This course explores Russia’s unique journey through the twentieth century, an era that saw the death of the Empire, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, and the founding of the Russian Federation, a young country that remains in flux. It will focus primarily on the triumphs and tragedies of the Soviet era, which we will examine from a variety of angles, including power politics, economic development, everyday life, and creative expression. As we make our way from revolutionary utopianism to authoritarianism, from stagnation to thwarted rebirth, we will listen to a variety of voices. Through close reading and discussion of primary sources, supplemented by lectures, we will discover the perspectives of workers-turned-Stalinist elites, “modernized” minorities, liberated but overburdened women, dissidents dreaming of a better world, and more. Throughout the semester, our goal will be to make sense of the Soviet experience and begin to understand how the events of the past hundred years have contributed to the development of the Russia we know today. This course will build skills in close reading, creative thinking, analytical writing, and vibrant debate.