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Supplemental Materials

Supplemental Materials includes links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.


Choices produces videos featuring top experts—professors, policymakers, journalists, activists, and artists—answering questions that complement the readings and lessons.

Russia's Transformation

Russia's Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy

Fourth edition. February 2015.


U.S. relations with Russia are entering a new phase. Russia has emerged from the turmoil it experienced after the Soviet Union fell and is claiming a new role in international relations, a role that has led to disagreements with the United States. Russia has sought to assert its own course in the world and reestablish the influence and respect that it believes a country of its size and strength deserves. How the United States should handle this evolving relationship is an open question. Russia's Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy is designed to help to students consider this important issue.

This unit replaces Charting Russia's Future and Russia's Uncertain Transition


The background readings have been written to prepare students to thoughtfully consider the policy choices before them. Part I offers an historical overview of U.S. relations with the Russian empire and the Soviet Union. Part II surveys the economic and political changes that Russia has undergone since the Soviet collapse. Part III concentrates on the leading challenges facing U.S. policymakers with respect to Russia and its neighbors.

The Choices Role Play

At the center of this curriculum is a simulation in which students debate three distinct options for U.S. policy. Each option contains a different perspective on the threats and opportunities presented by conditions in Russia. By exploring this spectrum of alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the values and assumptions underlying U.S. foreign policy.


Examining the Principles of U.S. Cold War Policy
In this lesson students examine George Kennan's 1947 Foreign Affairs article. Students identify the beliefs that formed the basis of his views and analyze his thesis.

U.S.-Soviet Propaganda
After examining selections from a Soviet textbook and a U.S. comic book, students analyze the impact of propaganda on international politics.

Geography of Russia
Students practice map-reading skills and consider how geography affects international politics.

Looking at Russia
Students analyze photographs of present day Russia to learn about Russian life and society. Students consider the benefits and limitations of using photographs as a source for learning about Russia.

The Options Role Play
The three policy options are designed to help students clarify their thoughts and, ultimately, articulate their own views. Each option is grounded in a clearly defined philosophy about the U.S. role in the world and the U.S. relationship to Russia.

Constructing Policy
In a culminating activity after the options role play, students articulate their own recommendations for U.S. policy toward Russia and compare their guidelines to a those outlined in a speech by President Obama. Students then assess a speech by Russia's President Putin that outlines the Russia's rationale for Russian policy in the Crimean Peninsula and Ukraine.