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The faculty of the Division of Russian and Slavic Languages consists of professors and a varying number of adjunct teachers. The appended vitae provide evidence of the wide variety of interests, publications, and professional activities of the faculty.


Nadya L Peterson, Professor of Russian

Professor Peterson is a specialist on contemporary Russian prose, women's literature and Chekhov. She is the author of Subversive Imaginations: Fantastic Prose and the End of Soviet Literature, 1970s-1990s(Westview Press, 1997)Chekhov's Children: Context and Text in Late Imperial Russia(McGill University Press, 2021), and a number of articles on various aspects of Russian studies, including "The Private 'I' in the Works of Nina Berberova," The Slavic Review, vol. 60, No. 3, Fall 2001; "Dirty Women: Cultural Connotations of Cleanliness in Stalinist Russia," in Russia-Women-Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996); "Games Women Play: the Erotic Prose of Valeriia Narbikova," in Fruits of Her Plume: Essays on Contemporary Russian Women's Culture, ed. by Helena Goscilo (M.E. Sharpe, 1993), and “The Child in Chekhov,” the Russian Review (October, 2014).

Peterson is a published translator and editor, most recently of The Witching Hour and Other Playsby Nina Sadur (Academic Studies Press, 2014) and Russian Love Stories(Peter Lang, 2009). Her areas of interests also include Russian culture, history, and Russian education. Prof. Peterson teaches advanced language courses, courses on translation, women's literature, nineteenth and twentieth century Russian literature, as well as courses on Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Dostoevsky both in Russian and in English. She is on the faculty of the Doctoral Program in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center and has served as the Head of the Russian and Slavic Studies Program at Hunter since 2010.



Yasha Klots, Associate Professor of Russian

Prof. Klots received his Ph.D. in Russian literature from Yale University in 2011. Before joining Hunter in 2016, he taught at GA Tech, Williams College, and Yale. He was also a Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Research Center for East European Studies at the University of Bremen (Germany). His research interests include book history, Russian and East European émigré literature and culture, urbanism and literary representation of cityscapes, contemporary Russian poetry, linguistic anthropology, bilingualism and translation, and Gulag narratives (particularly Varlam Shalamov). In 2010, he published Joseph Brodsky in Lithuania (St. Petersburg: Perlov Design Center; in Russian), and co-translated, with Ross Ufberg, Tamara Petkevich's Memoir of a Gulag Actress (Northern Illinois UP, 2010). His most recent book is Poets in New York: On City, Language, Diaspora (Moscow: NLO, 2016; in Russian). His monograph Tamizdat: Contraband Russian Literature in the Cold War Era(Cornell UP, 2023) is devoted to the circulation, reception and first publications of literary manuscripts from the USSR in the West. At Hunter, Yasha Klots teaches a variety of courses on Russian literature and culture, Russian theater, urban mythology, Gulag literature, and immigrant narratives. He is the director of Tamizdat Project, a public scholarship initiative and a community of collaborators and volunteers.




Elizabeth Klosty Beaujour, Professor Emerita of Russian

Professor Beaujour is the author of The Invisible Land: The Artistic Imagination of Iurii Olesha, and of Alien Tongues: Bilingual Russian Writers of the "First" Emigration. She has contributed a number of chapters to collective books and is the author of articles on the relationship between architecture and Russian literature, on Modern Russian Literature, and on bilingual writers. Her current areas of interest include Nabokov, the interaction of French and Russian literature, Russian women writers, and writers who have worked in more than one language. She is on the faculty of the Doctoral Program in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. Over the years, she has served the College in many ways, having been Acting Provost and Chair of the Academic Senate as well as having been the long-term chair of the College's interdisciplinary Thomas Hunter Honors Program.




Emil A. Draitser, Professor Emeritus of Russian

Professor Draitser is a scholar and author whose works have appeared extensively both in Russian and English. He is the author of  several volumes of scholarly and artistic prose, such as Techniques of Satire: The Case of Saltykov-Shchedrin; Forbidden Laughter: Soviet Underground Jokes; Taking Penguins to the Movies: Ethnic Humor in Russia; Making War, Not Love: Gender and Sexuality in Russian Humor, as well as four collections of short stories. He has also produced anthologies of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian poetry. His book-length publications also include a scholarly biography, Stalin's Romeo Spy: The Remarkable Rise and Fall of the KGB's Most Daring Operative, two novels on emigration, Na kudykinu goru [From Here to Wherever] and Farewell, Mama Odessa, and his memoirs Shush! Growing up Jewish under Stalin,  In the Jaws of the Crocodile,  as well as the forthcoming volume Laughing All the Way to Freedom: Americanization of a Russian Emigre. A bilingual author, he has also published essays and short stories in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Partisan Review, World Literature Today, Prism International, and other American, Canadian, and British periodicals, as well as in Russian, Polish, Belorussian, and Israeli journals. His areas of specialization are Russian satire and humor, contemporary Russian folk culture, and Russian and East European Cinema. Prof. Draitser is currently in charge of the film program in the Division of Russian and Slavic Studies. (For more information, visit:



Visiting and Adjunct Faculty




Lily Alexander

Lily Alexander has taught in New York since 2003, including at NYU and CUNY, and lectured at premier film schools of California, NY State and Canada. At the Dept. of Classical and Oriental Studies, she teaches a series of courses on comparative mythology. Her interests encompass world myths, folklore, theories of fiction, global narrative media, and interactive storytelling. She has a Master’s degree in Drama and Film, and a dual doctorate in Anthropology and Comparative Cultural Studies. (Education: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Alberta, University of Toronto). Dr. Alexander’s research foci include symbolic anthropology, theories of culture, creative algorithms, and evolution of (creative) consciousness. In addition to world mythology, she has taught global cinemas, history of narrative, screenwriting, comparative literature, genre studies, adaptation, science fiction, comedy, story structure and worldbuilding. Lily Alexander has presented at 40+ conferences (twice as a keynote speaker), including the MIT Media in Transitionseries and the forum Cognitive Futures. Her public talks include “The Author Inside, Outside and Inside Out” and “Beyond the Human Perspective – the POV of the Gods, Heroes, Aliens, and Fantastic Beings.” As a visiting scholar at Columbia University (2004) and invited speaker at Harvard (2006), she gave a series of lectures including: “Confessions of the Sinner: Admission of Guilt in Russian and American Literature and Film” and “The Antihero in the History of Narrative Culture.” She wrote for the History Channel, the forum on emerging media at the University of Southern California, The Journal of Narrative TheoryThe Russian ReviewCinema Journal and Cinema Art. Her scholarly publications appeared in the USA, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Russia, and Israel. A member of the international Working Group on interactive storytelling and worldbuilding, she published five studies on emerging media theory. Prof. Alexander contributed articles to book collections Comparative Literature Now: Theories and Practice(1999), Filmbuilding(2002), Revisiting Imaginary Worlds(2017), the award-winning The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds(2018) and Exploring Imaginary Worlds(2020). Her recently published study on theory of mythopoesis, “Mythopoetic Suspense, Eschatology and Misterium: World-Building Lessons from Dostoevsky” was delivered as an invited lecture at the Sorbonne, the University of Paris (2020). Lily Alexander authored a four-part bookset Fictional Worlds: Traditions in Narrative & The Age of Visual Culture(2013), followed by the interactive version on Kindle, and the expanded/illustrated edition on iBookstore (2014). Her website is:



Vasiliy Arkanov

Vasiliy Arkanov

Vasiliy Arkanov is a former journalist and a published translator. Over the last ten years, he had taught intermediate and advanced Russian at Columbia University, Barnard College, and Indiana University Summer Language School. Since 2014, he has been working as a Senior Academic Advisor at the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and as an Adjunct Lecturer in intermediate Russian language courses.



Vasily Lvov (Basil Lyoff)

Basil Lvoff (Vasily Lvov) is a literary theoretician, writer, translator of poetry, and former journalist. He defended his doctoral dissertation devoted to Russian Formalism and Digital Humanities in the Comparative Literature Program at CUNY Graduate Center. His kandidatskaiadissertation focused on the unique combination of scholarship, creative and journalistic writing in the theories of the Russian Formalists, and was defended at Moscow State University's School of Journalism, the Department of Literary Criticism. In addition to scholarly articles—published under the name of Basil Lvoff in English and Vasily Lvov in Russian—he has had his creative work published in The New Review (Novy zhurnal), ZvezdaNovy mirInterpoeziyaGastarbajter, Inventory, National Translation Month, and elsewhere. Two of Basil Lvoff’s student-engagement projects in particular bring together his scholarly and creative expertise: Moving Lyrics, a poetry/film workshop and festival (, and Shakespeare: Homecoming—the students’ experimental translations of Shakespeare’s Russian translations back into English (


Olena Martynyuk

Olena Martynyuk is an art historian from Ukraine, with MA in Cultural Studies from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy of Ukraine and PhD in Art History and Theory from Rutgers University. In 2019-2022 she was a Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ukrainian Studies in the Harriman Institute of Columbia University, where she was doing research and taught classes on Ukrainian and Russian art history. Previously, she taught art history classes at Rutgers University and CUNY College of Staten Island, and organized exhibitions at the Zimmerli Art Museum, the Ukrainian Museum, and the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City. Her most recent exhibition Painting in Excess: Kyiv's Art Revival, 1985-1993 was curated for the Zimmerli Art Museum and travelled to Coral Gables Museum, Miami. Martynyuk edited a comprehensive catalogue which was published in conjunction with the exhibition by Rutgers University Press. She authored and co-authored book chapters on Ukrainian art in books From ‘The Ukraine’ to Ukraine: A contemporary History, 1991-2021, edited by Mykhailo Minakov, Georgiy Kasianov and Matthew Rojansky (2021, together with Oksana Barshynova) and Contemporary Art in Ukraine and the Baltic Countries: Political and Social Perspectives, edited by Svitlana Biedarieva (2021, a single author). Currently, she is working on the Introduction to Ukrainian Contemporary Artas a co-editor with Alla Rosenfeld (forthcoming in Toronto University Press) and on her own monograph on Ukrainian neo-baroque. 



Aksana Pisetskaya

Aksana Pisetskaya

Dr. Aksana Pisetskaya received her Ph.D. in Russian language from the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad, Russia). Her thesis was devoted to the linguistic aspects of the poetry of the Silver Age. She also holds a Master's degree in Belarusian and Russian languages from Belarusian State University. Aksana Pisetskaya has been teaching Russian language courses, both traditional and online, at the university level since 2003. Before becoming a lecturer at Hunter College, she taught courses in philology at the Minsk State Linguistic University (Belarus). Dr. Pisetskaya has published several research articles and presented at major professional conferences on various aspects of language instruction. Her current research interests focus on Russian as a foreign language, intercultural competence, and methodology in Russian language teaching. Aksana Pisetskaya teaches Russian language based on a communicative and interactive approach, her teaching methods integrate up-to-date technology in the classroom.



Malgorzata Pospiech

Malgorzata Pospiech

Dr. Malgorzata Pospiech is a writer, documentary filmmaker, journalist and photographer. She obtained her Ph.D. from Wroclaw University where she studied languages, literature, film, and art history. She gained national recognition for her work as a director and writer of a feature documentary about Arthur Penn, the famous American director. Dr. Pospiech made several documentaries for Polish TV, such as, for example, A Generation, which chronicles the plight of Polish people deported to Siberia by the Soviets, as well as short documentaries about Polish artists. In addition, she compiled over 70 interviews on camera with veterans and survivors of WWII which are now housed in archives at the Polish Army Veteran's Association in Manhattan and linked to the official site of Peter Weir's film The Way Back.

As a writer she has been contributing to the top Polish literary magazine for the past 30 years. She has published hundreds of articles, essays, interviews and reviews for both popular and academic publications. She also is an active published translator, including Arthur Penn in Conversations, 1992-1995 (appearing in 2011); A  Small Town, the novel nominated for Central Europe Literary Award in 2015; The Seventh Ring ( a novel) and A Notebook (a collection of poems) published in 2016; Ariadna's Labyrinth nominated for Central Europe Literary Award in 2018 and Fog Over the River Styx (2019). Professor Pospiech is in charge of the Polish language and literature program in the Division of Russian and Slavic Studies.



Zinaida Sabitova

Professor Zinaida Sabitova earned her Ph.D. in the grammar of Old Russian from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan in 1999. She has been teaching Russian language at all levels and to various groups of students for close to three decades. Throughout her career as an educator, Prof. Sabitova also taught a variety of courses in linguistics and culture. Before joining the Hunter program in 2022, she worked at Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University and Al-Farabi National University in Kazakhstan, at the University of Helsinkiin Finland, and Anadolu University in Turkey.

Prof. Sabitova’s research interests include Russian grammar, functional syntax of Russian language, historical grammar of the Russian language, lingua-cultural studies, intercultural communication, methods of teaching Russian as a native, second and foreign language, and functional literacy in education.

She is the author of Morphology of the Modern Russian language(Almaty, 2011), Lingua-Cultural Studies(Moscow, 2013),Historical Grammar of the Russian Language(Moscow, 2013), Russian Grammar. Advanced level(for students in Turkey) (Ankara, 2016, 2017), Functional Syntax of Russian Language(Moscow, 2019), Developing Functional Literacy Skills of Teaching the Russian Language in High-Schools(Moscow, 2022), and The Russian Language for Grades 5-11, the required text for all middle and high schools in Kazakhstan since 1999.

In 2019, Prof. Sabitova received the National Russian Pushkin Medal for her achievements in developing Russian language studies around the world by the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature.




Julia Trubikhina

Julia Trubikhina received her PhD in Comparative Literature with a specialization in Slavic Studies from New York University. Her interests include literary theory, translation and cultural studies, 20th-century literature and art, 19th- and 20th-century Russian poetry, and contemporary poetry. Her book The Translator's Doubts: Vladimir Nabokov and the Ambiguity of Translation received the Samuel Schuman Prize in Nabokov Studies in 2016 and, with support by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, was selected for the series "Reissuing and Promoting Slavic Studies Titles as Free EBooks." Among Julia's recent and forthcoming projects are the translated and edited volume of the Russian poet Vladimir Aristov (2017), translations of a seminal contemporary Russian woman writer Elena Shvarts for the first American edition of her work, and of all poetry in Efim Etkind's memoir The Barcelona Prose (both forthcoming in 2021)Prof. Trubikhina teaches all levels of Russian language, 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century poetry in Russian, Russian Short Story, Humor and Satire, Vampires in Lore and Literature, and 20th-century Russian culture, both in Russian and in English. Prof. Trubikhina has served as the faculty adviser to the Russian Club of Hunter College and has been involved in programming for the Division's cultural program, Russian and East European Cultures at Hunter College (formerly known as Crossing Borders).


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