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Durham University

Email and Telephone Directory

Staff Profile

Mrs Olga Zabotkina

Assistant Teaching Fellow in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43460
Room number: A28

Contact Mrs Olga Zabotkina (email at

Academic roles

Teaching and module convening

  • RUSS1042 - Russian language 1B 
    I am responsible for designing and teaching the oral component; I also teach text classes
  • RUSS1151 - Introduction to Russian History and Culture
    I deliver two lectures on this module: "The Image of the Russian Church" and "The World of the Russian Village"
  • RUSS1161 - Russian language 1A
    Designing and teaching the oral component
  • RUSS2012 - Russian language 2B
    Designing and teaching the oral component; teaching audio-visual classes
  • RUSS2191 - Russian language 2A
    I am responsible for designing and teaching the oral component and translation (R-E) and I am the module convenor
  • RUSS3031 - Russian language 4
    Teaching translation (R-E)
  • RUSS3381 - Russian for Professional Communication (year 4)
    I teach interpreting on this module

Other academic roles

  • TLRP (Target Language Research Project) supervisor for Year Abroad students


Born in the Far East of the Soviet Union, I graduated from Kaliningrad State University (which is in the far west of Russia) having received a degree with distinction in philology and qualifications of a teacher of English.

Having moved to Kostroma (one of the cities of the “Golden Ring” of Russia, twinned with County Durham), I worked in the Historical and Architectural museum-reserve as a senior researcher and later as head of the department of museum pedagogy. I also taught English at the Kostroma State Pedagogical Institute as well as worked as an interpreter with delegations from Durham (UK) and Durham (North Carolina, USA) and accompanied delegations of the Kostroma City Council and Kostroma diocese on their visits to England.

After moving to Durham I worked as a freelance interpreter/translator and also taught Russian at St. John’s College (“Training for success”- Russian for beginners), at South Tyneside College (DPSI course) and at Durham Johnston school (GCSE and A-level).

Since 2010 I have been teaching Russian at all undergarduate levels in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

In 2020 I was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education. 

Conference Papers

  • Kostroma International Student Conference (2020). My student Alex Haigh presented the paper on the history of dachas in Russia, which I supervised. 
    Here is the link to Alex’s presentation: 
  • UK Lingua 2019 "Reaching across borders"
  • Durham University Fourth Learning and Teaching Conference, 2019 "Reaching across borders"
  • UK Lingua 2018 “Engaging Students through Songs and Fairy-tales”
  • Durham University Third Learning and Teaching Conference, 2018 “Engaging Students through Songs and Performance in and out of Classroom” 
  • Conference organized by N.N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (Moscow) and Kostroma Architectural – Ethnographic and Landscape museum, Kostroma, 2018. I presented the paper “Peasant women in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century”. 
    My student Victoria Pedley took part in this conference with the paper “The life and writings of Marfa Kryukova”, which I supervised.
  • Durham University Second Learning and Teaching Conference, 2017 “Songs in Language Teaching”
  • Conferences in the Kostroma State Archive in 2012, 2014 and 2017 - papers on Kostroma peasants in the first half of the 20th century and on the history of Durham - Kostroma twinning link.

Performances and Events

  • Online concert of the students of the Russian department (2021), which I organized with help and support from Rossotrudnichestvo in Great Britain, can be found here: 
    Publication about the concert on Rossotrudnichestvo site: 
  • Evening dedicated to the great Soviet writer Chingiz Aitmatov with Dr Rahima Abduvalieva, Aitmatov’s interpreter and translator, as a guest speaker (March 2021).

  • Celebrating 160th anniversary of Anton Chekhov with Dmitry Turchaninov, director of the first professional Russian-speaking theatre in London “Xameleon” (November 2020): 
  • MLAC concert “Music Unites Us All”, which I organized with all the departments of the School (2020) can be found here:
  • "Literary and musical evening to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory Day", which I organized with our second- and fouth-year students (2020) can be found here: 
  • Performance of Chekhov’s short stories, which I organized  with our second-year ab initio students (2019) can be found here: 


  • Articles on the history of the Ipatyev monastery in Kostroma, on relationships between the city of Kostroma and the Romanov dynasty published in research magazines and newspapers.
  • Articles about County Durham, its people, its heritage and traditions published in the Kostroma regional newspapers.
  • “Kostroma from A to Z” by O. Zabotkina, N. Pashkevich and I. Sidorova. Textbook in English for pupils of secondary schools. Kostroma, 2006.
  • “Kostroma from A to Z” by O. Zabotkina and N. Pashkevich. Workbook in English for pupils of secondary schools. Kostroma, 2012.
  • «Кострома-Дарэм. Английские заметки» Кострома, 2010 (“Kostroma-Durham. Notes from England” Kostroma, 2010)

Scholarship Interests

  • Enhancing student engagement
  • Songs in language teaching
  • Teaching translation and interpreting
  • Enhancing student experience
  • Using performance in and out of classroom

Research Interests

  • History of Russia (end of the 19th – beginning of 20th cent.) and of the Romanov dynasty
  • Russian folklore and fairy-tales
  • Russian wooden architecture and peasant household