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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Stalin and Stalinism in Russian History by HSE University

152 ratings
53 reviews

About the Course

This online course presents the life and deeds of Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 till 1953. It discusses the reasons for his actions and their results, as well as the causes of his popularity in Russia today. It offers an analysis of the phenomenon of Stalinism and of its significance for Russia and beyond. In the late 1920s – early 1930s Stalin directed the massive and rapid industrialisation of the country and the forced collectivisation of its agriculture. The industrialisation was based on forced labour, and collectivisation on repression, but both helped to create the material base for the Soviet defence industry. In the late 1930s Stalin unleashed mass terror against the Soviet people, in which millions perished. In his view this helped to rid the country of any potential internal enemies on the eve of the coming war. The USSR, together with its allies, won the Second World War, but at the cost of dozens of millions of lives. Stalin was instrumental in creating the post-war order. The system which he created in the 1930s shaped the USSR as it was during his lifetime and for decades after his death. It also influenced the lives of millions of people beyond the Soviet borders. Stalin and his methods remain popular among significant segments of the Russian population to this day. The course is designed for the beginner level: for all those who want to know more about the history of Russia, particularly in the 20th century. It will enable those who take it to develop an informed understanding of the Stalin era and of the phenomenon of Stalinism. It can be taken independently or as a distance learning supplement to the off-line courses on Soviet history....

Top reviews

Mar 12, 2019

A great course. A very interesting topic that gives a lot of details. A good course for people interested in history. The assignments at the end of the lecture help to remember all the material.

Apr 12, 2019

This was quite detailed. There is so much to be learned from this class. And to think, it all is relatively recent history. Thank you.

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1 - 25 of 52 Reviews for Stalin and Stalinism in Russian History

By Arthur R

Dec 24, 2017

History from the neo-liberal perspective. Tendentious and lopsided to be point of being comical at times.

By Roberto M R

Jan 4, 2020

It is almost impossible to complete this course with so many peer reviews to do and not sufficient peers to review. I have been in this course for half a year and completed all my assignments months and months ago and still have not been able to get a certificate because of the stupid requirements of a lot of peer reviews. Who is the instructor for this course? I think he or she may need to take a class in pedagogy.

By Miguel Á R A

Jul 21, 2020

Ausente de criticismo, se enumeran numerosos datos sin ningún fundamento científico y sin respaldo de fuentes. Un curso mediocre.

By Lars G

May 29, 2020

Cool presentation of one of the most important leaders in the 20th century. Irina explains and educate you in a charming un-american way. Recommended!

By Matthew A

Mar 22, 2018

Very interesting course. Well taught and good materials. Note that coursework relies on weekly mini-essays and a final longer essay.

By Richard T

Dec 22, 2020

Interesting subject-matter covered by a good syllabus but, alas, not a university-level course -- not even high school level, not even a course, more like a series of videos unified byba common theme. First, the assessment mechanism is entirely flawed. In a freshman/sophomore level class, it is meaningless to have three students grade another student's essays. A recognized expert needs to do the grading -- someone' whose expertise was garnered from successful post-graduate academic accomplishment in a relevant sphere of studies corresponding to the topical content of the course. There is a gross failure of quality control to have grading driven by students who themselves are neophytes. Moreover, grading rubrics offered are inapt and, as written, poor generic devices to evaluate essays. By the end of the course, from the essays I read, students seemed unable to synthesize knowledge and undertake critical analysis of historical evidence (important intended learning outcomes in a history course). Second, essays are not subject to any kind of plagiarism checking of even the most rudimentary kind; it may be permissible to quote from the lecture material but it is not permissible to cut and paste from the internet without attribution. Third, reading material is not linked to the lectures. Information content in the videos is fairly sparse. I used two books, on my own initiative [Khlevniuk, Stalin; Montefiore, Young Stalin) to supplement the relatively meager information garnered from the lectures. Fourth, the lecturer, while obviously knowledgeable, speaks in English at a slow pace, a speed about half that which is normal, as if it is a English as a foreign language (EFL) class. Obviously, then 12 minutes of her speaking only delivers 6 minutes that a speaker at a normal speach pace would deliver. Better if she would just deliver at normal pace Russian (her native language) and simply provide a transcript in English scrolling down as she speaks. Fifth, the assessment mechanism focuses on an essay, at the end of every unit, that until the last and second-to-last essay, requires only regurgitation of lecture content. The last two essays are more profound requiring research content but, alas, both are due at the same time and there is no time do valuable research. Worse, I noticed that students submitted essays, for these two items, wholly irrelevant to the topic stipulated by the instructor; those in question clearly did not understand the question yet Coursera then "employs" them, as a course requirement, to grade others' submissions? To say the least, this is really problematic.

By Stephen B

Nov 27, 2017

A very interesting review of recent Russian and Soviet history, offering a good insight into the person and the times that created it and influenced much of Russian society today. The lectures are easy to follow and nicely descriptive. The weekly essays, required for completion of the course, were thought-provoking, and the range of ideas and perspectives presented in the student essays (peer review of which also is required) was very interesting, too.There were only a few minor problems; for example, sometimes the script for each lecture, which is provided below the lecture video area, wasn't correct because of mistyping or misunderstanding of what was spoken. Also, in a couple of cases, the peer-review forms had rating sections that were confusing or not exactly correct for the specific essay being reviewed. But overall, it was an excellent course, presented in a balanced and professional way.

By David H

Mar 20, 2020

I found this course very interesting and taught in an easy to learn manner. Right from lesson one it followed a chronological order and explained how all the different people and events combined. I learned much more than I ever thought I would and recommend it to anyone in interests to learn more.

By Maria C É Á

Jan 3, 2019

Excellent course ! I've enrolled in several Coursera Courses and this is one of the best. Professor Filatova has designed a clear and wide syllabus, the issues are well fundamented and it "opens space" for further research. Good study materials and presentation on the whole. Clara Águas

By Miguel V

Sep 22, 2017

The best course to understand the Russian History for 20th Century.

Really nice and interesting video lectures for each chapter.

I really like the friendly atmosphere form other students who check your weekly "homework".

100% recommend.

By Irina B

Mar 13, 2019

A great course. A very interesting topic that gives a lot of details. A good course for people interested in history. The assignments at the end of the lecture help to remember all the material.

By Nancy K

Apr 12, 2019

This was quite detailed. There is so much to be learned from this class. And to think, it all is relatively recent history. Thank you.

By Yuka I

Jan 5, 2019

Excellent course. Very well prepared, the talk of lecturer is interesting, the content itself is intriguing.

By María F

Aug 30, 2021

Muy completo. El conocimiento y la narración de la profesora es muy bueno.


Aug 12, 2020

An interesting, well-built course. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

By celestial c

Feb 23, 2018

Very Good course to supplement study of Soviet history!

By M D

May 3, 2021

Excellent course that delves deeply into Stalin and Russian history. Initially I thought the instructor video was a bit dry, however she presents very intelligently and the excellent accompanying PowerPoint complemented the instructor. Reviewing peers work reinforced my learning. This course is a time investment, but I was disappointed when it ended. Highly recommend if you're interested in subject matter. Also very interesting discussion of propaganda with images followed by photos of what was occurring.

By Kathy C

Oct 5, 2021

What a great course! So very interesting, I learned a lot.

I've found the global trend to authoritarianism to be disturbing, particularly (of course) now that it's reached the USA. As a result, I've been studying History, both of the USA and global. This is one of the most interesting History courses I've taken, and I liked the format with the pictures, etc.

D​ear Professor and HSE University, please do more courses like this!

By Marcy H

Jan 11, 2018

Excellent course -- very informative, directed us to a lot of external resources. I also enjoyed the professor's presentation. The topics she presented most of the time were certainly not jovial and her presentation reflected the seriousness with which she treated the topics.

I recommend this course to anyone interested in Russian history, or this period in either western or eastern European history.

By D L Z

Sep 5, 2018

This is one of the best courses that I have taken on Coursera. I really learned a lot! It is very well presented and the system of writing something every week is a great learning tool. Excellent Professor. Very proficient mentor, too. Thank you very much for the opportunity to learn so much about Stalin and Soviet life.

By George H H

Feb 15, 2021

This course is interesting, thought provoking and immensely interesting. The Professor's presentations were stimulating and gave an insightful view of Russian History during a world changing period. I really enjoyed this course and would recommend it wholeheartedly. Thank you Professor Filatova.

By Weronika K

Oct 21, 2017

Very informative and objective account of Stalinism with wide background (from Lenin till today) allowing to see "the bigger picture". Highly recommended for anybody interested in 20th century history and/or trying to understand Russia and Soviet Union.

By DragonBarView S T

Nov 17, 2017

An excellent introduction to one of the most important figures of the 20th century. Clearly and simply presented this course encourages the student to find out more. The assignments were challenging and thought-provoking.

By Christopher S

Sep 6, 2020

I took this course purely for the pleasure of learning more about this fascinating subject. Although I did not participate in the peer-graded elements, I enjoyed te lectures and video classes immensely. Thank you.