A great number of outstanding Historians-Slavists worked at the BSU in 1920-1930s: the first President of the BSU Professor V.Picheta (a researcher of Socio-Economic and Cultural History of Russia, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine); Academician Ya. Karsky (works on the Slavonic linguistics, Ethnography, Paleography, Academician of NAS, a member of the Czech Academy of Sciences); A.Yasinsky (works on the Agrarian History of the Middle-Aged Czechia, History of the Czech Culture).
During the Great Patriotic War the scientists of the History Faculty (V.Pertsev, F.Konstantinov, and T.Gorbunov) published a number of works dedicated to the struggle of the Slavonic nations against the German aggression. Later the range of the Slavonic researches of the BSU became very wide: from the problems of ethno genesis of the Slavs to the actual problems of the present time. The Slavonic Studies were a linking discipline uniting historians, philosophers and experts in culture. N.Gusakova, Professors V.Chepko and G. Livshits, Associate Professor L.Sushkevich contributed a lot to the development of the Slavonic Medieval Studies. The works on the History of the struggle of the Slavs against the Ottoman yoke, on the links of the foreign Slavs with the Russian Revolutionary movement were carried out by Associate Professor N.Sinitsa, Professors A.Klevchenya and M.Ioska. The Belarusian Slavist Professor D.Meltser analyzed in a complete form for the first time in the Soviet History the diplomatic, economic and cultural relations in the interwar period and studied the historical links of the Bulgarian and Belarusian nations, their economic and cultural cooperation. His monograph “Belarus and Bulgaria. Their Eternal and Unbreakable Friendship” was translated into the Bulgarian language and published in 1985 by the publishing house in Sophia “Science and Arts”. The University Slavists took an active part in the compiling and publication “The Reader on the History of the Southern and Western Slavs” (v. I-III. Minsk, 1989-1991).
In the late 1990s the teaching of the History of the Southern and Western Slavs was done at the History Faculty within the Department of Ancient World and Middle Ages and the Department of Modern and Contemporary History. In August 1991 the Department of the Contemporary History of the Slavonic Nations was founded on the base of the Department of the USSR History of the Soviet period. It was headed by Associate Professor A. Salkov. The subject matter of the new Department included the History of the Soviet Society, the Contemporary History of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Academician of the AS of the BSSR I.Ignatenko, Professor V.Sidortsov, Associate Professors V.Menkovsky, M.Chesnovsky, L.Mikhailovsky, I.Litvinovsky, E.Savchuk, V.Brigadina and N.Tsaryuk worked at the Department then.
In 1998 the Department of the Contemporary History of the Slavonic Nations was transformed into the Department of the History of the Southern and Western Slavs. The training of the specialists in History is realized in the following specialties: 1) the History of the Southern and Western Slavs; 2) the Slavonic World and European Civilization (interdepartmental specialty together with the Department of the Russian History). The Department provides teaching of the following disciplines: the History of the Southern Slavs, the History of the Western Slavs, the History of the Southern and Western Slavs, the History of the Slavonic Culture, the Teaching Methods of History, and some specialized courses.
There are 10 lecturers at the Department: 7 Associate Professors, a Senior Lecturer, a Lecturer, a leading laboratory assistant. Eight of them have the degree of the Candidate of Historical Sciences.
The areas of the research work of the Department are: the History of the Southern and Western Slavs, the History of Culture of the Southern and Western Slavs, Historical Ecology, Methods of Teaching History. The Head of the Department Associated Professor A.Salkov is involved in the examining the national and territorial matters of bordering regions of Central and South-Eastern Europe in 1930-1940s, geopolitical problems in the Balkan countries. Associate Professor M.Dovgyalo has been working on the matters of the Contemporary History of the Southern and Western Slavs, Methods of Teaching History, Historical Ecology. Associate Professor N.Tsaryuk has dedicated the work to the cultural development of Poland between the two World Wars, socio-cultural processes in Western Belarus. The cultural links between Belarus and Russia in XIX c., the History of Culture of the South-Eastern Slavs are looked upon and taught by Associate Professor V.Simakova. Professor L.Mikhailovskaya has focused her attention on the Polish chronicles of XIX, the History of foreign policy of Rzech Paspalitaya, Source Studies of foreign countries. Senior Lecturer D.Lazareva is dealing with so called “Polish question” in the European policy in XVIII-XIX cc., the History of Culture of the Western Slavs as well as historiography of foreign countries. The research work of Associate Professor L.Kozik is dedicated to the History political, social and cultural development of Poland in 1940-1960s; the subject matter of the research work of Associate professor S.Alexandrovich is military service of Ancient Slavs. Several scientific areas such as Polish, Bohemian and Balkan Studies are taught at the Department.
A testing is one of the sources of controlling the students’ assignments, a module-rating system has been introduced lately. A students’ independent work is given much attention to. The Department takes part in all-University Research and Methodological seminar on the problems of the form and technology for renewal of higher learning.
There is a students’ debate club at the Department. The students take part in the annual Faculty, Republican and international scientific conferences. The Department has links with several foreign higher educational establishments and research centers of the world. It publishes the yearbook “Russian and Slavonic Research Work” along with the Department of the Russian History.