This course will help participants to better understand what is happening in Russia and the role Russia sees for herself in the world. The course will begin by looking at what is currently happening in Russia under Vladimir Putin, and the events that led to his rise to power soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will next look at the physical geography of the region and identify the continuing problems and/or characteristics that have been present throughout Russia’s long history. These continuing problems and/or characteristics will be stressed and reexamined throughout the course. Then -- like a Russian Matryoshka Doll -- we will delve back into Russia’s earliest history and then chronologically study her rich and fascinating history. The course will conclude by coming full circle as we look at the events that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of Vladimir Putin.