regions of the Contemporary World

"A solid and insightful introduction to Russia.... thoughtful and balanced.... [It is] a valuable addition to Russian studies."—Walter G. Moss, The Russian Review

"A great background reader for those looking for a quick and fairly complete evaluation of the many sides of Russia.”—Choice

"Provides a wealth of material.... Written in a style that will be accessible at the introductory level—but without simplifying—this book thoroughly and engagingly covers the most important dimensions of Russian politics, society, and culture from the establishment of the Russian state to the present."—Linda J. Cook, Brown University

"Truly unique in its comprehensiveness and its attention to historical context."—Michael McFaul, Stanford University


Understanding Contemporary Russia provides a thorough introduction to a country currently in the midst of political, economic, and social transformation. Interdisciplinary in design, the book is intended for use as a core text in introductory survey and politics courses and also as a supplement in a variety of discipline-oriented courses.

The authors draw on the best scholarship in their fields to provide sophisticated yet accessible treatments of subjects ranging from geography and history, to politics, economics, and international relations, to ethnicity, population, health, the environment, the role of women, religion, and literature and film. Numerous maps, photographs, and suggestions for further reading enhance the text.


Michael L. Bressler is professor of political science at Furman University.


  • Introduction—M.L. Bressler.
  • Russia: A Geographic Preface—D.J.B. Shaw.
  • The Historical Context—S.G. Marks.
  • Politics—M.L. Bressler.
  • The Economy—J.R. Millar.
  • International Relations—A.C. Lynch.
  • Ethnicity and Identity—K.E. Graney.
  • Population, Health, and Migration—T. Heleniak.
  • Environmental Problems—P.R. Pryde.
  • Women in a Changing Context—S.L. Henderson.
  • Religion—O. Kazmina.
  • Literature and Film—A. Barker.
  • Trends and Prospects—M.L. Bressler.