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Durham University

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Russian Studies

Staff in the Department of Russian

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


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 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 (on a part-time basis) 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 the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Conference Papers

  • 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 “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 the Kostroma peasants in the first half of the 20th century and on the history of Durham - Kostroma twinning link.

Performances and Events

Students of the Russian Department of Durham University prepared and presented a "Literary and musical evening to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory Day" on 11th February 2020:

Last year's Chekhov's performance 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 the students of secondary schools. Kostroma, 2006.
  • “Kostroma from A to Z” by O. Zabotkina and N. Pashkevich. Workbook in English for the students of secondary schools. Kostroma, 2012.
  • «Кострома-Дарэм. Английские заметки» Кострома, 2010 (“Kostroma-Durham. Notes from England” Kostroma, 2010)

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