Editorial Note

This issue of OZ explores the origins, evolution and the current state of higher education in Russia, and traces the progress of the educational reform that has been unfolding in the past few years. The contributors, as well as the participants in the discussion proposed by the journal, are not just analyzing the difficulties facing the reform in the complicated context of an unclear, crisis-ridden and unstable social situation: they are proposing ways and methods to fundamentally adjust the transformations that have recently been launched. According to most of the contributors, university education is regarded as a key institution linking together the past, present and future of society, serving as a major tool for its modernization, influencing its interaction with the rapidly developing outside world and largely determining the place of Russia in the new global order.



Boris Shalyutin

Is There a Way to Bring the Russian Leviathan to Reason?

The article centers on the sociocultural essence of science and higher education and the specific features of their institutionalization in Russia and proposes steps for getting out of the crisis in which the system of higher education in Russia finds itself today.


Peter Safronov

After Demodernization

The article focuses on the history of prewar Soviet universities in the context of a broader process of socialist reconstruction of the educational system. Basing himself on archival materials, published documents and periodicals of the period, the author substantiates the thesis that higher education institutions in Soviet Russia were formed under the predominant influence of the demodernization trend. The component parts and results of the process of demodernization at Soviet universities are analyzed. The article concludes with proposals for further development of universities and academic policy.


Mikhail Sokolov, Vladimir Volkhonsky

The Political Economy of Russian Higher School

The article examines the economic foundations of the internal policy of Russian university. Based on the findings of the monitoring of the economics of education carried out by the National Research University Higher School of Economics, the following four types of institutions with different economic bases can be singled out: (1) those run solely with funds received from self-financed students; (2) those run mostly with funds received from the state budget for government-financed students; and (3) and (4) institutions with diversified economies that have distinct research, educational or industrial financing. The same monitoring demonstrates that corresponding to them are different types of political regimes and that they distribute state budget funds in favor of different interest groups.


Mikhail Blyakher

Hyper-Regulation in the Higher Education System

The article proposes a model of the functioning of higher education institutions in a situation of hyper-regulation. The history of the development of the processes now underway at Russian higher schools and their consequences for higher education are examined. It is demonstrated how the defense mechanisms called upon to protect the internal practices of a higher education institution eventually narrow down the space within which education is in principle possible.


Sergey Kozlov

Evolution of the French Educational System in the 19th Century

A chapter from the author’s book dealing with the evolution of French university in the 19th century. An analysis is given of the causes, forms and results of implanting the German educational model in the French one, above all in the field of historical and philological knowledge.



Yaroslav Kuzminov, Dmitry Semyonov, Isak Frumin

An Uncompleted Transition: From a State Plan to a Master Plan

The article provides a historical background of the establishment and development of the Soviet and post-Soviet higher education system. A typology is offered of higher education institutions of the Soviet period (regional infrastructure-based and sectoral higher education institutions and classical universities), and their destiny in the 1990s and 2000s is commented upon. The way out of the present-day crisis, in the authors’ opinion, is indicated by the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which ensured in the last century complete reorganization of that state’s education system.


Alexander Klimov

Modern Times. An Interview

Alexander Klimov, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, answering questions put to him by Otechestvennye Zapiski, stated that the higher education reform would proceed from the premise that the world is moving towards greater variability in the education system and the time when there existed a unified standard set of disciplines is passing irretrievably. Education is becoming continuous, and the task of higher education is to form the basis which will subsequently enable man to actualize his professional competence depending on what he is striving for. This is a fundamentally new foundation whose basis is formed by productive communication skills and knowledge of foreign languages. That is why the ministry’s papers refer to higher and not higher professional education. So far, the progress of the reform has been slow, since the standardization of the substantive issues of teaching students is the task of leading universities, and these standards are yet to be developed and unified with due regard for universal competences that will be uniform for everyone.


What Was, What Is and What Will Be. Experts Speak Their Mind on the Higher Education Reform

Answers of representatives of all the stakeholder groups involved in higher education and its reform—the Ministry of Education, higher school administration, faculty and students—to questions put by the editorial board of OZ: (1) Why is higher education needed in the present-day world? (2) Why did the Russian higher education system have to be reformed and what goals should the reform pursue? (3) What should the technology of transformations be? (4) How do you assess the progress of the reform that has been launched?


Rustem Vakhitov

The Bologna Process in Russia

The article deals with the reform of higher education in Russia in connection with its joining the Bologna Process. The author maintains that the Bologna reform has essentially failed. The changes that have been made were merely cosmetic, and the Russian higher education institutions have basically remained unchanged, operating according to the “educational dispensation” model fundamentally different from the Western Humboldt university model.


Olga Sobolevskaya

Playing by the Rules

The article presents an overview of studies carried out in the last three years analyzing the progress of the educational reform, the changes it introduces in the behavior of the participants in the educational system, the way it alters their priorities, and its significance for Russia in the international context.


Eugenia Turtapkina, Marina Lapteva, Maxim Rumyantsev

The Way to Streamline a Federal University

The Siberian Federal University was established in Krasnoyarsk in 2006 as a support base for a new phase in the development of Siberia—the phase of launching high-technology production facilities and ensuring comfortable living conditions. However, the university’s positive impact on the social and economic situation in the region is hindered by the passive stance of the business community, the underdevelopment of the innovation market, the conservatism of big companies in respect of technological modernization of production facilities and their inability to formulate the order for personnel. All these factors restrain the processes of modernization of the professional education system. The university has a good potential for a breakthrough in research activity, yet on account of its status it has to maintain a social function, preserving research and study areas and programs that are “nonproductive” in terms of advancement in international ratings.


Natalia Veselkova, Dmitry Melnik, Anatoly Merenkov, Yulia Mokerova

Federal University: Mission Possible?

The article identifies problem nodes emerging in the process of establishment of federal universities as higher education institutions of a new type being set up within the framework of the reform of Russia’s higher education system. The uncertainty of mission, a contradictory combination of the scale of activity and other characteristic features of such a higher education institution are examined based on the findings of an empirical survey of the image of the Ural Federal University which was carried out in 2012-2013 among the applicants, their parents, graduates of major Urals higher education institutions, and representatives of the authorities and business circles of the Greater Urals.



Irina Abankina, Tatiana Abankina

The Place of Higher Education Institutions in the New Economy: Strategies and Challenges

The article examines the key features of innovations in education, analyzes the economic interests of major stakeholders at the present stage of development of education and substantiates proposals on the need for theoretical rethinking and conceptual development of the principal models used today for describing the range of problems in general education.


Vadim Radayev

On Academic Ethics and Fighters against the “Antiplagiat” System

The article analyzes the general context of the struggle against plagiarism in thesis writing that has unfolded and response attempts to ban the use of the “Antiplagiat” system. The dynamics is presented of the quantitative indicators of professors’ and students’ attitude towards copying and plagiarizing the work of others over a period between 2004 and 2012. The question is raised of the possibility of affirming the norms of academic ethics and the ways of achieving this goal as exemplified by the experience of the Higher School of Economics.


Alexander Vysokovsky, Anastasia Evsyagina

University in the City

The article examines the spatial location of higher education institutions represented in Moscow by more than 1,500 buildings—educational, laboratory and administrative buildings, dormitories, and sports, cultural and other facilities. Their distribution has taken shape as a result of a random process with educational buildings gravitating towards the city center, the areas with the best transport accessibility, and dormitories moving to large-scale residential development zones in the outskirts of Moscow. As a result, students spend excessive time traveling to and from school, which substantially reduces the efficiency of the educational process. The article also discusses options of the development of the spatial organization of Moscow’s higher education institutions.



Valentina Bykova

Beyond the Limits of Reason

A Review of the Book: Ken Robinson. Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative

The book by Ken Robinson proposes a new model of the educational system based on an integral notion of the human brain as possessing not only logical deduction capabilities but also a creative potential. Creative and innovative activity, which the existing academic practices do not promote, is the way to build a human future. In school and corporate education there already exist effective examples of developing creative skills.


Martin Gilman

A Few Random Thoughts on Higher Education

This brief essay focuses on the personal experience of the author, who acquired an all-around education at educational institutions in the United States, as well as in London and Paris, and on the changing place of education in the present-day world and in Russia.


Natalia Bondarenko

Higher Education in the System of Personal Values and Market Reference Points

The article sets forth the findings of surveys concerning the importance of higher education for residents of Russia (secondary school and college students and their parents) in whose view it remains an investment ensuring not so much their professional formation as the obtaining of a diploma—a formal confirmation of the right to enter the domain of high earnings. An analysis is also given of the preferences of today’s Russian employers, who are generally not satisfied with the training of recent graduates and do not trust the presence of a diploma as such: they are interested in a young specialists’ ability to put their knowledge to practice, their team work ability, their communicativeness, etc.


Irina Kaliteyevskaya

Non-Diplomaed Specialists. Interviews

A series of interviews with people who have deliberately not obtained a higher education in their specialty and whom this choice has not prevented from achieving a creative and professional success.



Larisa Taradina

Merits and Demerits of International Ratings

The idea of rating universities, originally conceived for assessing universities’ activities or their various aspects, is lately being transformed into a tool for influencing the development and management of universities, including through public financing mechanisms, and in exceptional cases it even influences the national policy in the field of higher education. In the near future, active searches will be conducted for new approaches to comparing universities.


Maria Yudkevich

The Russian Academic Profession and the Building of Advanced Universities

The article discusses the characteristics of the academic profession in Russia in the context of building research universities. To what extent does the organization of university life correspond to the mobilization objectives of raising research productivity? How do the faculty’s preferences correlate with the new tasks of universities’ goal setting? What is the university community’s attitude towards the idea of global competition?—such are the central questions of the work. It uses the findings of the Russian survey of university professors conducted in 2012 according to the international Changing Academic Profession Study and Survey Methodology, and also the findings of similar surveys carried out in 19 countries of the world in 2008-2011.


Improvement Strategies. Round Table Discussion at the Esprit Journal

The discussion conducted by French experts deals with the higher education reform that has been underway during the last few years. In the center of the discussion is the problem of effective and adequate assessment of both research and educational activity of universities. Special attention is given to the prospects of Americanization of higher education in France and the threat of stratification of the system of French universities in the context of developing new strategies for their “improvement.”



Maria Rikityanskaya

The Future University: Ideas and Possibilities. An Abstract

Ronald Barnett (Ed.). The Future University: Ideas and Possibilities, New York, Routledge, 2012

The book The Future University: Ideas and Possibilities reflects the authors’ main ideas about the transformations that await universities in connection with the growing role of information. An overview is given of studies of transformations of higher education in Australia, China, Latin America and South Africa, and a critique is offered of the prediction of the inevitable advent of a “socialism of knowledge.”


Alesya Chernyavskaya

Bureaucrats and Alternatives. A review of the books College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey J. Selingo (New Harvest, May 7, 2013) and The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters by Benjamin Ginsberg (New York, Oxford University Press, August 12, 2011) The article is a review of two books united by the theme of critique of the higher education system in the present-day United States. Jeffrey J. Selingo in College Unbound and Benjamin Ginsberg in The Fall of the Faculty give similar evaluations of the atmosphere on campuses: universities are overstaffed with administrators, who constantly think up new things to do and ignore the interests of the faculty and students, and spend enormous amounts of money on advertising, professors are stifled with paperwork, and many students cannot pay back their academic loans for many years after graduation. The authors propose different scenarios for getting out of the crisis: Ginsberg opts for returning to the ideals of academic freedoms, whereas Selingo proposes to develop university through alternative educational platforms on the Internet.


Kirill Martynov

University Coursera

The article deals with the phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)—the latest trend on the market of educational services in the United States. MOOC projects such as edX, Udacity and Coursera invite their students to sign up for free online educational programs offered by leading US universities and subsequently to obtain a (paid) certificate confirming that they have acquired appropriate skills and knowledge. What future lies in store for higher education in the situation of emergence of such a global classroom? The article argues that strong universities, influenced by open online education, will grow still stronger, whereas medium-scale educational institutions will find it ever harder to compete on the global market: in this respect, higher education repeats the fate of the traditional mass media in the present-day world.



Alexander Kraskovsky, Pavel Yakovlev

Transformation of the Management System: The End or the Means?

The aim of the rail reform that kicked off in 1998 was to reduce the transport component (quite substantial compared with that in other countries) in the price of goods being transported. At the first stage, when most of the rolling stock was privatized, the cost of transportation began to decrease; today, however, the decrease has slowed down and the railroads have faced a number of challenges. In the authors’ opinion, this has to do with the imperfection of the railroad management system, which is evidenced by a faster growth in the size of managerial staff compared with the increase in performance indicators. A switchover to an up-to-date process resource model of management, the basic principles of which are described in the article, could mend matters.


The Land of OZ

Leonid Praisman

From the North to the Volga. Whom Did the Majority of the Country’s Population Support in the Civil War?

Why did the Bolsheviks gain the upper hand in Russia in the 1920s? The author arrives at the conclusion that the Bolsheviks succeeded in winning to their side the “dark majority” that had a hatred not just for the ruling classes (which was characteristic of the North and Siberia, where serfdom had never existed) but for all those whom they regarded as “lords and masters.” It was the body of non-commissioned officers, only a small share of whom had joined the Whites, that played a decisive role in the successes scored by the Red Army.