Neighbor from Hell: Russian Businessman Alexei Zakharov (Intermediate News Lesson)

ESL Level: Intermediate (B1/B2)
Lesson Topics: disputes between neighbors, bullying
Skill Focus
: Speaking, Reading, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: neighbor-russian-bully-intermediate-042024.docx

  • Note: This lesson was originally posted in 2011. It was revised and enhanced in 2024.
  • After warm-up questions, students read a 291-word reading passage that tells the story of an 'everyday' type of guy being bullied by a rich neighbor who believes that "everyone has a price."
  • After a recall activity, students complete comprehension questions and then vocabulary-matching activities. This includes an activity requiring students to create questions with new words from the passage.
  • Post-reading activities include roleplays between good and bad neighbors. The first focuses on an annoying dog and the second a messy yard.
  • The lesson has two debate prompts, one related to short-term rentals and the second about pets in apartments.
  • As a new speaking activity, students brainstorm five guidelines to create to ensure members of an apartment building live together harmoniously.
  • The lesson ends with a collocation review, vocabulary review, and final discussion questions.

Two properties divided by a fence

INTERMEDIATE (B1/C2) Lesson Plan on Neighbors


  1. Have you ever had a problem with a bully?
  2. What do you know about your neighbors? Do you get along with them?
  3. What is your neighborhood like? Is it becoming better or worse?
  4. What types of arguments often happen between neighbors?

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This lesson plan was created by Matthew Barton of (copyright). Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. ChatGPT was used to generate answer keys, proverbs, and some famous quotations. For questions, contact the author.

Comprehension question answers

  1. A real estate agent was pressuring Mandys to sell his land, not hired by him.
  2. Mandys' business is suffering because his plants have been damaged, his windows broken, and his greenhouse burned down, in addition to Zakharov's bodyguards preventing customers from entering his shop and the blocking of two paths leading to his garden.
  3. Mandys was screaming from the forest because he was attacked and woke up with his leg covered in blood and bruises.
  4. One of Zakharov’s bodyguards has been charged with the attack on Mandys.
  5. Mandys' lawyer thinks that a fine of 50,000 crowns is unlikely to make Zakharov obey the law due to his wealth.
  6. According to a rumor, porn films are being shot in the chateau.

Vocabulary answers: 1-b, 2-g, 3-d, 4-f, 5-h, 6-c, 7-I, 8-j, 9-a, 10-e

Collocations: 1-d, 2-a, 3-c, 4-b


2 comments on “Neighbor from Hell: Russian Businessman Alexei Zakharov (Intermediate News Lesson)

  1. Keith Wicks (Posted on 2-13-2012 at 15:37) Reply

    Great topic, almost everybody has or will have a situation similar to this one.

  2. winifred (Posted on 11-13-2015 at 10:46) Reply


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