The Department of the Russian Language and Literature was founded on July 19th, 2000, when the Teaching-Scientific Council of the University in Niš approved the curricula of the newly founded study groups at the Faculty of Philosophy in Niš, which included this department with the original name – the Department of Slavistics with Balkanistics.
The classes at the Bachelor level started on October 1st, 2000, in line with the approved syllabus, which included the study of the Russian language for 4 years, a mandatory Greek language and an elective South Slavic language course: Bulgarian or Macedonian which lasted for 2 years. At the very beginning, the Department had one full professor who was the first Head of Department, and that was professor Dragoljub Veličković (who taught Russian Language I), and the teaching assistant was Violeta Ilic-Džonić. The list of visiting lecturers included Predrag Piper, full professor at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, Irina Antanasijević, senior lector at the Faculty of Philosophy in Kosovska Mitrovica, Klaudija Tasić, a Macedonian language lector, Athanasios Bintas, a Greek language lector, Cenka Ivanova, Bulgarian language lector, and Viktorija Stroilo, a Russian language Lector. Eleven students enrolled in the first year of studies, and that number increased in the following years.
In July 2002, following the request of the students, the Department changed the name and became the Department of Russian Language and Literature.
The act of renaming brought about changes in the curriculum, and it also opened positions for additional professors and teaching assistants. At that time, the following professors and lecturers were hired: professor Nadežda Lainović-Stojanović for the Russian language (who was the Head of the Department in the schoolyears 2002/03 and 2003/04), associate professor Irina Antanasijević for the Russian literature, Dejan Marković, as a Russian language lector, Živojin Trajković, as a senior lecturer for the Russian language (for teaching at other departments) and Tamara Kostić-Pahnoglu, as a Greek language lecturer.
Moreover, there were also Hristo Bondzolov (Bulgarian language lector), Mihail Harlicki, Zoja Popova, Ana Mitrofanova (all Russian language lectors), Dimostenis Stratigopoulos (Greek language lector), who worked as foreign language lectors.
In addition to the permanent employees at the Department of Russian Language and Literature, the professors from other faculties were teaching as well, such as: professor Zoran Božović, professor Bogoljub Stanković and professor Radmilo Marojević from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, professor Larisa Razdobudko-Čović and professor Abdulah Mušović from the Faculty of Philosophy in Kosovska Mitrovica, professor Marija Stefanović from the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, and professor Dragan Koprivica from the Department of Russian Language and Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Nikšić.
Both professors and teaching assistants at the Department are actively involved in organizing scientific conferences, participating in conferences both in the country and abroad, and publishing their work in scientific journals. Publications of students’ books, handbooks and methodology literature for the students of Russian language are one of the top priorities and take up an important spot.
The Department has a successful international scientific and professional cooperation with the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute from Moscow, The St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo from Bulgaria and the Athens State University from Greece. The outcomes of this cooperation are multiple student exchange programs, postgraduate student exchanges and visiting professors, which have enabled our students to attend one-month courses of the Greek language (in Athens), Bulgarian language (Veliko Tarnovo) and Russian language (Moscow) every year, and the students from these cities are also able to come and learn the Serbian language, while the visiting professors are being invited to give lectures to students.
The scientific cooperation is established with other faculties, as well. The professors at the Department of Russian Language and Literature have written two university students’ textbooks for the students of physics as well as biology and ecology from the Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics in Niš and the Faculty of Philosophy in East Sarajevo and a textbook for language exercise classes, while some of the professors teach part-time at some other higher education institutions.
In early 2019, the following staff works within the Department of Russian Language and Literature: Dejan Marković, associate professor, Violeta Džonić, assistent professor, Jelena Lepojević, assistant professor, Maja Veljković, assistant professor, Velimir Ilić, assistant professor (and the Head of Department), Olga Trapeznikova, lector, Nenad Blagojević, teaching assistant, Jovana Dinčić, teaching fellow, and Emilija Jović, teaching fellow.