Department of Southern and Western Slavic History

The study of the history of southern and western Slavs in Russia dates back to the first half of the 19th century, but a specialized department in Moscow State University was created only in 1939. Up to this very day, the department of history of Southern and Western Slavs at Moscow State University is unique in the Russian Federation, though courses on the history of foreign Slavic peoples are included in the curriculum of practically every 'classical' university in the country. Over the last decade the department has become the center for training qualified historian-Slavic specialists. The department proudly counts among its graduates dozens of doctors, hundreds of candidates of science, diplomats, journalists, school teachers, and businessmen.

A marked trace in the history of the department was left by such distinguished scholars as the academician V.I.Picheta, professors Z.R.Needly, S.A.Nikitin, I.M.Belyavskaya, I.A.Voronkov, V.G.Karasev. Presently the following staff members work in the department: Laureate of the Lomonosov premium, distinguished professor of Moscow University L.V.Gorina, Laureate of the Lomonosov premium, professor L.P.Lapteva, associate professors M.V.Dmitriev, L.I.Zhila, L.V.Kuz'micheva, P.E.Lukin, Z.S.Nenasheva, V.A.Tesemnikov, E.F.Firsov, academic employees N.V.Volostnova and V.B.Prozorov. Doctor of history, professor G.F.Matveev is department chair.

The department offers the intro course 'history of southern and western Slavs'. Students majoring in the department are required to take courses on the history of separate Slavic peoples, source studies, historiography, historical and economic geography, study paleography and archival studies. Proseminars are conducted along a wide range of issues on the medieval, modern and contemporary history of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Serbo-Luzicke, and on the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In response to the growth of interest in Western Slavic people over the last ten years, the department has organized popular seminars on the history of Ukraine and Belarus taught by M.V.Dmitriev and G.F.Matveev; the preparation of degree and candidate works is done in a number of proseminars on this issue. A great amount of importance is given to the study of Slavic and West-European languages. The department also serves the needs of Slavic specialists from MSU's faculty of philology and faculty of foreign languages in the field of historical preparation.

The tradition of offering courses taught not only by the department's staff, but also by experts from the Institute of Slavic Studies RAS, Moscow's other institutes of higher education, and also by foreign scholars, has strongly taken root. The following courses have been offered over the last 5 years to students majoring in the department: "the Poles and the Polish question in the internal policy of Russia from 1831 to 1917" (L.E.Gorizontov), "Patriarch Evfimii Tyrnovsky and 'the correction of church books' in Bulgaria in the 14th century" (P.E.Lukin), "The Union of Brest of 1596 and the political struggle over Ukraine and in Belarus at the end of the 16th beginning of the 17th century" (B.N.Florya), "the Balkan crises of the 19th and 20th centuries" (A.V.Karasev), "the 'Slavic fantasy' of Konstantin Leont'ev" (V.I.Kosik), "Religious and political ideological functions of the cult of Saint Vatslav" (M.Y.Paramonova), "medieval monuments of Bulgaria and Macedonia (slides and comments)" (P.E.Lukin), "Russian emigration of the 20's and 30's in the Slavic states of Southeastern and Central Europe" (E.I.Pivovar), "the history of Slavic studies in Russia of the 19th and 20th centuries" (L.P.Lapteva), "Mikhail Grushevsky: politician, historian, national symbol" (collective special seminar of the employees of Institute of Slavic Studies RAS), "Genesis of the modern Balkan crisis and the policies of Russia" (E.Y.Gus'kova), "introduction to history and the history of culture of the orthodox southern Slavs (Bulgars and Serbs) in the Middle ages" (P.E.Lukin), "the Serbs and Russia: the experience of mutual recognition. The end of the 18th c. - 1921" (L.V.Kuz'micheva), "Poland and NATO in the 1990s" (G.F.Matveev), "Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy in the history of Eastern Europe (Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus) of the 16th and 17th centuries" (M.V.Dimitriev),"Polish foreign policy during the Second World War" (E.Durachin'sky).

One of the strategic aims of the department's work is providing Russian Universities with the necessary educational literature. This is, first of all, 4 textbooks on the history of southern and western Slavs (the last having been printed in 1998), educational manuals on historiography (1987), source studies (1999), Czech History in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Time (L.P.Lapteva, 1993, 1997) and also the three volume "Reader on the history of southern and western Slavs" (1987-1991). All of the courses offered in the department contain developed programs.

The department's staff successfully combines academic and methodical work with research activity. In the 1990's the following works were published: M.V.Dmitriev: "Orthodoxy and the Reformation. The Reformation Movement in Western Slavic Lands in the Second Half of the 16th century" (1990); G.F.Matveev: "'The Third Path?' Philosophy in Czechoslovakia and Poland in the Interwar Period" (1992); Z.S.Nenasheva: "Socio-Political Concept of Czech Land on the Border of the 19th and 20th centuries. (1994); E.F.Firsov: "the democratic experience in the Czech Socialist Republic Under Tomash Masaryk: Coalitional pluralism" (1997); L.P.Lapteva: "Slavic studies in Moscow State University of the 19th - beginning of the 20th cc." (1997); L.P.Lapteva: "Russian art collectors of the 19th and 20th centuries in sketches of life and activities of its representatives" (1997); L.P.Lapteva: "Russian-Serbian academic and cultural relations from the beginning of the 19th to the First World War" (2000). The tradition of publishing collections of academic papers has been preserved. The following collections have been issued: "The Development of Public Opinion of Foreign Slavic People" (1990), "Research on the history of Ukraine and Belarus" (1995), "Historical Slavic Studies" (1999), "Western and Southern Slavs in the Past and Present" (1999), "Modernization of Central and Eastern Europe. Ideas, Programs, and Realization" (2000), "Historical Slavic Studies at MSU from 1989 to 1999" (2000). The department's staff members regularly participate in composing sections of collective monographs and manuals prepared at other academic and educational centers. Both Russian and international journals annually publish dozens of the staff members' papers.

Staff members are working with a newly exerted energy in locating and publishing archival documents and materials on the history of western and southern Slavs. The following publications were issued along this basis: "Montenegrin-Russian Relations: 1711-1918" (Podgoritsa-Moscow, 1992, v.1, V.G.Karasev, L.V.Kuz'micheva); "Polska-ZSRR. Struktury podleglosci. Dokumenty WKP(b)" (Warszawa, 1995, G.F.Matveev); "USSR-Poland. Mechanisms of Subjugation. 1944-1949" (1995, G.F.Matveev); "Russian Sources on Serbia (1878-1903)" (Novi-Sad, 1996. Book 1 - L.V.Kuz'micheva), "'Powstanie' na Zaolziu. Polska akcja specjalna w swietle dokumentov Oddzialu II Sztabu Glownego Wojska Polskiego" (Warszawa, 1997, Badziak K., Matwiejew G., Samus P.); "Akcja 'Lom'. Polskie dzialania dywersyjne na Rusi Zakarpackiej w swietle dokumentow Oddzialu II Sztabu Glownego Wojska Polskiego" (Warszawa, 1998, Samus P., Badziak K., Matwiejew G.); "Dissidents russes. I. Feodosij Kosoj (Bibliotheca dissidentium. Vol. XIX)" (Baden-Baden, 1998, M.V.Dmitriev); "The Macedonian Issue in Commintern Documents" (Skopje, 1999, L.I.Zhila).

The department maintains close connections with the leadin universities of Slavic countries and with foreign historians. The results of these connections are involvement in international conferences, the organization of scholarly forums in the faculty of history, and joint publications. Summer and winter exchange programs in the countries studied are gaining a more and more regular character. Yearly, the department accepts and consults dozens of non-degree students and specialists, coming to Moscow to work in archives and libraries.