Higher Education in Russia: Is There a Way out of a Neoliberal Impasse?
This chapter discusses the ongoing transformation of higher education in Russia. Like some other chapters in this volume, it will interpret this transformation against the background of the more general neoliberal policy that is as characteristic for contemporary Russia as for many other states. Like in the rest of the world, Russian higher education is currently under pressure to become financially autonomous and efficient, to do its own fundraising from private sponsors, to switch to the two-tier B.A./M.A. system, to change the curricula in the direction of its uniformity, to introduce citation ratings as criteria for salary increase and to shift the center of decision making from faculty self-governance to an administration appointed by the government. However, unlike in the countries of the ‘core’ (Wallerstein 1974; 1980), the ‘neoliberal’ transformation per se has not achieved many results in Russia because it is largely blocked by the conservative post-Soviet establishment, which has successfully prevented a serious reform of the Soviet university throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Thus, what happens is rather a resultant from the two partly contradictory, partly convergent forces: the conservative and often corrupt post-Soviet academic elite, and the global trend of neoliberal reformism, agents of which are Russian government officials and the more ‘progressive’ academics.
KeywordsHigh Education Bologna Process Soviet Time Electoral Democracy Academic Elite
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