Smolny Beyond Borders

A Liberal Arts Initiative

The Russia Paradox: Political History of the Russian Empire(s)

Russia paradox


Course Schedule:

Spring 2024 | Monday; Wednesday 08:30 AM - 09:50 AM EST

Semester: Spring 2023
Course Level:
Subject: HIS (History)
Schedule: Monday; Wednesday 08:30 AM – 09:50 AM EST
Max Enrollment22
Language of Instruction: English

What realities, myths, objective patterns, and contradictions are concealed within the notion of the Russian Empire, including its pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet incarnations? The country’s political history of the last three centuries exemplifies such paradoxes as territorial and political unifications as well as disintegrations; forced Russification as well as ethnic diversity; ideological hegemony and cultural pluralism; blatant corruption, but also charity and compassion.

Guidelines for the Statement of Purpose:

Craft a reflective statement of purpose explaining your interest in the Smolny Beyond Borders online course. The file should be saved with your name and course title as the filename and uploaded accordingly. Your statement’s clarity and substance will significantly influence our selection. Convey your motivations and aspirations for this course succinctly but thoroughly. Kindly write your statement in the course’s Language of Instruction.

Application Portal Instructions:

1) Use the Latin alphabet for all entries on the portal, including your name. If the Language of Instruction is Russian, you may use Cyrillic only within the Statement of Purpose file, and the title of the file should still be in English.
2) Refrain from using email addresses associated with Russian or Belarusian educational institutions.
3) While completing the “Required Information” section, ensure you fill in the “Province” field for your address.
4) Provide an address outside Russia or Belarus in both the “Required Information” and “Geographic Location Confirmation” sections of the “Online Course Application”. This ensures we can send your transcript.
5) You must press the “Sign” button twice during the application.
6) If you hold a bachelor’s degree, select “4th+” in the “Academic Year (online)” section.
7) Applicants either unaffiliated or affiliated with educational institutions in Russia and Belarus should list ‘Smolny Beyond Borders’ as their educational institution.
8) In the student ID section, enter ‘SBB’.
9) Consider drafting your motivation letter ahead of time. Save it as a separate file with this format: LastName_FirstName_CourseTitle for a smoother application process, and send to the following address: helpdesk[at]