Global Trends or Regime Survival: The Reforms in Russian Higher Education

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This paper explores the link between the public policy and the survival strategies of a hybrid political regime. Using the case of higher education in Russia, I show how the Russian state elites use the policy tools widespread in Western democracies to achieve domestic political goals. Introduction of quasi-market mechanisms into higher education is used to reduce government expenditures and free up resources that can be spent for loyalty in other spheres or personal consumption by state elites. Creation and support of large research universities are ways to gain the loyalty of university administrators. They control organizational access to students and can help manage potential student protest. Quality control in higher education through state licensing and accreditation creates a perfect setting for selective law enforcement and instills self-discipline on the side of universities. I argue the higher education policy in Russia is not a case of borrowing policies from the West. Rather it is a case of using Western-looking policy tools to ensure the flexibility and survival of the hybrid political regime in the country.

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  • 01/03/2019
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  • 12-001
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