Research traditions and the basic directions of educational activities of the department, that had the name «department of History of Russian and foreign literature» up to September 2007 were forming over many decades. It is the oldest department of the Faculty of Philology. It was founded as department of language and literature in 1935.
Two years later, in 1937, Kazakh State University formed a branch of English and Western literature. Study of Russian literature and Russian language were developing in parallel directions. In 1938 department of Russian language and literature was opened in the separation from Department of History of Russian literature. In 1941 the Department of Russian and foreign literature was organized, transformed in 1944 into the Department of World Literature.
In 1959, both scientific directions: the study of global and Russian literature consolidated under the aegis of the Department of History of Russian and foreign literature, which existed until 2007. In September 2007 the Department was merged with the department of theory of the world literature and folklore. In September 2008 as a separate structural unit was formed Department of Russian and world literature.
In 2011, the Department reorganized into the Department of Russian Philology, Russian and world literature by merging into a single structural unit of the three departments of the Faculty of Philology: Russian and world literature, Russian philology and Russian language. These departments, having significant scientific, research, educational and methodological expertise for many years occupied a key place in the history of philology.
Today the head of the Department of Russian Philology and world literature is the Corresponding Member of National Academy of Science of Republic of Kazakhstan, PhD, Professor Dzholdasbekova Bayan Umirbekovna.
The first head of the Department of Russian language and Russian literature was A.Y. Andruzsky, associate professor (1938-1943), and since 1943 the department was headed by Professor Nahum Yakovlevich Berkovsky, scientist in the field of Romano-Germanic literature, the author of a series of research papers on romantic Western literature. Officially, the first head of the Department of Russian and foreign literature, became an assistant professor and later PhD, Professor Shal'nikov Alexander Gerbstman, leading scientist of Balzac’s study. At various stages of the department was headed by well-known scientists who have left their mark in the Russian and Kazakh science. Associate Professor Tatyana Vladimirovna Posse, the daughter of well-known Russian publicist, began her educational work at Kazakh State University in 1939. As a graduate of History and Philology of the famous Bestuzhev courses, she completed it in 1912, she spoke fluent English and French. Prior to coming to Alma-Ata in 1933, she worked in various institutions in the direction of the People's Commissariat. In 1944, she defended her PhD thesis "The ideas and images in the works of D. Mamin-Sibiryak" in the Council of the Kirov Kazakh State University, from 1944 to 1956 acting as a Head of the Department of Russian and foreign literature.
Since 1962 till 1966 the Department of Russian and foreign literature was led by Faina Ivanovna Steklova, who graduated literary department of the Kalinin State Pedagogical University and defended PhD thesis on the early works of Adam Mickiewicz in 1949, her constant research priority was the theme of ethnic literary relations.
Since 1966 to 1970 intermittently the Department of Russian and foreign literature was headed by Mikhail Vasilievich Madzigon. A graduate of the first set of KazGU postgraduate course students on Western literature, in 1963 defended his PhD thesis "Realism of early works of Charles Dickens." Between 1962 and 1972 acting heads of the Department of Russian and foreign literature performed by scientist, worked at the university many years, and found themselves at the department temporarily: Malovichko Alexander Lazarevic, Gabdirov Ileuken Hamidullinovich, Kendybaev Fayzulla Burasovich.
About twenty years (from 1972 to 1991), the Department led by PhD, Professor Kal’sim Shakirovna Kereeva-Kanafieva, as M.V. Madzigon, the 1941’s graduate of the department of Philology. Prior to that, in 1937-1938 she studied at pedagogical working faculty of Omsk. Entered postgraduate course of KazGU in 1945, in 1946, she was assigned to the postgraduate course of the Leningrad State University. In 1946 as assistant at the Department of Russian and foreign literature, Kal’sim Shakirovna successfully defended her PhD thesis "The Kazakhs in Russian literature and journalism 1730s-1840s", in 1973 - his doctoral dissertation on "The Russian-Kazakh literary relations" in the Divisional Council of the Leningrad State University.
Outstanding contribution to strengthening the scientific authority of the department in the country and abroad made by PhD, Professor Bagizbaeva Maya Mikhaylovna. In 1985 graduated from the Faculty of Philology of Lomonosov Moscow State University. Maya Mikhaylovna defended her doctoral thesis on "Folklore of Semirechensk Cossacks", headed the Department of Russian and foreign literature in 1991, Maya Mikhaylovna always been actively involved in scientific and social life of the community: a member of the Academic Council of the Faculty, the Chairman of the Dissertation Council of K14, A.01.24, a member of the Specialized council for doctoral dissertations defending under NAS RK, academician of the HS, a member of the Academic Council of the University, a presidium member of the Women's Union under the President of RK and Chairman of the Women's Union of Kazakh State University. In exchange for many years of hard work, by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR, she was awarded the medal, "Veteran of Labour", for services in the field of higher education of the USSR - breastplates decorations "for Excellence in work" and "Honored worker of science and technology."
Sagalovich Svetlana Mikhaylovna a graduate of the Philology Faculty of Kirov Kazakh State University in 1960. From 1999 till 2002 was acting as a head of the Department of Russian and foreign literature. In 1984 she defended her thesis on «Principles of artistic reflection of Kazakh reality in the works of A.S. Sorokin».
Ashimhanova Svetlana Ashimhanovna, PhD., professor, led the department from 2002 to 2005. In 1967 was a postgraduate student of Lomonosov Moscow State University and successfully defended a thesis. In 1999 defended doctoral thesis in literary theory "Poetic of G. Musrepov’s prose", published a monograph "World of Gabit Musrepov" noted by first Ch. Valihanov’s award in the field of humanities in 2002.
In 2005-2007, the department was led by Abisheva Ulbolsyn Kurmangalievna, a graduate of Philology Faculty of Kazakh State University, received her PhD under the supervision of Professor M. Bagizbaeva. In 2006 defended doctoral in the Specialized Council of MSU "Neo-realism in Russian literature of 1900-1910s."
Since 2008, now heads the Department of Corresponding Member of NAS RK, Doctor of Philology, Professor Bayan Umirbekovna Dzholdasbekova, a graduate of the Faculty of Philology KazGU. In 2002, she successfully defended her thesis "Artistic originality epic prose I.P. Shukhov" and in 2006 - his doctoral thesis " Russian prose epic of Kazakhstan 20 -70- ies of XX century ." Bayan Umirbekovna actively involved in academic and social life of the university: a member of the Dissertation Council D14A.02.22 to award the degree of Doctor of Philology at the Kazakh National University. Al-Farabi member of the Academic Council, the chairman of the Union of Women Treasury. Professor Dzholdasbekova - Winner of the Republican contest and the winner of the grant MES "Best teacher of high school" (2008) , " The best teacher of Kazakh National University" (2009). For hard work was awarded the honorary title "75 years of Kazakh National University" diplomas.
Bagizbaeva M.M., HSRK academician, PhD, Professor
From 2020 to the present, the department is headed by Dr. PhD, Acting Associate Professor Tattimbetova Kuralai Omirlanovna. A graduate of the Philological Faculty of KazNU, in 2019 she successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on "Theoretical and methodological aspects of the analysis of the poetics of Ivan Shchegolikhin's prose at the university". She participated in the projects of fundamental research of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan "The paradigm of intellectual and innovative potential of the individual in the literature of Kazakhstan during the Independence period", "The role of the humanitarian discourse of the Leader of the Nation in the process of creating the national idea of Kazakhstan during the Independence period". In 2020, Tattimbetova K. O. became the owner of the state scientific scholarship for talented young scientists of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. For conscientious work, she was awarded the badge of honor "75 years of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University".