Valentina Pichugin

Valentina Pichugin
Senior Lecturer
Foster 414
Office Hours: By Appointment
Ph.D., Russian Language Institute, Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, 1990.
Teaching at UChicago since 2001
Research Interests: Russian language, literature, history, and culture; Linguistics (synchronic and diachronic); Medieval Slavic studies


Valentina Pichugin is a Senior Lecturer in Russian at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. Recipient of the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and author of the Advanced Russian Through Film (2005; 2011), as well as articles on Russian language, literature, culture and history, she is particularly interested in recent developments in the field of medieval Slavic studies, language pedagogy, and theory and practice of translation and interpretation.

Previously Taught Courses

Language and Linguistics

  • Russian (all levels)
  • Scientific Russian
  • Business Russian
  • Third Year Russian Through Culture
  • Advanced Russian Through Film
  • Advanced Russian Through Media
  • Russian for Advanced Academic Research
  • Consecutive and Simultaneous Russian-English Interpretation
  • Russian Phonetics, Word-formation, Morphology and Syntax
  • History of Russian Language
  • East Slavic (Old Russian)
  • Old Church Slavonic
  • Slavic Etymology
  • Introduction to Slavic Linguistics
  • Reading Russian for Research Purposes
  • Special Topics in Advanced Russian
  • Czech for Reading Knowledge
  • Polish for Reading Knowledge
  • Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge
  • Supervised individualized research projects


  • Medieval Russian Literature
  • Russian Literature of the Eighteenth Century
  • Literary Discourse: Readings in Victor Pelevin
  • Myth, Parody and Technology in Contemporary Russia
  • Russian Science Fiction Novels and Their Screen Adaptations
  • Artificial Intelligence in Contemporary Russian Fiction
  • On the Concept of Love in Russian Literature from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century
  • Supervised individualized research projects

Culture & Interdisciplinary 

  • Slavic Culture and Civilization
  • Russian Screen-Plays
  • Russian (Soviet and Post-Soviet) Film
  • Geography as a Worldview: Russian Perspective
  • Language and Power
  • Supervised individualized research projects

Second Language Acquisition

  • Teaching Practicum for Teaching Assistants of Russian

Current Courses

RUSS 20702 Third-Year Russian through Culture I

This course, which is intended for third-year students of Russian, covers various aspects of Russian grammar in context and emphasizes the four communicative skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening comprehension, speaking) in a culturally authentic context. Excerpts from popular Soviet/Russian films and clips from Russian television news reports are shown and discussed in class. Classes conducted in Russian; some aspects of grammar explained in English. Drill practice is held twice a week.

RUSS 20300 (two years of Russian) or equivalent

2020-2021 Autumn

RUSS 21302 /30102 Advanced Russian through Media I

This is a three-quarter sequence designed for fourth- and fifth-year students of Russian. It is also suitable for native speakers of Russian. This sequence covers various aspects of advanced Russian stylistics and discourse grammar in context. This sequence emphasizes the four communicative skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing in a culturally authentic context. It builds transcultural competence by expanding students' knowledge of the language, culture, history, and daily lives of the Russian-speaking people. Vocabulary building is strongly emphasized. We add to the existing skills and develop our abilities to analyze increasingly complex texts for their meaning: to identify various styles and registers of the Russian language and to provide their neutral equivalents in standard Russian. We also work on developing our abilities to paraphrase, narrate, describe, support opinions, hypothesize, discuss abstract topics, and handle linguistically unfamiliar situations (in spoken and written format). Classes conducted in Russian. Course-specific grammar issues are covered during drill sessions (weekly) and office hours (by appointment). Oral Proficiency Interviews are conducted in the beginning and the end of the course (Autumn and Spring Quarters). Prerequisite(s): Four years of Russian, or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

Four years of Russian, or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

2020-2021 Autumn

RUSS 29910 /39910 Special Topics in Advanced Russian

Must complete Advanced Russian through Media or equivalent, or obtain consent of instructor. Class meets for 2 hours each week. We'll work with several topics, all of them are relevant to the general theme of "Geography and Worldview: Russian Perspective". There will be maps, reading materials, several documentaries, clips from TV programs and other media, and feature films. Class meetings will be a combination of group discussions, short presentations, and lectures. Final - one term paper at the end (in English) based on Russian materials.

2020-2021 Autumn
Literature and Linguistics