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Russian and Soviet history have been a focus for many generations of researchers. Whether it’s the Christianization of the Kievan Rus, the expansion the Muscovy Tsardom by Ivan the Terrible, westernization by Peter the Great or the October revolution, This history helps to understand Eastern Europe, its mindset and its impact on current events. You will find fascinating cultural diversity on the historic Russian and Soviet territory. Located in Europe and Asia, Russia has a vast territory of amazingly different natural landscapes, from the permafrost in Chukotka to subtropical Sochi. Russia occupies one-tenth of all the land on Earth, has the most time zones located in one country and has shores on three oceans.
Why Study Russian?
Sustainability and environmental studies
Russia just entered the sustainable development trend. Being a petrocracy with amazing natural resources, it has historically had a strong emphasis on forests and fossil fuels. Turning to alternative energy could be a milestone for Russian environmental concerns, society and business.
Many engineers who ended up working in the US are from Russia or former Soviet countries. Traditionally, Russians had a strong presence in STEM. Since the Soviet time, science education in Russia has been strong.
Do you see yourself in Space in the future? Knowledge of the Russian language is required in space, as both the US and Russia are deeply involved with space research. STEM students should consider taking Russian, as these students bring an excellent logical approach to studying a foreign language. Some graduate programs in mathematics even require a test in Russian.
Art, Literature, Music and Cinema studies
Several major figures in Russian art from the 19th and 20th century made a huge impact on modern art. Kandinsky, Chagall and Tatlin embraced the new movements and inspired many foreign artists in avant garde and nontraditional art. Nowadays, art goes together with activism and politics. Visual representation of the modern world inspires many modern artists.
Russian literature is well known for in-depth thinking and as research into the human soul: Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Anton Chekhov are the most well known authors but they don’t limit the plethora of literature genius cultivated by Russian culture.
Russia might be often viewed as a traditional country in comparison to the US. Geographical and cultural diversity may shed some light on the reasons for viewing Russia this way. Nevertheless, feminism was actively cultivated in the Soviet Union and gender roles quickly began to equalize after the Soviet Union. With the introduction of a classless society, gender barriers were rapidly broken down. In modern Russia, feminism is gaining more attention and becoming a major issues in criminal justice and politics.
Can you envision yourself as a lawyer in international law, helping Russian immigrants and working with the Russian community? If you are on a law-track, plan your languages studies ahead of time, so by the time you get a case you can explain yourself and understand your client. Massachusetts, New York and California all have large Russian speaking communities.
As mentioned before, the Russian community is widely present in the US and having skills in Russian is a plus when you get hired.
Russian is located on the 3rd level of the 4th level scale of difficult languages. Knowing Russian will help you to understand other Slavic languages and will be a very good exposure to a synthetic language. Russian gives you a brand new experience of learning a Cyrillic alphabet, learning about its system of six cases, verbal aspects and verbs of motion. The US government also lists Russian as a critical language.
Media and journalism
The Russian media sector has always been in the spotlight because of its involvement with politics, freedom of speech and censorship. Media is a rapidly growing sector of Russian news/entertainment field with many interconnections with American media. In bringing “Everybody Loves Raymond” to Russia, the famous producer faced a lot of language and culture issues, yet his experience was a huge success. Maybe if he spoke Russian and could predict those challenges, his success would have happened faster?
Political science and international affairs
Russia has been a hot topic in these two fields. Being a superpower and a UN member, the country often carries heavy involvement in the arena of world events.
If you are a heritage speaker, you can learn Russian as well. You already have some language and cultural background that will come in handy when you restart learning Russian.
If you have had prior training in Russian before entering Northeastern University, please take a placement test.
RSSN 1101– Elementary Russian 1
RSSN 1102– Elementary Russian 2
RSSN 2101 – Intermediate Russian 1
RSSN 2102– Intermediate Russian 2
RSSN 3101– Advanced Russian 1
RSSN 3102– Advanced Russian 2
Advanced Readings (Anna Karenina by L. Tolstoy or French Lessons by V. Rasputin)
Russian for majors (International Affairs, Political Science, Business, Arts, History). Russian for Heritage Speakers.
Please visit the Office of the Registrar’s website for a comprehensive list of current course offerings.