Russia remains a key player in international affairs during the COVID-19 outbreak. When the COVID-19 crisis erupted, Russia took several decisive steps to safeguard its sovereignty and increase its soft power capabilities: closing its border to China and developing its own Sputnik-V vaccine for use throughout the world. Over the course of the pandemic, Russia’s preparedness also ran into several difficulties: low levels of domestic interest in vaccination, questions over Sputnik’s effectiveness and production capabilities and concern that the state was more interested in using vaccines as a tool of international diplomacy over domestic needs. COVID-19 thereby serves as a critical issue to assess broader political and societal factors in Russia and its relation to the international system. What exactly is Russia’s role in the world? Does international/regional prestige outweigh domestic demands? How should we envisage the Russian domestic realm, the economic situation, and the means that are employed by the Kremlin to address challenges at home and abroad? This summer school aims at exploring and explaining these questions with a specific focus on the effect that the COVID-19 crisis has had on Russia’s political and societal life over the past year.
The summer school will take place from July 12 till July 16, 2021 in an online format. Students will participate in seven interactive classes, covering a wide range of topics addressed by leading experts to examine the impact of COVID-19 on Russia, whilst gaining a better understanding of Russian politics and society in general. Participants are encouraged to be active in order to create a stimulating and interactive learning environment. In this light, participating students are asked at the start of the summer school to choose a topic relating to the overall focus of the summer school, which they will present at the final day of the summer school in cooperation with other students to a panel of experts. A detailed overview of the programme can be found on the second page of the brochure.