Ella Starobinska

Majored in Russian 

I was born in the year when the Soviet Union fell apart.  Growing up inpost-Soviet Ukraine, I witnessed strict anti-Russian policies and educational changes that were implemented inorder to increase nationalism among the population. Russian language, history, and literature were eradicated from our generation's education. I grew up speaking and learning Ukrainian, while in the classroom setting we read great Russian classics, as a part of “World Literature.” We read Pushkin, Lermontov, and Chekhov, but instead of the original works, we used their Ukrainian translations. Growing up in a Russian-speaking family, I learned this language by ear, without any understanding of its grammatical basis. With the help of the Russian department at the University of Arizona I was able to learn Russian grammar, and study Russian history and literature. The Russian Department helped me to appreciate the authenticity of various literary works and the beauty of the Russian language.