Higher education in Russia Part II: Since the war began

23rd June 2022 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Igor Chirikov, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley; Anna Smolentseva, PhD student, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Audience: Public

The devastating effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are visible to all. As the CGHE webinar of 19 may showed, tertiary and high education too have been fundamentally disrupted and in places eliminated. Many students and academic faculty have left the country or been drawn into the war effort and buildings and infrastructure destroyed. The future of local tertiary education in Russian occupied zones is bleak. What is less visible is that the war has been accompanied by a savage repression of anti-war protest in Russia, catching many students and faculty in its net, and a moral crisis for institutions.

The rectors of state universities all signed a statement of support for Putin’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, reminding the world that university leaders are appointed by the state and institutional autonomy is highly constrained when the interests of the regime are at stake. The state has jettisoned Russian participation in the Bologna alignment of structures and courses in Europe and appears to have dropped the internationally benchmarked ‘five in 100’ excellent programme designed to lift Russian universities up the global rankings. International links now seem to be actively discouraged, a return to the Soviet era closure, and large numbers of academic faculty and students have left the country. For faculty and students who remain in Russia, many of them deeply opposed to the policy of the country and grieved by the shutting down of free intellectual life in the universities, the future looks bleak. Our two experts who lead the webinar are in touch with the internal situation in Russia but unlike their colleagues inside, free to speak the truth.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).