With its magnificent literature and culture, richly expressive language and fascinating history and politics, Russia appeals to a wide variety of interests. At Oxford, you can study Russian from scratch, or continue from A-level (or equivalent) standard; you can study Russian by itself, or in combination with another European or Middle Eastern language, or with subjects including History, English or Classics. The Oxford Russian course will equip you with deep knowledge and understanding of Russian language and culture, both in the classroom and on the undergraduate year abroad in Russia (or other Russian-speaking regions such as Central Asia, the Baltic countries, Ukraine and Belarus), developing skills of major significance in today’s international context. Our graduates can be found in every profession, from the civil service, diplomacy and law to academia, journalism, the arts and even stand-up comedy.
During your Russian course here, you will read some of the greatest works of recent European culture in the original, and acquire an in-depth command of one of the world’s most widely spoken and challenging languages. The range and the flexibility of the Oxford undergraduate and graduate courses provide subjects for rewarding study which might include, for example, the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Pushkin’s poetry, or the latest writing from contemporary Russia; the history of the Russian language and its development up to the present day; works from the Russia of Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Stalin or Putin; and topics in film, theatre, the visual arts and music. There is also the possibility of learning a second, third, or even a fourth Slavonic language as part of your Russian course, including Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Polish.
The Oxford Russian and Slavonic Sub-faculty is one of the largest, most distinguished and wide-ranging centres for Slavonic studies in the world. Oxford faculty conduct world-class, cutting-edge research on topics including Slavonic historical linguistics and Enlightenment culture, Russian literature from the medieval era to the present day, and Russian film, theatre and music. Current and recent research projects include ‘Soviet Arthouse: a History of the Lenfilm studio’ (Catriona Kelly); ‘Revolution Rekindled: the Writers and Readers of Late Soviet Biography’ (Polly Jones); ‘The Poet’s Echo: Art Song in Russia, 1730-2000’ (Philip Bullock); the Oxford History of Russian Literature (2018), edited by Andrew Kahn; ‘Russian Theatre in the Age of Vladimir Putin’ (Julie Curtis); ‘Syntacticus: a Treebank of Early Indo-European Languages’ (Hanne Eckhoff). Several Sub-faculty members are also involved in the major AHRC-funded project ‘Creative Multilingualism’. Our academics often write for the press (e.g. Catriona Kelly on Soviet film in The Guardian; Polly Jones on ‘The Death of Stalin’ in the ‘i’ paper) and broadcast on radio and television (e.g. Andrew Kahn on Pushkin and Catriona Kelly on Chekhov and Tolstoy on Radio 4’s In Our Time). They appear as expert advisors and commentators on theatre and opera productions (e.g. Julie Curtis at the National Theatre; Julie Curtis and Philip Bullock at Garsington Opera). Members of the Sub-faculty are also active in literary translation, with Oliver Ready the recipient of a number of international translation prizes.
Russian undergraduates and graduates benefit from a large and lively community in the university and the city of Oxford. A wide range of Russian-related activities and events take place throughout the year in Oxford, from the Sub-faculty’s weekly research seminar, to regular international conferences, Russian film showings, author visits and Oxford University Russian Society events.