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Russian Studies

Statement on the war against Ukraine

The Russian Studies Department condemns the aggression of the Russian leadership against Ukraine, its sovereignty and citizens. We condemn the abuse of history by the Russian government that uses ahistorical narratives to justify war. We acknowledge that the Russian government does not express the will of all Russian people who voice anti-war sentiments in social media, participate in protests in the streets of Russian cities, and challenge the government and its actions in the press.

We reach out to all Macalester students, particularly those from Ukraine and those of Ukrainian heritage, for whom the news coming from their homeland is especially horrifying. We share your pain and we are here to support you.

Explore and engage

Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia comprise a massive, diverse, and geopolitically active part of the globe. By studying the area’s history, politics, and culture, you can better understand and respond to Russia’s moves on the world stage. Take an active role in learning about the region and you will empower yourself to engage with this part of the world. Step onto this larger stage and you will see there are many fulfilling roles that will allow you to make positive changes, often collaboratively.
Russian is a global language. Learning Russian is the first step toward connecting with the 200+ million who speak Russian across Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the eleven time zones of Russia, and Russian-speaking emigres worldwide. We will support you every step of the way from figuring out the alphabet (алфавит) to achieving fluency.

Why study Russian at Macalester?

Language and culture are inseparable. For this reason, we teach Russian through songs, film, literature, and mass media. We provide personalized language instruction up through the advanced levels with the support of an on-site native speaker, one-on-one tutoring, and professors who are happy to guide you through the intricacies of Russian.

Let your intellectual curiosity run wild. In addition to our language courses, our culture courses (taught in English) help you develop a critical perspective on the post-Soviet sphere and let you steep yourself in Russia’s rich cultural heritage.

Learn lessons from the October revolution—the world’s most ambitious experiment in creating social equality on a mass scale. Explore how culture resists and even flourishes in the midst of tyranny. Question the categories of east and west by studying a country that straddles this divide.

Travel to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Central Asia, and other places where Russian is spoken to study, volunteer, and immerse yourself in a new environment.

Life after Macalester

  • Recent Employers

    • American Councils for International Education
    • AtGender
    • BeVisible Latinx
    • Charles Babbage Institute
    • Epic Systems
    • Eurasia Foundation
    • Federation of American Scientists
    • Fraser
    • Google
    • Massachusetts House of Representatives
    • Meta
    • Minnesota State Senate
    • National Democratic Institute
    • Peace Corps
    • USAID

  • Recent Graduate Schools

    • Harvard University
    • Stanford University
    • University of London
    • University of Minnesota/Twin Cities
    • American University
    • Georgetown University
    • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
    • Trinity College Dublin
    • Arizona State University
    • Tsinghua University (Beijing, China)
    • University College London

Macalester students have taken advantage of the numerous funding and professional development opportunities for learners of Russian, including the Critical Language Scholarship and the Alfa, Boren, Fulbright, and Pickering Fellowships.

Knowing Russian opens up career opportunities in areas from the U.S. government to Silicon Valley and beyond. We have a broad network of alums who are eager to support current students. Our graduates have gone on to rewarding careers in fields such as education, foreign service, business, translation, public health, library science, journalism, and law.

Russian in the cities

Gain real-world leadership and organizational skills through volunteer work with local schools, nonprofit organizations such as the Advocates for Human Rights, and the Twin Cities’ large Russian-speaking population.

Our students have worked as translators for local Russian-speaking immigrants and delegations from such places as the Republic of Georgia.

Experience Russian culture first-hand at the Guthrie Theater, the Cedar Cultural Center, and the Museum of Russian Art, which offers exhibits, performances, and internship opportunities.

Join our community

At Macalester, you can count on the support of dedicated faculty, a close-knit community of language learners, and cultural events to enrich your knowledge and understanding.

  • Russian House. Our on-campus house offers language and cultural immersion to its residents and events open to the community, including craft-making workshops and holiday celebrations. Local families join us for our annual Maslenitsa festival where we cook pancakes and dance in a circle to welcome the arrival of spring.
  • Russian Studies Conference. We help our students develop papers to present at conferences and publish in journals. Our annual conference features renowned speakers and a paper competition where you can learn from intellectual fellow travelers at Mac and beyond.

Russian Studies major Mallie Kermiet ’20

Mallie Kermiet ’20 talks about organizing a human-rights workshop at Macalester’s International Roundtable.

Department happenings

Eleanor Grinnell ’23 received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Mallie Kermiet ’20 is working at the National Democratic Institute in Washington, DC.

Jadie Minhas ‘20 has received a fully-funded scholarship for the PhD program in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University.

Daniel Szetela ’19  is working as the Program Assistant for Study and Research Abroad Programs at American Councils for International Education in Washington, DC.

Anna Ivanov ’18 is completing her doctorate in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.

Connect with us online

Department News


Russian Studies student research competition marks 30 years with record participation


Students create first-ever online guide for Twin Cities’ Russian-speaking community


Courses in the City: Rise and Fall of Tsarist Russia