The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures Welcomes Dmitry Bykov

January 22, 2024
Headshot of Dmitry Bykov standing outside and smiling at the camera.
Dmitry Bykov

The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLC) is proud to welcome Russian poet, journalist, professor, media personality and satirist Dmitry Bykov, one of the most prominent writers and public intellectuals in the anti-Putin opposition. He is currently the inaugural Scholar in Exile in the Humanities Center and will be teaching courses in MLC on Russian culture, current events and world literature through the 2024-25 academic year.

In April 2019, as the result of his outspoken criticism of the Putin regime, Bykov was the victim of a suspected attempted poisoning by the same Russian FSB operatives who poisoned political opposition leader Alexei Navalny (see the investigation by the news organization Bellingcathere). He was banned from teaching at Russian universities or appearing on Russian state-controlled media. He left Russia in 2022 just before Putin invaded Ukraine and was declared a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. Before coming to the University of Rochester, he taught at Cornell in the 2022-23 academic year supported by a fellowship from the Open Society University Network's Threatened Scholars Integration Initiative.

Bykov is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, poetry, biographies, and literary criticism. This spring semester he is teaching two courses in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures: "Hard Labor, Exile, Prison: The Culture of Incarceration in Russia" and "Nikolai Gogol and the Creation of Ukrainian Literature."

On April 2 at 5 p.m., Bykov will deliver a talk entitled "The Ideology, Myths and Rituals of the Deep Russian State."