Department of Central and South-East European Languages

MGIMO students have learnt Central and South-East European languages for more than 50 years. The first groups studying these languages were formed in the wake of WWII, when the government was in need of experts in South-East Europe. At first the students learnt Czech, Polish, Albanian and some other languages, but later the number of languages grew as well as the number of regular lecturers. In 1963 a special department was created for the languages of Central and South-East European countries. For almost 25 years (1963-1988) it was headed by the graduate of the Military Translation Institute Vladimir Ivanov, PhD in philology, Associate Professor, author of the first Soviet textbook on the Hungarian language. With time the Department has become a major center for teaching languages of Central and South-East Europe combined with regional geography and culture.

Since 2005 Associate Professor Yuri Zelenov, PhD, has been heading the Department, preceded by Galina Tyapko (1988 — 2005). The current head of the Department is a graduate of Military Foreign Languages Institute and an expert in psycho-linguistic aspects of translation, who has a wide experience in teaching social and political translation into Polish and German.

It’s not fortuitous that the Department teaches languages spoken in Central and South-East Europe. The history of ethnic groups, leaving there, is very similar. Their cultures are so closely intertwined that it’s impossible to understand them without taking into account the regional context.

The first lecturers of the Department had to develop courses from scratch as there were almost no contemporary bilingual dictionaries or textbooks. The following decades were devoted to the creation of such materials. By the mid-90s the Department wrote textbooks on political and economic translation into Albanian (by N. Shigina), Romanian (by T. Silantieva), Serbian and Croatian ( by L. Voronina), Czech (by N. Davletshina and by N. Reizema), Polish (by N. A. Kallos), Bulgarian (by T. Labut and by L. Alekseeva), Hungarian (by K. Vavra). The textbooks went into many editions.

The teaching methods are chosen with regard to the major of schools and the peculiarities of teaching rare languages as most of the students are true beginners. Our unique lecturers successfully manage to cope with these tasks. They put the emphasis on the practical knowledge that will help students learn more about one of the richest European region in terms of culture.

The Department teaches 11 languages as the main, second and third foreign languages. They include Albanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Greek, Polish, Romanian, Moldavian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech and Slovak.

The Department uses software to teach foreign languages and translation. There are e-textbooks on Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Croatian.

The Department participates in Bologna process using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The lecturers train students to take exams in the relevant languages (such as Hungarian, Romanian, Polish, Czech etc.). However, they also make sure that the students not only have general knowledge of a language, but also have some specific skills necessary to work in international relations, know how to communicate in business context and translate, so as far as assessment is concerned, the Department uses a competence-based approach.

If the students wish to have a certificate in military translation, they can join the Military Training Department and study Polish, Bulgarian and Czech military translation taught by lecturers of the Department.

Last updated in September 2016

Head of Department

Anna Toropova Anna Toropova

Candidate of sociological sciences


+7 495 229-38-45 (inner 13-75)