Russian Area Studies Program

Welcome to Russian Area Studies! Please come in and browse our web site to find out more about our undergraduate concentration.

The Concentration promotes the study of the Russian language, culture and society on three continents. With a rigorous and intellectually challenging program, students in the Russian Area Studies Concentration will become proficient in the language by taking at least two semesters of Russian language at the intermediate level, and will gain well-rounded knowledge of the culture by taking five electives chosen from designated courses in History, Literature, Political Science, Economics, Religious Studies, and Art and Art History. Our dedicated faculty will foster students' knowledge of the Russian area by preparing our students for study there.

Introduced in 1996, the Russian Area Studies Concentration was established to provide undergraduates with a structured, multi-disciplinary understanding of this complex region of the world and Russia's relations with other countries in the area, and to train undergraduates who wish to pursue a professional career in Russian studies in government academia, or business.

Application for the Olga Foltz Memorial Summer Language Scholarship.

Applicants must complete the attached form and submit it to Dr. Lynne Hartnett, the Director of Russian Area Studies, by March 14, 2014. The successful applicant will be notified in writing by April 16, 2014.

Past Recipients of the Olga Foltz scholarship:
Shannon Megrue, Class of 2015 and Matthew Thorp, Class of 2015 were awarded the Olga Foltz Memorial Scholarship by the Russian Area Studies Faculty. Shannon attended the Russian Language Institute at Bryn Mawr College over the summer of 2014. Matthew Thorpe attended a program in Russia,

2014 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

The U. S. Department of State is pleased to announce the scholarship competition for the 2014 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in thirteen critical need foreign languages. The CLS Program provides fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate and graduate students.  

Applications will be due November 14, 2014.  Students from all academic disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, sciences, and humanities are encouraged to apply.

The application is available online at

As part of the Scholarship@Villanova series, on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in room 205 of Falvey Memorial Library  Mark Lawrence Schrad, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. will be leading a lecture titled "Understanding Putin's Russia Through the Bottom of the Bottle." During this talk, Dr. Schrad will be looking at developments regarding alcohol politics in Vladimir Putin's Kremlin as a means to understanding the deeper political, economic and social tensions in Russia. These are also ideas that Dr. Schrad explores in his forthcoming book, Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy and the Secret History of the Russian State.

Student Accomplishments

Our RASCON senior, Michael Seyer (Class of 2012) was accepted at the International MA program in Russian and Eurasian Studies (IMARES) at European University in St. Petersburg, Russia. This is a joint program with the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. 

Mike received an ACTR (American Council of Teachers of Russian) stipend to master trhe Russian language in St. Peterburg in the summer of 2012.
Matthew Thorp
(Class of 2015) received a full scholarship from the Critical Languages Institute to study Tatar language in Kazan, Russia.

Upcoming Events


 Rescheduled Date: TBA

Russian Area Studies

Anya von Bremzen
“Food, Family, and History in the USSR”

Author of Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing

January 21st
SAC 300
6:00 P.M.
Anya von Bremzen is one of the most accomplished food writers of her generation; the winner of three James Beard awards; a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure Magazine; and the author of five acclaimed cookbooks.  Anya contributes regularly to Food & Wine and Saveur and has written for The New Yorker, Departures, and The Los Angeles Times.  The New York Times describes von  Bremzen's latest book, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, as "an ambitious food memoir that is also a meticulously researched history of the Soviet Union."

Lynne Hartnett

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Falvey Memorial Library Rm 205 at 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Lynne Hartnett, Assistant Professor History and the Director of the Center for the Study of Violence and Conflict will be giving the Scholarship@Villanova lecture. She will be speaking "On the Edge of Revolution: Activism, Terrorism, and Political Resurrection in the Life of One Russian Revolutionary Legend."

This talk will use the life of Vera Figner, a Russian noblewoman who became a revolutionary terrorist, as a historical lens through which to explore political activism and radicalism in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Russia.  As a leading member of a radical group widely considered to be the world's first modern terrorist organization, Vera Figner's biography provides great insight into the circumstances and choices that impel otherwise peaceful individuals to embrace violence as a method of protest.  This talk will follow Figner through the revolutionary underground, prison, exile, and the Russian Revolutions of 1917 in order to analyze and assess the role that gender, class, personality and historical timing played in Figner's decision to become a radical activist, her experiences within the revolutionary movement, and her subsequent status as an icon of the revolution in Soviet Russia.  

Book cover

Contact Information

Director, Russian Area Studies
Dr. Lynne Hartnett
Assistant Professor of History
Phone: 610-519-7219

Administrative Assistant:

Ms. Joyce Harden
Villanova University
Office: SAC 277
: 610-519-4640

Featured Movies

Dr. Louise McReynolds; Professor of History University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill "Sherlok Kholms in Late Imperial Russia"

Lost In Translation: Divergent Notions of Religious Liberty in Post Soviet Russia


"Theater as a Mirror of Contemporary Russia” Dr. Anatoly Smelyansky Dean of the Moscow Art Theater School Theater scholar, writer, and critic.

"War and Peace in the Caucasus" Dr. Charles King