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Yaroslav Lissovolik

Chief Managing Director of Sberbank, Head of analytical Department of global markets Sberbank Investment Research, RIAC Member

In the past few years the government has increasingly emphasized the need to develop human capital. This area of economic transformation is viewed as one of the most promising ways to accelerate innovation processes and increase labor productivity. In the meantime, the development of human capital can enhance not only the rate of Russia’s domestic economic progress but also the efficiency of its foreign economic policy, including its “soft power” strategy. 

In the past few years the government has increasingly emphasized the need to develop human capital. This area of economic transformation is viewed as one of the most promising ways to accelerate innovation processes and increase labor productivity. In the meantime, the development of human capital can enhance not only the rate of Russia’s domestic economic progress but also the efficiency of its foreign economic policy, including its “soft power” strategy.

Thus, over the past decade Russia has increased its contribution to the development of low-income countries, in part by writing off large external debt. However, although the amount of aid for developing nations is substantial, its effect could be more targeted and important for bilateral relations and the progress of the recipient countries if this aid were more focused on education and healthcare. In the same way cooperation in migration that seriously helps reduce poverty through cash remittances by migrants to their families at home, a focus on supporting education and healthcare could produce a much bigger effect compared with other support instruments.

One of the tools for prioritizing the development of human capital in cooperation with foreign countries is the creation of a ramified network of education alliances. A development strategy could follow several paths:

- bilateral education alliances with the countries that can produce the biggest effect for cooperation and joint development of education institutions;

- regional education initiatives on establishing joint centers of technical and educational development and creating competitive world and regional education centers;

- involvement in global educational initiatives, including determination of the priorities of Russia’s participation in initiatives such as the Bologna Process;

- strategic alliances at the university and institute level that could include both joint courses and academic programs, as well as programs for the recognition of diplomas and education exchanges;

- cooperation between universities and institutes at the sub-regional level (the regional level) – cooperation agreements between cross-border areas and education and technology development clusters.

Education alliances could become part of comprehensive bilateral foreign economic agreements with countries or regions alongside measures on mutual trade and economic integration and liberalization.

Apart from inter-country education alliances, we need to develop a strategy for creating a system of alliances at the level of companies, including private companies. Thus, the arsenal of alliances between major industrial companies would include strategic unions and alliances linked with the development and introduction of technology and promotion of products in foreign markets. In this system of alliances it would be necessary to pay more attention to the development and upgrading of personnel skills.

The establishment of CIS and SCO universities exemplifies the creation of education alliances at the regional level. Thus, the CIS network university includes 27 leading universities from nine CIS countries, while the SCO network university unites 53 educational institutions in this organization. As Marina Lebedeva notes, “CIS and SCO network universities are aimed at creating a Eurasian education space that, if these projects are carried out, will ensure closer cooperation between the participating states in the future.” [1]

It is important to note that education alliances facilitate the intensification of integration processes in other areas of socio-economic cooperation, including migration. Education integration can largely generate migration flows, primarily for highly qualified specialists [2].

When creating alliances on education and scientific cooperation it is necessary to consider the presence of the Russian scientific diaspora that is playing a major role in this respect. Western Europe and the United States lead in this respect, exceeding 70 percent of Russia’s entire research diaspora. It is also necessary to note the importance of Asia that will become increasingly important to Russia’s academic and educational ties – Asia accounted for almost 15 percent of Russia’s entire scientific diaspora.

Of the key areas in the Russian scientific diaspora it is necessary to set aside physics, biology and mathematics which account for almost two thirds of Russia’s total intellectual diaspora. On the whole, the fundamental and technical sciences account for the overwhelming majority of the Russian diaspora, whereas social and humanitarian sciences add up to little more six percent of the total.

Distribution of the Russian academic diaspora in major research areas, percent:

Physics

33.6

Biology

22.8

Technical Sciences

12.7

Mathematics

9.3

Chemistry

6.1

Social and humanitarian sciences

6.1

Earth Sciences

5.2

Medicine

3.6

Agricultural sciences

0.6


Source: Andrei Korobkov. Dynamics and structural characteristics of Russian intellectual migration. Marina Lebedeva. International migration in the modern world. Development of the intellectual International migration in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Migration processes in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Main reasons for the specificities of modern intellectual migration. Edit. Marina Levedeva. Intellectual migration in the modern world. MGIMO-University Publishers, 2014, p. 10


To increase their competitiveness Russian universities can expand the education network for developing nations in part by establishing university affiliates abroad and creating a diverse network of alliances with their education institutions. This area makes it possible to enhance the export potential of Russia’s education services and at the same time promotes Russia’s university brands in education.

Regional distribution of the Russian scientific diaspora, percent

Post-Soviet states

2.3

Western Europe

42.4

Scandinavia

5.2

Eastern Europe

1.1

North America

30.4

South and Central America

1.9

Asia

14.7

Africa

1.2

Australia and New Zealand

0.8


Source: Andrei Korobkov. Dynamics and structural characteristics of Russian intellectual migration. Marina Lebedeva. International migration in the modern world. Development of the intellectual International migration in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Migration processes in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Main reasons for the specificities of modern intellectual migration. Edit. Marina Levedeva. Intellectual migration in the modern world. MGIMO-University Publishers, 2014, p. 10

Education and the development of human capital in general were key components of the Soviet Union’s soft power in relations with developing nations. In the current conditions, an upgraded strategy for the export of education services could allow Russia to restore its position in this area after several lost decades during “the transitional period.”

Including the future elite of developing nations in the language and culture of Russia is a major element in the export of education services. It would provide a long-term positive effect on economic and political relations between countries for generations. Today, it is important not to delay the restoration of such links for the new generations of foreign leaders. This should be done while memory is still fresh and there are ties that accumulated in Soviet times by previous generations of leaders, many of whom are at the helm of power in their countries.



[1] Marina Lebedeva. International migration in the modern world. Development of the intellectual International migration in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Migration processes in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Main reasons for the specificities of modern intellectual migration. Edit. Marina Levedeva. Intellectual migration in the modern world. MGIMO-University Publishers, 2014, pp. 16-17

[2] Marina Lebedeva. . International migration in the modern world. Development of the intellectual International migration in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Migration processes in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Main reasons for the specificities of modern intellectual migration. Edit. Marina Levedeva. Intellectual migration in the modern world. MGIMO-University Publishers, 2014, p.1



Source: Valdai

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