R312 Winter 2020 20th Century Russia and the “Near Abroad”
Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 28–Feb. 11
Instructor: Ed Janusz
Russia’s drive to control its “near abroad,” a term for lands directly to its west, whether driven by a quest for a Slavic empire or by fear of invasion, is a well-documented aspect of Russian history. This class will address three periods in the early and mid-20th century when that quest manifested itself in armed conflict. The first was the 1919–1920 Polish/Russian/Ukrainian war, an event the Poles refer to as the “Miracle on the Vistula,” a little-known war that contained the Communist revolution for at least two decades. The second was the Soviet invasion of Poland and the Baltic countries at the start of WWII. The third was the conquest and subjugation of those lands at the end of WWII. These events laid the groundwork for the struggle for world supremacy known as the Cold War. That struggle has reemerged in current times, with Russia again threatening its near abroad regions such as Ukraine, the Baltic republics, and Poland. The class will be presented from both a western perspective and from the perspective of the residents of the near abroad countries affected by Russia’s expansionist policies.
Ed Janusz is an engineer with a BS from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and MS from Arizona State University, and an amateur military historian. He retired after a career in the US Army Corps of Engineers and the aerospace and computer services industries. He is the author of Fading Echoes from the Baltic Shores.