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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Russian History: from Lenin to Putin by University of California, Santa Cruz

693 ratings

About the Course

In this course, Peter Kenez, Professor Emeritus at UC Santa Cruz, explains the events of modern Russian history and introduces its most significant actors—from Vladimir Lenin to Vladimir Putin....

Top reviews


Sep 14, 2020

I found that course had a central theme, the incompatibility of the Communist structures with an increase in the standard of living, that was well documented from the time of Lenin to that of Putin.


Jul 18, 2022

Very informative and well presented. Professor Kenez gives a thorough explanation of why Russia is what it is. It's the history from the Czarist regime to the common era. Thank you, Professor!

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26 - 50 of 260 Reviews for Russian History: from Lenin to Putin

By Shaleen P

Jun 13, 2018

Very clear and in-depth discussion of events.

By Tony M

Feb 22, 2019

Excellent teacher and course!

By Danny T

Feb 22, 2018

Great course. Well Done!

By Jimena C

Jul 13, 2020

Excellent Teacher!!!!

By Derek Z

Jul 13, 2018

I really appreciated Prof. Kenez's knowledge and passion of the topics covered, as well as he style of communication. Great for an introductory course, for someone with no previous knowledge on Russian history. I would recommend taking this course, very interesting. However, a 3 week course may not be long enough to cover 100 years of Russian history. I found the quizzes to be extremely easy (the quiz questions are pretty much all previously asked during the lectures), and the transcripts of the lesson are way off.

By Drue C

Dec 5, 2017

Very interesting information, unfortunately had to drop it while attempting to balance high school material. The professor had some instances where it was extremely difficult to understand him, and the transcript at times was incomprehensible (which, I assume, is a result of poor transcription). 100% would complete this course if I had the time to.

By Joy S

Jan 1, 2018

As an American, I learned that there has been misunderstanding about the Russians in my country. They have a different way of thinking than we do and some of the things they said have been misconstrued. They have had difficult times and are not the monsters we have been taught they were.

By John C

Sep 9, 2019

This course gave me a greater understanding of some of the misconceptions of Russia, I came to realize that people are similar the world over. Very interesting course.

By Stella M

Dec 23, 2017

A great introduction to Russian history.

By Shaun L T G

Jun 23, 2020

Appreciate the wealth of information Prof Kenez has and the attempts to tell the history of Russia, capturing the period of the last hundred years in three weeks. However, I found certain parts difficult to understand and some of the points brought in do not fit the lecture. In "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact", Prof Kenez brought in the Finnish-Russian War where the Russian losses were 6x that of Finnish ones though the link to the actual pact is quite unclear. In "German Invasion of the Soviet Union", the telling is quite unclear and I had to read the transcript a few times to make sense of the military history behind Germany's invasion of Russia. Around 11:06, he says that even if the Nazis captured Moscow, they would have lost the war but doesn't explain why. This will then make you think that the Russians somehow managed to halt the Nazis but around 11:49, he says that Stalin attempted a counterattack which wasn't quite successful. While I appreciate the effort to take us through the twists and turns, I often had to read the transcript a few times to gain greater clarity of the topic.

By Novindah S

Jul 12, 2020

This course is an excellent overview of Russian History. It will definitely help you grasp the most basic bits but you should keep in mind that there will be bias, propaganda, and gatekeeping. So my advice for anyone taking this course is to be critical of everything and stop being intellectually lazy. Radicalize yourself.

By Greg L

Apr 15, 2018

The flow of the lectures was challenging to follow and, while the opinions of the professor appeared to be logical and well founded, I struggled with finding documented support for some of the assertions.

By Tetiana D

Nov 20, 2017

up to the last lecture it was more or less ok. But the last lecture is outrageous. Almost all of its statements took directly from russian propaganda. If i were more paranoid I would think that it is paid by russia propaganda, but maybe professor watched to much russia today channel. I don't recommend to take this course it, especially last part. It is misleading and full of inaccuracy with facts. If you want more detailed analysis see my post in discussion forum week3

By Christopher N B

Jul 22, 2020

The course is not that academic. The professor 's English is difficult to understand. The English translations are appalling.

I came looking for a course to give me some academic achievement. This is not this course.

Plus a number of the essays to critique were obvious polemics trying to masquerade as essays of students.

This course I would not recommend to anyone, like myself, who is genuinely interested in the history of that fabulous country: Russia.

By Annie M

Apr 12, 2019

The professor may well know his subject but he cannot lecture. His speech is so slow and the sentences complex, therefore making it difficult to follow. I'll just read the text I bought. Coursera, you failed again.

By Vincent R

Jun 16, 2022

I would like to thanks Professor Kenez for this amazing introduction history. My story is interesting, as my partner is Russian but I worked training Ukrainian army against corruption many times in Kiev. While I have always been aware of the political differences and tension, I also developped friendships with both Ukrainians and Russians. In Western Europe, where I live, people don't know nor understand Russia and this is, in my view, a great mistake. The war in Ukraine could propobably have been avoided if the West had tried to continue a true dialogue with Russia. I really appreciated Professor Kenez empathy (sometimes he was very emotional in the videos) for the Russian people, who have and continue to suffer tremendously. thank you so much and greeting from Brussels!

By Vivienne M

Apr 14, 2020

I have learned many new things and I really liked the subject.

To follow this course you need some background information, such as what Stalinism is or who Marx is or Bolsjeviks are. I had some information learned at high school in the Netherlands, so i could follow it.

I advise to give a bit more attention to the cold war.I've learned other perspectives now, but for me I couldn't follow the origin and the development of it. It looked now if it only ended because of the major financial investments in military, but there were also other negotations I guess?

But I really liked the course and I'm curious to learn more about this country. I even bought a book:

frank westerman - engineers of the soul . You would like it (about the role of authors in the 20th century)

By pierre v

Feb 11, 2018

What a gem of a course! I loved everything about it. When I was a boy in the 1970s, my interest in history was kick started by an ITV series called 'The World at War', with Laurence Olivier as the narrator. It was fascinating to me. The thrill of listening to this series of lectures, reconnected me with the excitement and sense of wonder which I experienced back then. Peter Kenez has so much knowledge on this subject, and his presentation and treatment of the information was fascinating. I gained so much insight into the history of Russia and the events which shaped modern day Russia. Thank you for enriching my life and allowing me to see the world in new ways.

By Carol L S

Jan 28, 2020

The material was presented in a very clear and coherent way. I knew a little about Russian history from my study of theatre. This course filled in many gaps and gave me a better understanding of the Russian people--more compassion for them than I already had. The lectures were excellent and the quizzes helped to re-enforce material covered in the lectures. The only thing I found disappointing was that there was no interaction in the discussion forums. The professor interacting with us or TAs interacting with us would have encouraged more students to get involved. In some classes I've learned almost as much in the discussion forums as from the lectures.

By Maksim H

Dec 20, 2017

I cannot recommend this course more than giving it five stars. Actually a one-star review have sparked my interest to go through the history of my motherland from the perspective of the foreign professor. Reviewer claimed that professor is biased towards Putin and watches Russia Today all the time. It cannot be further from the truth! After listening week three I am convinced that this "reviewer" is actually a Kremlin-paid-troll whose only aim to discredit this material.

The story is filled with empathy to russian people and I am genuinely grateful to professor Kenez for sharing these lectures and his efforts to shed light on troubled russian history.

By Genia U

Aug 4, 2020

Encuentro que es un curso fantástico. Para empezar la metodología es muy cómoda. Los vídeos están muy bien hechos. No es que sean una gran producción, pero me gusta el hecho de que se grabe al profesor hablando (lo hace más cercano) y se combine con imágenes (te ayuda mucho a hacerte una idea de lo que se está hablando). Otra cosa que me ha gustado es que los vídeos hablan de una sola idea: esto es genial porque puede profundizar en ella a la vez que son vídeos cortos. Es un curso que recomendaría.

By Leo P

Aug 12, 2019

I came across this course as a second thought. I don't know anything about Russian History aside from the very basics and what one can catch from watching the news. However, to listen to Peter Kenez speak is a blessing. He is informative without being pedantic and does something that is often taken for granted, he passes on his passion for the subject to the students. I am now incredibly interested in Russian history, even as far as implementing it into my work. Thank you Coursera!

By Luisa J

Sep 13, 2018

This course is amazing.... I'm not a historian but history is my hobby and I love reading about WWII and Russian history. This course was perfect because I just read a book on the Tzarist period and this was the perfect complement. Professor Kenez is very knowledgeable and it's incredible how he speaks without reading notes or having a script to look at...

I found this course to be very complete, enjoyable and interesting and I would highly recommend it. Thank you professor.

By Jose L R

May 20, 2020

Interesante y llevadero. Dan ganas de seguir cada vez que uno termina uno de los videos. Muy bien el Prof. Kenez.

Sugiero tan solo que se recomienden lecturas al final de cada Semana; si puede haber alguna explicación de las fotos mas significativas que aparecen sería de buena ayuda para la comprensión de cada clase .

Y agregar un curso sobre la cultura rusa en los siglos 19 y 20.

Muchas gracias por la posibilidad de aprender en forma gratuita. Felicitaciones.

By tyevia g

Jul 17, 2020

The course, Russian History from Lenin to Putin was very good. I enjoyed the lectures and found many points of reference for personal research and further learning.

I found the Coursera format a little awkward. In particular, the discussion forums, allowing learners to add comments to any of the discussions including those started months ago whilst ignoring the same discussion thread started at the same time as they are learning.