Department Statement on the Anniversary of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

On the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the faculty and students at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures reassert their condemnation of this brutal and unjust war.  We mourn its victims. We are appalled at Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian civilians and reports of human rights violations.  We call for an end to Russia’s illegal occupation of Ukraine and express our hopes for imminent and lasting peace.

Department Statement on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures joins colleagues at ASEEES, AATSEEL, other Slavic departments, and the global academic community, in strongly condemning Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.  We are appalled by mounting human losses and the suffering of civilians.  We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine bravely defending their sovereignty and their democratically elected government.  We support all those who oppose Russia’s aggression, including the citizens of Russia who do so at great personal risk.  We call for the return of peace and safety to our colleagues, friends, and families in the region, and hope for the restoration of open dialogue, cultural links, and intellectual exchange that is vitally threatened by this global crisis.

For information about ways to help Ukraine, see the list compiled by Prof. Timothy Snyder

Resources for journalists, scholars, and the general public are also available through the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

For President Salovey’s statement on Yale’s response to the invasion, see here.


The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University, which is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the United States, was born of the vision of two of the most remarkable figures in the University’s twentieth-century history. In 1946, William Clyde DeVane, the eminent long-term Dean of Yale College and Professor of English, established the Department at the urging of René Wellek, who was appointed Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature that year and who was soon to emerge as one of the greatest figures in twentieth-century literary studies. Professor Wellek took over the chairmanship of the Department from Dean DeVane in 1948, and following a series of new appointments in the early 1950s, the Department began its ascent to national prominence.

The current members of the Department continue its traditions of engaging in innovative teaching and scholarship on the literatures, languages, and cultures of the Slavic peoples. The Department offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, with several possible tracks in each, but with a primary emphasis on Russian literature and culture, and especially film.

Slavic department faculty are recognized leaders in their scholarly fields both nationally and internationally, and have established themselves as popular and influential teachers on campus. The Department’s varied course offerings are enriched by the extensive Slavic holdings in the Yale University Library system, which is one of the greatest research collections in the world.


April 2024
Dear Slavic Department Community,
We are happy to announce that our students of Russian distinguished themselves with stellar performances at the New England Olympiada of Spoken Russian (https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/russianolympiada/home) held at Harvard University on April 7, 2024!
Our students competed with eleven other universities and won the following awards. 
1st year Speech Contest
1st place – Gaya Buchta (Yale University)
Gaya started taking Russian this academic year in RUSS 110 (Julia Titus/Matt McWilliams) and now she is in RUSS 120 (Julia Titus/John Stachelski).
3rd/4th year Speech Contest
1st place – Axel de Vernou (Yale University)
Axel started Russian last academic year in RUSS 110 (Julia Titus/Emily Ziffer), then he skipped RUSS 120 for RUSS 145 (Constantine Muravnik/Ilya Plyat) and continued last fall in RUSS 150 (Constantine Muravnik), but then again he skipped RUSS 151 for more advanced RUSS 177 (Anastasia Selemeneva).
2nd year Poetry Contest
3rd place – Aidan Urbina (Yale University)
Aidan started Russian last fall in RUSS 125 (Constantine Muravnik/John Stachelski) and continued now in RUSS 145 (Constantine Muravnik/Spencer Small).
3rd/4th year Poetry Contest:
3rd place – Oliver Huston (Yale University) 
Oliver started Russian last Academic Year in RUSS 125/145 (Minjin Hashbat/Ania Tropnikova) then continued in RUSS 150/151 (Constantine Muravnik).
We all are proud of our students’ achievements and send to them our heartfelt congratulations
March 2024

Olha Tytarenko — who began teaching Yale courses in Russian this semester — plans to build a Ukrainian language curriculum beginning in the 2024-25 academic year.

Yale’s ambitions for a Ukrainian program are not new, but Tytarenko and Edyta Bojanowska, Chair of Slavic Languages and Literatures, told the News that in the face of the war in Ukraine, this objective has grown more urgent. Tytarenko, who comes from a background in education and academia, brings to Yale her fluency in Ukrainian, Russian and English, as well as skills in language pedagogy and research in Russian mysticism and mythology.

To read more about Olha Tytarenko see this exciting article in the Yale Daily News: https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2024/02/29/new-lector-olha-tytarenko-to-s…

February 2024

Professor Katerina Clark, B. E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and of Comparative Literature at Yale University, passed away peacefully on February 1st, 2024. 

Professor Clark was a pathbreaking scholar of twentieth-century Russian and Soviet culture, one of the most influential Slavists and comparatists of her generation.  Her work was instrumental in overcoming reductive and politicized approaches to the study of Soviet culture that were set by Cold War rivalries, and helped transform this field into an intellectually vibrant critical enterprise that continues to be a source of scholarly innovation.  In particular, Professor Clark’s The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual (1981, three editions) has inspired generations of scholars and to this day remains the essential reference point on the subject.

In her prize-winning research, published with the most prestigious presses in North America, Professor Clark further expanded the boundaries of the discipline through her monograph Petersburg, Crucible of Cultural Revolution (1995) and through her bold effort to put the study of Stalinist-era culture into global comparative contexts, in works such as Moscow, the Fourth Rome:  Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931-1941 (2011), and Eurasia without Borders: Leftists Dream of a Literary Commons, 1919-1943 (2021).  She also co-authored a monograph on Mikhail Bakhtin (1987) with Michael Holquist, and co-edited Soviet Culture and Power: A History in Documents, 1917-1953 (2007) with Evgeny Dobrenko.

Her books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Czech, Portuguese, and Spanish, a testament to the global impact of Professor Clark’s scholarship.  They have garnered such major awards as the Wayne S. Vucinich Prize for the best book in Russian, East European or Eurasian Studies, the Historia Nova Prize for the best book in Russian intellectual history, and the Matei Calinescu Prize from the Modern Languages Association.  In 2007, she received the AATSEEL Award for Outstanding Contributions to Scholarship, and in 1999 she served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (currently ASEEES).

In addition to her immense research contributions, she has also inspired and trained generations of young scholars in Slavic and Comparative Literatures.  For over thirty years at Yale University, she was a much-loved colleague and mentor.   Her passing is a huge loss for our community.