The School of Russian is one of the oldest departments at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). It was formally founded in 1941 as the Russian Language Team in the Third Branch of the Yan'an-based Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Military and Political University (Kangda). The Russian Language Team grew into the Beijing Russian Language School in 1949. The school was later renamed as the Beijing Russian Institute in 1955 and merged with the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute in 1959. Later, the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute was also renamed, becoming the BFSU in 1994. Its former Russian language department developed into the school of Russian studies in 1996.
The School of Russian is a major academic institute in Beijing. Its Russian language majors are characteristic academic disciplines at the municipal and national level. The school was authorized by the Academic Degrees Committee under the State Council to enroll graduate students in November 1981. It has been authorized to confer doctoral degrees from July 1986. Nowadays, there are bachelor’s, master's and doctoral programs at the school, which also has postdoctoral programs for Chinese and overseas doctorate holders.
There are 33 staff members at the School of Russian, consisting of 28 teachers, three school counselors, a postdoctoral staff member, and one managerial employee. Its teaching staff are composed of four doctoral supervisors, 10 professors (four PhD supervisors included), eight associate professors and 10 lecturers. Many teachers at the School of Russian are famous scholars known at home and abroad, most notably having won the Pushkin Medal and Gorky Literature Prize.
The School of Russian offers eight foreign language courses, which include Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkmen, Tajiki and Belarusian. Undergraduate students are expected to study for four years. The master's degree programs range between two and three years, while postdoctoral students will study for either three or four years. The teaching of Russian has been integrated with the courses of the other seven foreign languages.
The courses for undergraduate students at the School of Russian cover comprehensive practice, grammar, listening, reading, writing, translation and interpreting. Other than improving the linguistic knowledge and professional skills of students, they are also designed to increase their humanistic qualities and help them have a better understanding of target countries in regards to their geography, history, culture, literature, society and arts.
Students from the School of Russian have performed well in the annual Band-4 and Band-8 Tests for Russian Majors (TRM).
The academic programs for master's degrees at the School of Russian include Russian linguistics, Russian literature, the social culture of Russia, MTI (translation and interpreting) and regional studies of the universities associated with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
The School of Russian is one of the major compilers for Russian textbooks in China, and its textbooks for Russian majors have played an important role in Chinese education of Russian. The most famous textbooks include Russian (1-8) published in the 1960s, Primary Russian, Intermediate Russian and Advanced Russian published in the 1980s, and College Russian (Oriental 1-8) published in the 1990s. From 2001 to 2015, the school was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to compile a number of Russian textbooks, many of which won the first national prize for Russian majors.
The School of Russian is a leading member of the organizing committee for the TRM Band-4 and Band-8.
The journals of Eurasian Humanities Studies (Chinese version) and Slav Civilization (foreign version) by the School of Russian have been published in China and other countries and have been very popular amongst teachers and students of Russian majors.
The School of Russian has set up a number of research centers approved by the Ministry of Education, including the Center for Russian Studies, the Center for Ukrainian Studies, the Center for Kazakhstan Studies, the Center for Slav Countries and Regional Studies, the Center for Belarusian Studies (jointly built by the BFSU and Minsk State Linguistic University), and the Center for Russian Language (financially supported by the Russian World Foundation). These professional centers annually organize a number of academic gatherings and events for students, becoming important platforms for the school to engage in relevant research and people-to-people exchanges with other countries.
The School of Russian has maintained a sound cooperative partnership with Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and the five countries in Central Asia, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Examples of universities that it has reached a deal of cooperation with over the last few decades include Moscow State Linguistic University, Moscow State University, Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv in Ukraine, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan, Uzbek State University of World Languages, Kyrgyz National University and the Minsk State Linguistic University of Belarus.