Christopher Danziger, tutor, Oxford University Department of Continuing Education

The state we today call Russia is a relatively recent creation, forged from bleakly unpromising material, sparsely populated, protected by few natural borders, ethnically, linguistically and religiously diverse. To create from it a single political unit required superhuman energy, ambition and imagination. It also may have required a brutal and callous indifference to opponents, domestic or foreign, who stood in the way. The citizens of few countries have suffered as much from the hands of their own rulers as the Russians. It has always been a place where the state thrived while the people withered. The superpower of today is the product of ruthless tyrants, whom, fascinatingly, the Russians remember not with loathing but with adulation and even love. This course looks at the five who did most to create the superpower of today.



1. Grand Prince/Tsar Ivan the Terrible                        

2. Tsar/Emperor Peter the Great                  

3. Empress Catherine the Great    

4. General Secretary Iosif Dzhugashvili (aka Stalin)

5. President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin  


Recommended reading

Massie, R. 2016. Peter the Great: His Life and Work.  London: Head of Zeus.

Montefiore, S.S. 2016. The Romanovs: 1613–1918. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Myers, S.L. 2016. The new Tsar: the rise and reign of Vladimir Putin. London: Simon & Schuster.

Service, R. 2010. Stalin: A Biography. London: Pan.



Date:  21 – 25 January 
Time: 9.15 am
COURSE FEES Full: R550,00  Staff and Students R275,00
Venue: LT1 Kramer Law Building UCT