Department of Russian and East European Studies

History of the Department

Russian philology was not studied as an independent academic discipline until 1945, yet from the very beginning of the faculty’s existence there were courses in Russian studies on offer for students of Slavic studies. In the 1922/1923 academic year, an independent Section of Russian Language and Literature was founded within the School of Slavic Studies. The section was, from its foundation until 1945, headed by Valerij Alexandrovič Pogorielov. In 1945 another member of the post-revolutionary wave of Russian emigrants, Prof. Alexander Vasilievič Isačenko, was appointed Professor in Russian Philology. In 1946 Prof. A. V. Isačenko became the director of the newly established School of Russian, which transformed itself into the Department of Russian Literature and Modern Language Studies in 1948. Prof. Isačenko was still holding the leading post in 1950 when the Department of Russian Language and Literature came into being.
In 1955, when Prof. A. V. Isačenko left Bratislava for Olomouc, the department already had ten full-time teachers.
Russian studies continued developing in the second half of the 1950s and in the 1960s when Prof. A. V. Isačenko was replaced first by Assoc. Prof. Ľ. Ďurovič (1955-1959) and then by Assoc. Prof. J. Kopaničák (1959-1970). 
The political turnaround in 1989, of course, also had impact on the evolution of Russian studies as an academic discipline. The department found itself in a peculiar situation. On the one hand, it represented one of the most developed philological disciplines with a large personnel and material base; on the other hand, the factors that had made Russian studies one of the favoured philological disciplines in the past ceased to be significant. What followed was a perceptible drop in the number of applicants for the Russian teaching programme as Russian gradually lost its dominant position at primary and secondary schools.  In terms of research, literary studies, which had appeared to be less productive for decades, prevailed over Russian linguistics. For the past twenty years the department has been led by several full-time teachers – Assoc. Prof. A. Eliáš (1989-1992), Assoc. Prof. G. Baláž (1992-1995), Assoc. Prof. R. Blazsek (1995-1998) and Assoc. Prof. O. Kovačičová (1998-2001). Since 2001 Assoc. Prof. Ľ. Matejko has been at the head of the department.

General Characteristics of the Department

The core of the department’s teaching activities is formed, besides the traditional translation and interpreting programme, by the study programme of Russian and East European Studies. It is intended as an area studies programme, which reflects the new situation in Eastern Europe and allows the department to respond with more flexibility to the potential and expectations of applicants. In response to changes in the labour market and growing requirements for graduates’ flexibility, this programme pays more attention to practical language instruction, life and institutions in the target cultures and cultural, political, social and historical aspects. Students thus do not primarily profile as Russian philologists with a theoretical background in linguistics and literary science but as Russian scholars with a vast knowledge of the territory of Russia and Eastern Europe who, in addition, can speak the Slavic and non-Slavic languages of the given area.
Research at the department centres on several themes: the methodological problems of synthetic approach to the history of Russian literature, Slavic church literature and the manuscript heritage of Slavs, and classical and 20th century Russian literature. It further connects with the tradition of research into the contemporary Russian language and pays attention to the application of theoretical knowledge from the field of translation and interpreting studies to the realities of translation and interpreting practice.