Irina Filatova is Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Associate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She received her degrees at Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia and worked there from 1973 to 1992, finishing her tenure as Professor and Head of the African Studies Department. Between 1992 and2002 she was Professor and Head of the Department of History at the University of Durban-Westville in South Africa (now the University of KwaZulu–Natal), and from 2000 to2002, Director of the School of Social Sciences. Between 2004 and 2022 she taught history at Russia’s National Research University – Higher School of Economics.
Filatova specialises in African history, the history of ties between Russia and South Africa, the history of the communist movement in South Africa, and the problems of race and ethnicity. She has authored dozens of articles, edited publications and six books on these subjects. In 2014, Media24 awarded her book, The Hidden Thread: Russia and South Africa in the Soviet Era, co-authorised with Apollon Davidson, the Recht Malan Prize for the best non-fiction book of the year.