Modern Languages and Literatures


  • Why study Russian?

    Russian is spoken:

    • by millions of people from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean;

    • by those interested in international affairs and business opportunities in the East;

    • by those interested in science and mathematics where Russia still leads;

    • by those wanting to explore the Russian heritage in this country, particularly in Brooklyn and the neighbourhood of Brighton Beach.

    Top Ten Reasons to Study Russia & Russian

    1. Russia is the world’s largest country. Stretching across two continents, it is almost double the size of either the United States or China. Found within that huge land mass is a wide diversity of peoples, religions, climatic and geographic conditions.

    2. There are an estimated 279 million speakers (native plus nonnative) of Russian. That puts Russian in fifth place on the list of languages spoken by the most people, trailing only Mandarin, English, Hindi, and Spanish. (Source: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1998).

    3. Russia is home to some of the worldâs best composers such as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, etc.
    4. Russia is currently engaged in a grand experiment in political, social, and economic transformation. How it fares will help determine the character of the 21st century not only for Russia but for the world as a whole.

    5. Lots of Americans have seen the Eiffel Tower, visited Buckingham Palace, and toured the Vatican. A lot fewer have strolled within the Kremlin walls, experienced the “white nights” of St. Petersburg, or spent an afternoon sampling the treasures of the Hermitage. Studying Russia will not only give you the excuse and opportunity to engage in such adventures, but will insure that you more fully understand and appreciate them when you do.

    6. Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Rasputin, Lenin, Stalin, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, etc. Can you think of a more intriguing set of historical characters?

    7. Russia is in economic crisis. Yet its vast resources and highly educated population suggest that it is a country of great economic potential. Boom or bust, the size of Russia alone suggests that its economic course will have global repercussions.

    8. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of people studying Russian in the US has declined. That may mean less competition in the job market for those who do study and master the language– especially if the economic revitalization that some expect to see in Russia does in fact materialize.

    9. Russia remains a nuclear superpower armed with thousands of weapons of mass destruction. For this reason alone, the character of the Russian government and its ability to exercise command and control over its nuclear arsenal is a primary concern (perhaps the primary concern) of US national security policy.

    10. Some of the world’s most famous authors are Russian: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn, Nabokov, Pasternak, etc. Need one say more?

    Other Useful Links

    Click here for a web site put together by teachers of Russian that will give you more information on the benefits of learning Russian.

  • Courses & requirements
    • Loading...




  • Russian Table

    Tuesdays @ Common Lunch in Breazzano House
    Говорите по-русски? Нет? Каждый вторник мы приглашаем ВСЕХ
    на чашку чая. Приходите, будет весело!
    Interested in Russian culture? Want some help with your homework?
    Join us at the Russian Table for some games, and good chat

  • Study abroad

    Spring Term in Irkutsk, Russia (2014)

    Students interested in global environmental issues as well as those hoping to gain a better understanding of Russian language and culture are invited to join Professor Kristin Bidoshi for an experience of a life time in Irkutsk, Russia. Siberia is renowned for its pristine environment. Ride the Trans-Siberian railway, walk along the Angara River, hike the beautiful trails and experience everything Lake Baikal has to offer. Affectionately known as the Blue Pearl of Siberia, Lake Baikal is the world’s largest, deepest, freshwater lake, holding 20% of the world’s surface fresh water. The area is also home to the Buryat tribes, Mongols whose ancestors suffered the wrath of Genghis Kahn, yet continue to enjoy a close relationship to the land as reindeer herders. Evenings in downtown Irkutsk, a city of 600,000, offer a variety of entertainment, from traditional Buryat folk festivals to concerts at the Philharmonic, from strolls along the Angara River to experiencing the active night club scene. Tour the Kremlin in Moscow and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg on our end of the term excursions to the present-day and former capital of Russia.

    Course of Study

    Students will study the history and environment of Siberia both in a formal classroom setting (at Irkutsk State University) and beyond the classroom as they take an active role in understanding and working with the major forces of environmental activism in the city. Through participation in carefully selected internships, students will have the opportunity to work in local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Great Lake Baikal Trail, schools or museums.

    The courses offered in Irkutsk are:

    History and Environment of SiberiaRussian Language (RUS 100-300T, depending on placement level) and Siberia Internship MLT300T (seeking WAC credit). The History and Environment of Siberia and Russian Language course will be taught by faculty at Irkutsk State University; the MLT 300T: Siberia Internship course will be taught by Prof. Bidoshi who will also place students in internships based on their individual interests. Weekly structured exercises are designed to help students understand local culture and local organizations, and students will devise an original longer project in the second half of the term. Students will work in the community for 10-12 hours per week. The program is sponsored through the School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS), a third party provider.


    In and around Irkutsk: Lake Baikal, Ulan Ude trip (to see the largest statue of Lenin’s head in the world, Ivolginsky Datsan a monastery in the heart of Buddhist Russia, a tour of yurts, native Siberian houses), Decembrists Museum, city center walk, art museum, nature museum, mineralogical museum, Buryat cultural performances.
    In Moscow: Kremlin, Cold War Museum, Chocolate Factory, walking tour of city (overnight train to Petersburg)

    In Petersburg: Hermitage (Winter Palace), Peter and Paul Fortress, Aurora, Russian Museum, Russian banya (sauna).


    Successful completion of at least one Russian language course, such as Beginning Russian 1 (RUS 100) prior to participating on the term abroad.


    Students will live with Russian host families in Irkutsk and will stay in hotels and youth hostels in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

    Central Europe

    The Partnership for Global Education’s Central Europe program is based in sites in Germany (Tuebingen and Chemnitz), Hungary (Budapest), and Romania (Cluj-Napoca) and examine issues related to ethnicity and multi-cultural and the process of socioeconomic and political transition underway in the region. Each site provides a different perspective on these issues, facilitating comparative analysis that will provide students with insight into the implications of these issues for Europe and beyond.

    Contact:  Dr. Thomas D’Agostino, Partnership for Global Education

    Czech Republic

    Union College students can also elect to study abroad at Czech Technical University in Prague.  For further information on this program, please consult the following website: .

    Contact: Lara Atkins, Director of International Programs

  • Career opportunities

    Knowledge of Russian has become a valuable asset, particularly when combined with business-related courses. Many American firms have offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok, and the volume of American trade with Russia and Russian-speaking countries has grown rapidly. As a result, American businesses are showing increased interest in graduates with Russian knowledge, offering possible employment, both in the United Statesand abroad.

    Other careers open to students will a sound knowledge of Russian include work as Russian consultants (generally employed by the federal government), high school teachers, librarians, translators, and interpreters.

    Those students who do not attend graduate school generally enter such fields as business, especially foreign trade and the travel industry, or government service. Students are encouraged to take courses in business, economics, political science, etc., to prepare themselves for such careers. The knowledge of Russian enables them to enter these fields at a more international level.

    Many students who have advanced degrees in Russian (Master’s or Doctoral Degrees) eventually enter the teaching profession either at the high school or university level. An advanced degree also opens up high-level employment in the fields such as international law or various high-powered government positions in the State Department, U.S. Information Agency, National Security Agency, or the Central Intelligence Agency. The common notion that language majors can do nothing but teach is a misconception in a world that is becoming more internationally oriented.

  • Internet resources

    Professional Organizations, Associations and Institutions

    AAASS – The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies

    ACTR – The American Council of Teachers of Russian

    BASEES (British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies)

    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – supports programs on Russian and Eurasian affairs. Site includes policy papers and other publications, transcripts of speeches by top officials, and a special section on Russian elections and politics.

    Carnegie Moscow Center – contains full-text papers and monographs, mostly in Russian.

    IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board)

    IREX – Russia

    On-line Russian Dictionaries

    Online English-Russian-English Dictionary

    Ozhegov’s Russian Language Dictionary (Available Monday-Friday Only)

    Russian-English, English-Russian dictionaries

    Russian Newspapers

    Argumenti i FaktiAPI Izvestia

    Biznes dlia Vseh

    Delovoi Peterburg


    The Moscow Times

    National News Service

    Nezavisimaia Gazeta



    Russia Today

    Russian Story News Digest

    The St. Petersburg Times


    Vladivostok News 

    Instructional Resources for Russian Language Learning

    Master Russian Site

    Bucknell Site

    Learn Russian with Multilingual Books

    The Russian Alphabet Introduction to the Russian alphabet with sound

    Russian with GOLOSA Need KOI-8 fonts.

    Russian Maps

    Perry-CastaÒeda Library Map Collection (University of Texas at Austin) ‚ modern and historical maps.

    United Nations Cartographic Section (maps are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader)