Неэргодическая экономика

Авторский аналитический Интернет-журнал

Изучение широкого спектра проблем экономики

The Depletion of Academic Rent

This article discusses the phenomenon of academic rent looking at its financial and non-financial components. The study of the internal structure of academic rent helps to better understand its dynamics. The author provides an introspective analysis of his own experience of working at a university and describes the process of gradual depletion of academic rent. The study provides numerous facts and discusses several high-profile cases that illustrate this process. The author formulates four basic conditions required for restoring academic rent and shows that all these conditions were violated during the economic reforms of the 1990s. This leads to a pessimistic conclusion that in the coming years the traditional model of academic rent cannot be restored. The author further analyzes the recent attempts to reform higher education and the organization of science in Russia. The analysis shows that these attempts may prove futile and fail to restore the prestige of the academia.

Russia is in the midst of another attempt to reform the spheres of science and higher education. These centralized efforts have been prompted by the inefficiency and unsatisfactory performance of these sectors of the economy. The main purpose of the reform is to effectively change the institutional basis of science and education activities, which in turn presupposes a new motivation mechanism for research and teaching corps of higher education institutions. So far the stark reality is that no effective institutional changes have been carried out at research organizations and higher education institutions. This suggests three main questions: first, why is the modern system of science and education performing so poorly? Two, why is the regulator failing to normalize its work? Third, what needs to be done to resolve this crisis situation?

The sections below try to successively answer these questions. I will proceed from the facts about changes in academia accumulated over the years of introspective observations. The main provider of microeconomic data is the State University of Management (GUU) which by all accounts can be regarded as a typical higher education institution in Russia. That would provide grounds for generalizing the author’s personal observations.

I. Academic Rent. The Concept and Structure

In practice the challenge of institutional transformations in higher education and scientific organizations is to provide a high level of internal motivation for its workers. The pivotal role of this trait of university professors has been repeatedly stressed in the literature [7]. The key element in the motivation system is an effective mechanism of academic rent. Let us take a closer look at this concept.

Although the term is occasionally used in the scientific literature no established definition has yet been provided. Let us try to sum up the various elements of that phenomenon within a single scheme.

Because a career in science is usually preceded by a prolonged period of study the assumption often is that the input of time, effort and money in academic experience represents the input in human capital and is similar to any other kind of investment that brings certain dividends or interest. This interpretation goes back to the works of Gary Stanley Becker [3]. It means that a person’s efforts to acquire academic skills hold the promise of a higher salary in the future. The salary raise constitutes the sought-after interest which can also be interpreted as academic rent. In practice calculating this value is a fairly complicated problem in its own right. Compounding the situation is the fact that in addition to the monetary factor the intangible nonmaterial effect of academic activity is often brought into the equation. The phenomenon is sometimes called “academic rent” (AR) and sometimes academic remuneration [8]. We believe that to avoid terminological confusion it makes sense to introduce the following concepts.

Let monetary academic rent (MAR) signify the increase of the remuneration a person gets by virtue of having academic signs of distinction: an academic degree, academic rank, membership of professional and expert communities, etc. For example, at universities and research institutions holders of academic degrees enjoy higher salaries; one can get into state academies of sciences and scientific foundations in the capacity of a member or an expert only if one holds a scientific degree of Doctor of sciences, etc. In other words, academic titles allow one to get a direct increase of income (for example, in the shape of bonuses for scientific degree) as well as indirect income (for example, by providing a social lift for promotion). To illustrate the second component let us say that today the charters of some Russian higher education institutions make it obligatory for a university rector to hold the scientific degree of Doctor of Sciences.

Let us define nonmonetary academic rent (NAR) as the positive moral and psychological effect a person derives from working in the academic sphere. That is inherently an intangible effect that cannot be observed externally. Nevertheless it exists and its role cannot be underestimated. Yaroslav Kuzminov and Mariya Yudkevich identify several components of NAR [8].

The first element of NAR is inner satisfaction derived from creative work. The professor’s work is supposed to involve an active process of self-education and constant acquisition of new knowledge and positive experience; the possibility of delivering high-class scientific results is a source of strong positive experiences and an emotional “afterglow.” besides, a scientist’s work is often free of the effect of “alienation of the results of the labor.”

The second element is broader academic recognition, i.e., the recognition of a person’s scientific achievements on the part of his/her colleagues, the citing of his/her articles and books, the existence of grateful pupils, followers and scientific schools. These “side effects” of work generate a feeling of self-importance and of being useful, as well as a sense of being closely integrated in the social context.

The third element is academic freedom. As a rule, professorial activities do not require constant presence in the workplace; one can choose freely the themes of research and distribute one’s time between different types of activity.

The fourth element is the high reputation of academic work in society. Until recently a professor’s job in nearly all countries was one of the most highly respected and prestigious jobs in the public eye. Although some scholars do not include the reputation factor into NAR [8], in our opinion there are no valid grounds for treating it as an independent component. The only difference between the first three and the fourth element of NAR is that the former depend mainly on the academic environment and the latter on external subjects and institutions.

Fig. The Structure of Academic

It has to be said that the introduction of NAR marked a major theoretical achievement because it explains a multitude of diverse phenomena. For example, the earnings of “rank-and-file” representatives of the academic sector (who do not hold high administrative rank) are as a rule significantly lower than their market value, i.e., what they could earn in the market sector of the economy. Nevertheless there is no massive outflow from the spheres of science and education either in Russia or in the Western countries. This paradox is explained by NAR: in choosing a job, the subject compares all the earnings, i.e., the market earnings are compared with the sum of MAR and NAR. The NAR element often more than compensates for what professors lose in terms of salary, which explains why they choose to remain in the university milieu. The above considerations are based on the assumption that in the process of decision-making the emotional bonus in the shape of NAR gets a subjective but quite concrete material assessment in terms of values.

However, I believe that academic rent should include one more element that often goes unmentioned. I am referring to the high stability of academic employment. Until very recently in Russia the fluidity of personnel in higher education and research organizations has been much lower than in the market sector organizations. In other words, those who worked in the academic sector were far less likely to lose their jobs than in other structures. The literature has noted that the NAR began to quickly “evaporate” beginning from the 1990s. By the 2000s the dissipation of the NAR practically ended up at zero level. However, that did not result in a massive driftaway of personnel from the academic sector. This suggests that some advantages are still there. In our opinion, the advantage was the stability, which is one more intangible component of academic rent; elsewhere we will refer to it as anti-risk academic rent (AAR). In practice AAR manifests itself in that workers in higher education are less likely to lose their jobs and have an opportunity to greatly prolong their working life after reaching retirement age.

The concepts introduced make it possible to build a more general model of decision-making when academics decide to move to other sectors of activity. He individual decides to stay in (or leave) a higher education institution by comparing the academic rent with market parameters.

II. Dissipation of Academic Rent: Chronicle of the Process

Almost immediately after the collapse of the USSR the AR began to rapidly evaporate. Let us look at each component of this analytical structure one by one.

The first blow struck the MAR. The salaries of professors and research workers plummeted catastrophically. While in the soviet times the salaries of candidates and Doctors of sciences stood at 200—400% of the national average wage, throughout the period of reforms it was way below the average wage. In the period between 2005 and 2010 the ratio of remuneration in education to the national average varied between 63% and 71% (see [15]); in 2000 the ratio reached an all-time low of 56%. Even in early 2013 when emergency measures were taken to change the situation, the salary of a Moscow professor holding a Doctor’s degree at a good higher education institution constituted 65% of the average wage in the capital. And the average wage in the city was calculated for all market participants, including stevedores, street cleaners and guest workers. Yet even against this broad background the professorial community was at the very bottom. At the same time in Moscow’s research institutions under the Russian Academy of sciences (RAS) the salary of a chief research worker with a doctoral degree and the rank of a professor accounted for about 50% of the average city level.

To illustrate the dramatic deterioration in the material conditions of the academic sector the following example would suffice: in 2001 a graduate of the GUU who got a job at a travel agency and had worked there for a year earned ten times as much as a professor at her alma mater ($1000 vs. $100 a month). According to the Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, the average monthly salary of a school teacher in the capital in 2013 exceeded 60,000 rubles, and in many schools was as high as 67,000 rubles [9], that is, twice the size of the professor’s salary. Russia has perhaps become the only country in the world where a university professor earns almost half as much as a primary school teacher. Moscow school teachers who had the command of English in teaching other disciplines, as well as physical training teachers, earned up to 80,000—90,000 rubles a month in the early 2010s, i.e., three times as much as university professors.

The apotheosis of the destruction of the MAR was the introduction of the system of academic bonuses, including bonuses for holders of academic degrees. Thus, until 2013 inclusive, many higher education institutions and state research institutes paid an extra 3000 rubles a month to holders of a candidate’s degree and 7000 rubles to holders of a Doctor’s degree. The ranks of a Docent (associate professor) and professor carried microscopic extra pay of several hundred rubles, and then only in those higher education institutions that granted these benefits out of their own funds. Things came to absurd lengths at the RAS (Russian Academy of Sciences) research institutes. For example, the campaign to rejuvenate the body of scientists in 2011-2012 involved the introduction of a “youth bonus” which at Moscow institutions was as high as 15,000 rubles a month, i.e., 5 times more than the bonus for the degree of candidate of sciences. Thus a young person who got a job at an academic institute after graduation was “declared” to be a young scientist and was entitled to a salary higher than that of a Doctor of sciences.

The catastrophic material position of higher education institutions was reflected in the puny teaching infrastructure. All types of office equipment—computers, Xerox machines, scanners, printers, etc.—were either absent or dysfunctional at university departments; there were not even enough desks for the professors. This situation gave rise to the practice that came to be known in university circles as “children’s racket,” meaning discreet “extortion” from students and their parents of gifts for a university chair in the shape of office equipment. Such “charity” on the part of the students was extremely humiliating, especially If one keeps in mind the existence of the commercial form of education in which such spending should be automatically included.

Let us now look at what happened to the other components of NAR.

The first element of NAR—creative job satisfaction — was practically destroyed by the “sweatshop” system introduced at higher education institutions. The teaching load kept growing. Thus, on a very rough estimate, the number of teaching hours of a university professor increased fourfold during the period of reform: while in the soviet times a professor’s load was 2 hours a week, in 2012 it was 8 hours. In 2013 massive dismissals of higher education workers lead to an unprecedented increase in the number of classroom hours for the professors who stayed. Thus in 2014 at the GUU the classroom load of professors in the fall semester will have to go up to 450 hours compared to 220 hours in the spring semester. The result of these changes was to totally eliminate the creative element from the professor’s work. The professor effectively became a parrot who had to endlessly repeat the same material over and over. Characteristically, the increase of teaching hours was accompanied by a cut of other types of professors’ academic load. Part of the reason for this was that classroom work is an activity that is easy to monitor for the institution’s administration while all the other work is considered to be “ephemeral” and unproductive. At the same time higher education institutions introduced a reporting system that was mind-boggling in its scale and absurdity. Professors had to constantly plan their activities and report their fulfillment. In fact every university chair turned into a mini-Gosplan; the GUU in 2014 even introduced the practice of operational (monthly and even weekly) road maps for the work of university chairs. The amount of paperwork at the GUU in 2010-2013 increased by an estimated 4 times. To complete the destruction of the creative element in teaching the system of state standards was introduced that regulates the list of disciplines taught and the thematic sections within these disciplines; considerable deviations from these standards were thought undesirable. Thus the positive emotional “afterglow” from a professor’s work was practically suppressed.

The second element of NAR—academic recognition — was almost totally destroyed as well. Our surveys show the dominant attitude of university students to their professors as “school teachers”; nobody perceives them as top-class specialists or as role models, nobody considers the “professorial” model to be a model of success in life. In fact a professor is for the students the same as the school teacher, only in a university environment; there is no question of a professor being accorded special respect. Moreover, experience shows that many students who encounter a truly intelligent and knowledgeable professor at university ask him/her upfront: if you are so smart what are you doing here? In their opinion, this is no place for an intelligent and talented person to work; such a person should pursue a career in the civil service or make loads of money in business. Otherwise an intelligent professor is regarded as an oddity and even arouses some suspicion. In a characteristic episode a GUU student upon learning that a theory set forth in a lecture had been developed by the lecturer himself exclaimed: “Well, I didn’t realize that you were also a scientist.” In the eyes of a modern student a professor who is also a research worker is nonsense.

The possibility that a professor may have grateful students is remote and illusory. This may be an exception, but not a normal situation. Today the overwhelming majority of students come to university not for knowledge, but for a certificate (a diploma). They have no enthusiasm for learning, learning as a kind of labor is unacceptable for them. The above is illustrated by a social experiment. A professor at a Moscow higher education institution provided his audience with methodological material (a course of lectures in electronic shape) before he started delivering his lectures; at the end of the term he presented certain requirements for getting a credit that ruled out the possibility of using cribs to pass the test. Realizing that such a system of monitoring knowledge spelled great problems for them, the professor offered the students a business deal: he who is constitutionally unfit to study for a credit can come to him and say the magic phrase: “I am a dumbhead, but I want a credit all the same,” whereupon the credit would be given him. If the student refused to call himself a dumbhead, he bones up for the credit and passes it, and if he fails the first time, is allowed to try again; one cannot withdraw from the game midway and declare oneself to be a dumbhead. Thus the professor offered his students an alternative: either a conscious moral humiliation and effortless acquisition of a credit; or saving face and honor, but at the cost of much effort and time. The course body was 82-strong. The result of the experiment: 6 students (7%) opted to try and pass the test, 77 students (93%) happily admitted that they were good-for-nothings. Among those who tried to pass the test only one succeeded, and among those who tried but failed, one immediately began to find excuses reproaching the professor of providing some materials that were not clear enough.1 Given such moral degradation among students it would be a utopia to find understanding and respect for the professor in their midst.

One other factor that undermines students’ respect for their professors is payment for education. Behind every student there is a certain sum of money, either the budget tariff funded by the state or the market price of tuition covered by the student. If a student is expelled for unsatisfactory academic learning performance a corresponding sum is removed from the university’s fund. For this reason many universities have adopted a policy of “turning a blind eye” to the fact that students have no knowledge. The tacit principle that is followed is that a person pays for being allowed to go to university and receive a diploma, and he is entitled to both; whether the student acquires real knowledge or not is up to the student. The students are well aware of their advantageous position and brazenly abuse their rights. A professor’s timid attempt to protest against the current system is brutally put down by the university administration. As a result students, who, in addition to being ignoramuses, are rude in relations with their professors, end up getting their credits and passing their exams. The professors are on the losing end of the bargain.

One example of the “turning a blind eye” policy is offered by an episode at a certain Moscow higher education institution where the dean of the department in which the professor/student ratio was 1:7 openly told his staff: “If you give seven failing grades, you can hand in your resignation.” The underlying message is clear: seven failing grades means that the seven failing students are to be expelled, and if they are expelled that means one professor has to be dismissed. It is quite logical that the professor who gave these failing grades would be the first candidate for dismissal. In other words, the teachers are always to blame for their students’ poor academic performance. The ideological rationale for such a model of education was formulated by the above mentioned dean: “When you talk with a student you should understand that you are talking 180,000 rubles” (180,000 rubles is the annual cost of a student’s study at university). On the whole as a result of this system the Russian higher education has no mechanisms of rationing the number of applicants and students; the country holds the world record in terms of the number of students per capita [1]. In fact the country has acquired a unique diploma collection syndrome, with many people holding 2, 3 and even 4 university diplomas.

There are also other reasons that contribute to the professor’s sense of helplessness and redundancy. For example, 2013 saw the start of the reform of higher education and the Higher Attestation Commission (VAK) of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science whose chief result was the disbanding of many councils that administered the defense of dissertations. As a result increasingly a postgraduate who has prepared a dissertation and has been allowed to defend his dissertation thesis is unable to do so because there are not enough dissertation councils to go around. In the event the university has no obligations to the postgraduate, by citing the actions of the VAK, whereas VAK in turn is not interested in what happens to the scientific degree seeker. The academic supervisors of the postgraduates find themselves on the receiving end of criticism, which again casts a shadow on the reputation of professors.

The situation is hardly any better with the third element of NAR, i.e., academic freedom. Although a professor does not have to be present in his office all the time, many higher education institutions introduce the system whereby on a certain day of the week the teacher must sit in the office just in case a student turns up seeking his advice. Such hours spent in the office are not remunerated in any way. This procedure challenges the very meaning of teaching and the spirit of an academic organization, turning professors into “office plankton.” At the same time higher education institutions are keen to enforce discipline among the teaching staff when members of methodological units come to lectures and seminars ostensibly to check up student attendance, while in reality aiming at the teachers, to see if they actually conduct their classes and if they are late and so on. Experience shows that such brazen monitoring totally destroys the system of mutual trust between the professors, the administration and the students. Ethical norms are replaced by formal inspections. It is notable that many higher education institutions have repeatedly raised the question of introducing an electronic system to monitor the presence of professors, with cards registering not only the professor’s entry and exit from university, but also entry and exit from the auditorium. Such practice is not yet widespread, but it already has been introduced in some higher education institutions. It is possible that as the higher education sector contracts this practice may become more widespread.

It must be said for fairness sake that there are serious grounds for the system of inspections. Over the previous decades a system of overstating the number of load hours has been put in place, especially in favor of the heads of chairs. The following tacit rule has become established in university circles: “A self-respecting head of a chair does not enter the classroom.” Indeed, many heads of the chairs redistributed load so as to relieve themselves of any current teaching process. This state of affairs, however, distorted all the academic traditions, it had to be resisted, and this led to the introduction of the system of checks. Furthermore, in recent years the system of inadequate standbys became widespread, i.e., the lectures are delivered not by the professor but by his postgraduate student. In at least one established case the head of a chair enrolled postgraduate students on condition that they would deliver lectures for him; one postgraduate from the Caucasus spoke faltering Russian and did not have the faintest idea of the discipline he was to lecture on. The funny thing is that this scheme has a formal justification, the official and still effective norm whereby a postgraduate in the day department had to give 40 hours of classes a year for no pay. Such abuses give some grounds for the introduction of the system of checks.

Professors themselves often promote crude methods of restricting freedom. For example, if a class is attended by just 1 or 2 students, the professor is held responsible. Many professors are told to mark the names of students who are absent and to submit these data to the dean’s office. The net result of this mentorship practice is to suppress academic freedom of the students and the professors.

The practice of making students stand up when the professor enters the classroom has a special place in present-day university traditions. This practice has migrated to higher education institutions from primary and secondary schools thus erasing the difference between higher education and schools. It is unclear why the students have to stand up at attention in front of their professor. This barrack-room spirit is inherently opposed to the academic freedoms characteristic of a university. What is even more intriguing is that many professors vehemently support this tradition genuinely believing that by such behavior students express their respect for the professor. Thus the protest of professors against the humiliations on the part of the administrative system translates itself into demanding a public show of respect for themselves, only on the part of the students.

The fourth element of NAR—the high public reputation of academic work —has also changed dramatically. The problems that were piling up inside the academic sector were slowly but steadily “seeping” outside. As a result society has become aware of the sorry state of science and education and the traditional respect for the professorial prestige quickly dispelled as respect for academic pursuits disappeared. Scientists themselves contributed to this process by demonstrating their practical ineptitude at all levels. The public conferences, seminars and symposia demonstrated a lack of original ideas and practical approaches; it became obvious that empty words and formulas far outweighed realistic proposals.

It is interesting to note the step-by-step degradation of academic ranks. The first victims were candidates of sciences who held the rank of Associate professor when in the early years of reforms they were reduced to the position of university proletarians forfeiting forever their position at the lower end of the academic elite. They were followed by professors, who for a long time enjoyed a high social status that goes back to the times of the USSR. When professors became so numerous as to stop being something rare, their status was destroyed and they too found themselves in the ranks of higher education proletarians. Nobody reckoned with them inside universities and nobody paid any attention to them. The next step was the “fall” of the heads of chairs, who in the soviet times were thought to be “living in heaven.” Up until approximately 2011 they still had a degree of administrative clout that put them in the category of university nomenklatura (elite). However, the status of that category of individuals plummeted since 2012. They were tacitly put on a par with ordinary lecturers and stripped of all their privileges and instruments of management. For example, at the GUU they even stopped being issued papers showing the incomes of their staff, i.e., the heads of units were forbidden to know how much their subordinates earned. Simultaneously the heads of chairs distributed bonuses among their staff using special coefficients without knowing the absolute sum of the bonus because the deans kept mum about the actual size of the bonuses. From that moment on the heads of chairs were increasingly being relegated to the category of university proletarians. This was probably the turning point in the life of Russian higher education institutions as the size of the university elite shrank to such an extent as to demonstrate that this model had no future.

But that was not the end of the story. The deans and their deputies increasingly became hired managers losing their connection with academic circles and traditions. Some higher education institutions, for example the GUU, ruled that deans were to be totally relieved of classroom teaching. That put this category of individuals into an ambiguous position. As for the rector’s office, one can identify two stages. At the first stage the rector was totally alienated from rank-andfile members of the staff. The income of the rector was tens and hundreds of times greater than of professors; the size of the rector’s office and the opulence of the furniture were mind-boggling; they used chauffered limousines, etc. In 2005-2012 the gulf between the rector and members of his staff widened beyond belief: for example, at the GUU not only rank-and-file professors, but the heads of chairs and later the deans had to make prior appointments to be received by the rector. During these years the GUU also introduced a novel rule that liquidated a “one-on-one” format: those who visited the rector were not allowed to talk with him privately, with the secretary always present by the rector’s side; the secretary answered the visitor’s questions, etc.; thus arose the dialogue with the rector’s assistant in the rector’s presence. Furthermore, the rector had personal bodyguards that accompanied him/her inside the university and on the way to his/her office. During this period the rector became an all-powerful feudal lord with unlimited powers. Not surprisingly, this state of affairs triggered a groundswell of sycophancy among the university staff. However in 2013 the second stage began and that was the disappearance of a worshipful attitude to the rector and his deputies. It became obvious that university staff were totally indifferent to the university leadership. The rector came to be perceived as just another hired manager appointed by the founder to do the “spade” work, prepare reports, “padding” university performance indicators, sacking “superfluous” staff, etc. The distance between the rector and the members of the staff diminished, but mutual sympathy did not arise.

At the present stage in the development of higher education the distance between the administrators and professors has been acquiring new forms thanks to new technologies. Thus, at the GUU in 2013-2014 the rector’s office was actively introducing an electronic system of interaction between the administration and the chair heads called The Green Line. Everyone was surprised at the compulsive desire of the rector’s office to introduce that system despite an open opposition on the part of the university workers. At a certain point the strategic aim of the new system became clear: it enabled the administrator to vacation at holiday resorts on Mauritius sending directives to the university staff from time to time. Thus the university administration practically usurped all the academic freedoms of the professors.

Increased administrative competition among higher education institutions created a sense of their being involved in political intrigues. Simultaneously professors became aware that they were helpless puppets in political manipulations. It became obvious that higher education institutions had become divorced from reality and could not do anything useful for the economy. About the same time—in 2013—the political elite finally “crushed” the Russian Academy of sciences which further debunked the status of the academic activity in the eyes of the public, be it at universities or research institutions [10]. In my opinion, that year marked the end of the high public reputation of academic work. It has to be noted that 2010-2014 saw a lot of hard thinking in Academia which ended up for most professors with profound disappointment in the academic sector. When these sentiments spilled into the open the status component of the human capital of academic professors was finally destroyed.

The final aggregate of academic rent (AAR), i.e., the chances of keeping one’s job over a long period, has also been greatly eroded. That factor began to diminish after academic year 2008-2009 when higher education achieved an absolute maximum on every account. According to Rosstat (the Russian Statistical Agency) the number of higher education institutions in 2012-2013 had dropped by nearly 8% and the number of students by nearly 20% compared with the peak year of 2008-2009. Thus, after 2009 the market of higher education institutions began to shrink, which led to dismissal of professors and job insecurity. As a consequence of these processes in 2009-2010 a “witch hunt” began which took the shape of dismissing the workers who had reached retirement age. At the GUU in 2014 that campaign took on catastrophic scale: up to 50-75% of the members of many departments (chairs) were past retirement age, and they had to be put out of staff within a few months. Beginning from that moment the AAR phenomenon was practically destroyed; the practice when professors worked until the age 75-85 was discontinued. Simultaneously the majority of higher education institutions introduced a truly revolutionary innovation by renouncing long-term (three to five-year) contracts with professors and switching to short-term one-year contracts. Thereby the administration of the higher education institutions officially renounced its obligation to provide employment for its professors. From now on tenure was guaranteed for a year at best, but the university could break off even such a contract at any moment. Beginning from 2014 higher education lost its advantage of a steady job compared with firms and companies, becoming purely market structures.

As shown above, the path covered by the Russian system of higher education and science led to the evaporation of academic rent in all its manifestations. This liquidated some inherent advantages of the academic sector with its subsequent weakening if not destroying it completely. In line with Hegel’s proposition that in the process of its development any phenomenon eventually transforms itself into its opposite, one can say that during the years of reform Russian higher education institutions also turned into their opposite. The university turned into anti-university, education into anti-education, science into pseudoscience, academic freedom into academic slavery, creativity into routine, and public respect into public disdain. All the principles that formed the foundation of the work of academic organizations have been abandoned.

Some time ago an ideal model of professorial activities was formulated which included four necessary conditions.

1) Teaching in class should be a rare event. A maximum of 1-2 lectures a week. (Teaching is an auxiliary type of work);

2) It has to be combined with active research (practical) activities (teaching transfers knowledge from the main job to the masses);

3) Teaching should be well paid;

4) The audience must be well prepared, interested and motivated (otherwise knowledge is being squandered).

These four points provide the basis for academic rent. However, as shown above, all these aspects of the ideal model have been destroyed in the higher education system in modern Russia. This means that it is unlikely that the institution of academic rent will be restored in the coming years. All the above is true of a typical average higher education institution. Of course there are universities where the situation is far better than that described above and there are those where the situation is far worse. There are always deviations in one or other direction, but it is the trend that matters. I have tried to indicate the trend.

III. Institutional Innovations in the Academe: the Chase of Mirages

The dissipation of the AR in Russia is tantamount to the destruction of the academic sector. The authorities of course could not ignore this problem. Therefore over the past 25 years the norms that had to be fulfilled by every scientist to achieve academic success have been “renewed” with varying degrees of intensity. Let us look at the succession of institutions designed to preserve the academic rent in Russia. Let us focus on the system of evaluating the scientific personnel and the mechanism of motivating researchers. In describing the institutional trajectory let us see how it is perceived by “a normal” researcher who has gone through all the phases of reform.

For convenience sake let us consider the entire institutional chain as a succession of career steps beginning from the time of the old system of assessing scientific personnel and ending with its modern forms.

Step 1: Candidate of Sciences. Until recently, and to some extent even today, a beginning scientist who wants to be somebody and to be reckoned with must first obtain a degree of candidate of sciences. In the late 1980s in the USSR the standard joke in academia’s folklore was “you need not be a scientist but you must get your PhD,” a paraphrase of the words of 19th-century Russian poet Nikolay Nekrasov in the poem The Poet and the Citizen: “you need not be a poet but you must be a citizen.” Already at that level the scientific community consciously distinguished between genuine science and a scientific degree. The latter was not a sufficient but a necessary condition for becoming a full-fledged scientist. Meeting that requirement admitted a person to “big-time science.” Today, however, that criterion has been totally destroyed. Degrees of candidate are awarded right and left to young people who have neither research nor practical experience. The requirements to candidate’s dissertations have dropped so low that often a dissertation differs from an undergraduate’s paper only in its size. simultaneously the institution of candidate’s degree has become so widespread as to no longer play the function of selecting top-quality scientific personnel. In addition, there emerged a shadow market of dissertations. Even so, the institution of candidate of sciences still exists introducing an element of uncertainty in the operation of the market because nobody knows what a candidate of sciences can really do. Not surprisingly in this situation the rationale of academic rent to the holders of a candidate’s degree was put into question thus destroying the gateway for new personnel entering science.

Step 2: Doctor of Sciences. If a specialist wanted to be a really authoritative scientist he had to make one more step and obtain a degree of the Doctor of sciences. That gave a dramatic boost to the scientist’s social status, ensuring respect on the part of the community. However, that institution was also devalued over time, with all the consequences that entailed. First, there became too many Doctors of sciences and the age at which one became a Doctor of sciences dropped to 30-35, which was something exceptional in former times; secondly, anyone can now become a Doctor of sciences. Very often doctoral dissertations are weird pieces of creativity, primitive and incompetent, unscientific and often absurd. Nevertheless this does not prevent their authors from obtaining the coveted degree. Moreover, there is a thriving shadow market of dissertation services in Russia which, merging with the administrative mechanisms, totally destroys the original concept of the institution of a Doctoral degree. Today one can often encounter a Doctor of sciences who has no scientific achievements to his/her name. This, however, does not prevent the proliferation of Doctors of sciences, though the institution itself has ceased to be effective. Doctors of sciences have been stripped of practically any bonuses. Even the heads of chairs, deans of departments, vice chancellors and chancellors (rectors) of higher education institutions may be people without a Doctoral degree, which was almost inconceivable in the old days. A final confusing factor in recent years has been the introduction of Western academic degrees, Bachelors of Science, Masters of Science and Doctors. For example, the Western degree of Doctor (PhD) formerly was equated to the soviet-era degree of candidate of sciences. Today the Western PhD is rated much higher than the Russian degree of Doctor of sciences. Advanced Russian higher education institutions, for example, the Higher School of Economics (HSE), pay special bonuses to holders of a PhD. Thus the degree of Doctor of sciences has been totally devalued in terms of academic rent.

However, it would be wrong to think that the Western PhD guarantees administrative rent. experience shows that this is a temporary bonus, just like a Russian degree. The number of specialists holding a PhD is growing with every passing year. While previously it automatically conferred considerable administrative rent (MAR), now there is growing competition among the holders of PhD. One can safely say that in 10-15 years’ time there will be a glut in the market of PhD and the fate of that privileged group of individuals will be the same as that of Russian Doctors of sciences. The PhD is yet another academic mirage.

Step 3: the Rank of Professor. Strictly speaking, the scientific career does not end with getting a Doctoral degree. The academic system generates one more criterion connected with involvement in the reproduction of scientific personnel. A research scientist should teach, tutor postgraduates and advise seekers of Doctoral degrees. If a scientist meets these requirements he may claim the rank of professor. But that system has long been malfunctioning because it envisages two types of professorial rank, one based on speciality and one based on the chair. While in the former case one has to bring up five candidates of sciences, which at least to some degree attests to one’s professional qualifications, in the second case he should meet very primitive teaching and methodological requirements. As a result the rank of professor at a chair, for which a corresponding certificate does not even indicate the institution to which that chair belongs, is no more potent than the title of Merited school Teacher; no research achievements are required. Today many university professors, having attained the required administrative position, have learned to “churn out” candidates of sciences, report bogus classroom hours and publish useless methodological aids. Thus the respected rank of professor has also been devalued. Adding fuel to the fire is the system of “raw” professors, i.e., people who get the rank of professor having only the academic degree of candidate of sciences and not that of a Doctor of sciences. This combination makes the professor’s status totally confusing. For example, it is hard to say what is better: being a professor without a Doctoral degree or a Doctor without the rank of professor? Today a professor’s rank does not generate any academic rent and may hold a certain romantic halo only for dilettantes who are far removed from real science.

Step 4: Head of the Chair. The traditional Russian academic hierarchy was such that even if you became a Doctor or a professor you could not afford to become complacent and be proud of your achievements. There was a tacit rule within the research community that a truly major scientist must be the head of a scientific direction or scientific school. In practice this requirement translated itself into being the head of a chair at a university or of a laboratory at a research institute. Thus the system encouraged the researcher to embark on the path of administrative games. However, at that stage in his career a scientist is confronted with the subjective opinions of the administration and has to tailor his work to these opinions; demonstration of scientific results is beside the point. Today a chair can be headed by a person without a Doctoral degree and even sometimes without any academic degree or any scientific achievements to their name. Thus it is today more important to be close to the university administration than to hold degrees, ranks and have scientific achievements. The work of the head of the chair has gradually degenerated from that of providing scientific leadership for a team to interminable administrative chores: compiling and getting approvals for curricula, teachers’ load, etc. In other words, the head of the chair has gradually turned into a specialist in logistics coordinating the paperwork at the chair and the attendance of the members of the chair. The situation was compounded by the commercialization of higher education when the prevailing slogan became “the teacher is a business unit.” In this situation the head of the chair has an extra duty of ensuring the enrolment of enough students to provide load for the “business units” at his disposal. That means sitting on admission boards, taking part in the “open doors days,” visiting schools and colleges, luring future applicants, dealing with the organizations that provide “targeted” students, etc. Thus the scientific leader of a chair has mutated into a merchant and a “drummer.” Any talk of academic rent in these conditions becomes irrelevant. By 2010 the heads of chairs finally lost their administrative bonuses and turned into rank-and-file professors with limited functions of overseers. At the GUU in 2014 the head of a chair holding the degree of Doctor and the rank of professor had a salary that was two-thirds of the average wage in Moscow.

One has to say that executive order no.123 of the Ministry of Education and Science of 15 February 2010 deliberately downgrades the role of academic forms of study under MA programs. Thus, clause 7.3 of the Federal state education standard states that “lecture-type classes for corresponding groups of students may not account for more than 30% of classroom studies.” Clause 7.17 reads: “The educational process under the professional cycle of disciplines may not involve less than 20% of the professors from amongst current executives and leading workers at corresponding organizations, enterprises and institutions” [14]. Thereby the institution of lectures and the members of chairs were officially recognized to be an auxiliary element of the modern system of training a MA student. University chairs of course find themselves in a humiliated position and being the head of a chair is also becoming a humiliated job.

Step 5: Availability of Grants. During the course of market reforms in Russia a system of tenders for financing research has been built. Today the country has the Russian Foundation for basic research (RFBR), the Russian Foundation for Humanities (RFH), the Russian President’s council for Grants (SGP) and the Russian Science Foundation (RSCF). Besides, there are a number of Western funds, international programs in support of researchers; and some higher education institutions have internal contests of research projects. As a result by the mid-2000s a new imperative has emerged, namely, a full-fledged scientist must have grants if his scientific achievements are to be worth anything. In fact having a grant has come to be perceived as a criterion of a researcher’s scientific credibility. The ideology behind this approach was succinctly spelled out by the former head of the RFH: “If you are an active researcher who works a lot, writes and gets published, why is it that nobody has ever thought of paying you for your work over so many years? This means that your work is not interesting for anyone, is not needed by anyone or is of inferior quality. If that is not the case hasn’t a single structure or anyone in the whole country become interested in your work?” A negative answer to the questions thus put automatically cancels out all the scientist’s achievements, his academic degrees, ranks, position and publications. Because grants are obtained by tender one can claim that a person who has no grants is either pathologically passive and does not bother to take part in these tenders or is unable to win in honest competition because his scientific research holds no promise. In either case a person may be declared to be a failure in science and a chronic loser.

Gradually a further imperative has been taking shape in the community of specialists that deepens the role and significance of grants: a researcher must have a diversified portfolio of projects in some of which he acts as the leader and in others as a rank-and-file participant. This opinion is typically promoted by experts and members of research funds. Their line of thinking is as follows: a good researcher must be versatile, he must be able not only to organize work on his own research project, but also effectively fit into others’ projects and be useful to existing research teams. One can hardly challenge this logic. However, it makes the procedure of assessing a scientist very intricate and non-trivial.

The system of grants introduced in the country effectively undermines the old prestige. However, over time it developed flaws that devalued the system itself. Thus, research foundations have become an arena of fierce struggle between different coalitions of researchers and groups of bureaucrats. For example, the representatives of the RAS have gained the upper hand at the RFBR and RFH, and the nomenklatura of the Ministry of Education and Science has prevailed at the SGP and RSCF. Most grants are lobbied, applications are under control, the funds’ executives come under pressure, etc. As a result today, whether or not a person has grants means only one thing: the presence or absence of connections with corresponding funds. It would be a gross mistake to think that the holder of a grant has higher research qualifications than somebody who does not have a grant.

It has to be said that having a grant has a positive effect on all the components of academic rent. However, diminishing trust in the objectivity of tenders results in the intangible part of AR evaporating. As for its monetary part, the situation is highly controversial because the size of grants varies greatly. Sometimes an annual grant for a team of 3-4 persons amounts to 180,000—200,000 rubles, which attracts few researchers to such projects; some higher education institutions even pay bonuses to its professors who have a grant thus incurring expenditure to maintain their prestige and reputation [2].

Step 6: Membership of Academies. Since the times of the USSR state academies of sciences, especially the USSR Academy of sciences, and subsequently the RAS, have had an extremely high status. That status was preserved for a long time despite a measure of public disappointment in academic science. People with scientific degrees and ranks, heads of laboratories and chairs and having grants are fairly numerous, while full members of the Academy are few. As a result Academicians were perceived as the elect, the best among the scientific community. However, beginning from the 2000s, signs have been appearing of disenchantment with state academies and their leaders (the Academicians). The people who penetrated the Academy sometimes had nothing to do with science or were mediocre and even weak scientists. That trend was particularly manifest in the social sciences. Conservatism and bureaucracy at the RAS, above all the presidium of the RAS, generated scientific passivity in all its structural elements. The first manifestation of discontent among the scientific community with its vanguard was the creation of alternative public academies of sciences. One can mention the creation of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the Russian Municipal Academy, the International Academy of Organization Sciences, the International Informatization Academy, etc.

Competition among the Academies was not very tough, but the fact that alternatives have appeared indicated a split within the scientific community and a challenge to the leading role of the RAS. Not surprisingly, the concepts of “genuine” and “bogus” academies appeared in scientific discourse. Members of the RAS treated the new academies with irony and even came up with a sarcastic, if not actually cynical, criterion of “genuineness”: the members of “genuine” (state) academies get money (from the state) and the members of “bogus” (non-governmental) academies themselves pay money (dues).

Over the years the positions of the RAS were gradually eroded by the university-centered model of the development of science that was adopted in the country and that gave priority to higher education institutions at the expense of state academies. The uncertain situation lasted until 2012 when the reform of the RAS practically liquidated it. The current project of RAS institutions would put them under the Federal Agency of research organizations (FANO). Moreover, there have been suggestions that no mention be made in the names of institutes of their belonging to the RAS; its place would be taken by FANO. Thus even the ghost (i.e., the label) of the RAS is being liquidated.

The authority of the RAS plummeted above all in the government structures. Sometimes the members of executive bodies did not even bother to read the analytical reports sent to them by the RAS. Thus the RAS was sidelined from real life in the country. Simultaneously the government cut the Academy’s budget and the RAS management irritated the government by its constant demands for increased funding. Thus, in 2010, reacting to another complaint of the RAS president about insufficient funding of science, the then prime Minister Vladimir Putin reminded the academicians of Grigory Perelman, a Petersburg mathematician who makes world-class discoveries but does not ask for money and indeed refuses to take money when offered [11]. The message was clear: true scientists can do worthwhile research without money, but RAS scientists cannot produce anything of any value while demanding more and more money. This amounted to an official recognition that the RAS was a spent force. The fact that Grigory Perelman in 2011 turned down an offer to become a member of the Academy did not add to its authority [6].

Thus by 2014 one more element of academic rent was almost totally destroyed; the remaining cash bonus to which members of the RAS were entitled can no longer be considered to be an adequate reward for their many years of work.

Step 7. High Citation Index. The destruction of the formal norms connected with academic degrees and ranks prompted the search for more objective criteria of assessing a scientist’s productivity. In recent years these have been sciencemetric indexes of publications and citation. Experience shows that people with every conceivable academic ranks by no means always have numerous scientific publications to their names, let alone profound and frequently cited publications. This new criterion once again brought confusion to the academic sector. Thus, the introduction of a new system in the shape of an electronic base of the Russian scientific citation index involved various misunderstandings: the base was incomplete, unrepresentative and its organization left a lot to be desired, etc. but the main problem was that as the system of the Russian Scientific Citation Index improved the members of the academic community learned to “cheat” it. The practice of such tricks in the literature came to be known as data manipulation. All this led to yet another paradox: the least-gifted scientists turned out to be the most talented manipulators. Thereby the new system quickly began to generate strange results.

The use of the Russian Scientific Citation Index gave rise to some bizarre innovations. Thus every point of the Hirsch index brought extra pay at some higher education institutions. However, the bonus for every point was ridiculously small, from a hundred to a thousand rubles. This means that even at the highest rate of 1000 rubles per point according to the Hirsch index one can count on an extra pay of 10,000 rubles a month at most2. even this optimistic version means that the bonus is comparable to the bonus for the scientific degree of a Doctor of sciences (7000 rubles), i.e., one inadequate institution was replaced by another similarly inadequate institution. It has to be noted that most higher education institutions do not pay bonuses for the high citation rate.

Similarly, one can mention the system of bonuses for the best series of scientific articles introduced at the RAS Central Economic-Mathematical Institute. An individual (or a team) whose articles have been approved by a panel of experts as being the best in a corresponding department gets a bonus of 5000 rubles, a kind of academic equivalent of a bonus for high scores under the Hirsch index.

While the system of scientific citation was evolving in Russia another view on citation prevailed whereby all publications in Russian periodicals are virtually worthless; only works printed in foreign English-language journals matter. The proponent of that idea was the Russian Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov: “There is only one modern level in science, the international level. You either make the grade or you don’t. If the answer is yes, you are a scientist, if not, you are somebody else...” [13]. This imperative triggered a new spiral in recording sciencemetric indicators in international data bases “Web of science” and “Scopus”. Some higher education institutions, for example, the HSE, flatly rejected the Russian scientific citation index in principle and switched to Western standards. As soon as that approach gained some currency it became clear that all the achievements of many Russian scientists were instantly obliterated as their Russian-language articles lost any value and the scientists lost all their scientific baggage. Needless to say, all academic rent went a-begging together with the baggage. From now on the Russian language has been regarded as no better than the Mongolian or Sinhalese and it has almost become shameful to write and be published in Russian-language publications.

However, even for those who made their way to English-language publications it turned out to be another mirage. After a while it became clear that a publication in English did not by itself mean anything; it had to be published in a “good” journal. To this end the HSE divided all the Western periodicals into 4 groups with different number of points. Thus a publication in a low-scoring journal turned out to be little better than a publication in a Russian periodical. The New (Russian) Economic School (RES) went even further to introduce the requirement of having published in one of the four most prestigious journals in the world, while other publications were not taken into account [7]. Thus, the switch to a system of scientific citation triggered a mechanism of organizational change which, at each turn of the spiral, cut off a certain part of the scientific cadre from academic rent. Orientation on Western citation indexes automatically devalues all the academic degrees, ranks, positions, grants, Russian-language publications and other qualification criteria. It is already clear that further increase of requirements will pursue one simple goal: to take away the academic rent from the biggest possible number of members of the scientific community.

Step 8: Availability of Orders. The system of assessment of scientists at Russian higher education and research institutions has two parameters: on the one hand, the system of assessing academic (purely scientific) achievements is toughened and, on the other hand, a system of assessing practical (i.e., purely financial) results is introduced. The latter includes a person’s ability to make money out of research orders, besides teaching. The scientist is expected to find these commercial orders and fulfill them himself. Today the Ministry of Education and Science has set the ceiling of 95,000 rubles a year per person for R&D for Moscow higher education institutions. This is not a large sum, but even that sum is unattainable for the overwhelming majority of professors. In the future the figure is likely to grow. Nowadays contracts between a university and a professor are framed in such a way as to oblige the professor not only to do teaching but to meet academic and financial requirements. Failing that, the university may break off the contract. One can imagine a situation when a professor is at the very top in academic terms (degrees, ranks, publications, citation) but has no commercial orders. Then all his academic achievements are declared irrelevant and he is sacked because he is no good in practical terms; the business unit (professor) that brings no profit has no right to exist.

The underlying principle of the system is simple: the real test of a scientist’s competence is in the market; if a professor can offer nothing to the market and cannot earn money, no academic indicators can make up for this fact. Thus, the new “market” criterion erects one more barrier to obtaining academic rent. Considering the limited number of state and market orders, today only a small section of the academic community can scale the new barrier.

Step 9: the Nobel Prize. Until recently there remained probably the last criterion of a scientist’s competence and even greatness and that was the Nobel prize. This was the high point of a career that put everything in its proper place. however, even that criterion came to be questioned in the early 21st century. The main reason is that these prizes have been visibly “devalued” and no longer command the kind of admiration that earlier works of Nobel laureates commanded. The award of the Nobel Prize is increasingly politicized. While the money that goes with the prize remains and even increases, the intangible (reputational) part is shrinking.

The Nobel laureates themselves provide food for doubting not only their professionalism, but their social attitudes. The last and most high-profile example is an open letter to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin calling on him to repeal the anti-gay law of 2013 that banned the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors and the right of same-sex couples to adopt Russian orphans. The letter, published in the British Independent and signed by 27 Nobel Prize winners [12], was initiated by Harold Kroto who won the 1996 Nobel Prize for chemistry and actor Ian Mckellen. Harold Kroto declared that he would not come to Russia until the antigay law is repealed. This move by Nobel Prize laureates looks odd and makes one wonder what these outstanding scientists are up to. Either they themselves are sexual deviants or they are extremely politicized individuals who sell their names to produce cheap sensations. This act aroused amazement and perplexity even in Great Britain. Commenting on the report the readers recalled the words of Daniel Greenberg: “There is no such idiotic offer under which it wouldn’t be possible to collect a dozen of signatures of the Nobel Winners” [4; 5].

The inadequacy of many academics prompted Carlo M. Cipolla to carry out a sociological study that enabled him to formulate 5 laws of stupidity. The second law, in particular, goes like this: the probability of a person being stupid does not depend on that person’s other qualities. It turns out that stupidity does not depend on education, as has been corroborated by numerous experiments carried out at universities and involving five social groups: students, office workers, auxiliary personnel, members of the administration and professors. experiments showed that the share of stupid persons among professorship is the same as in other groups and does not depend on whether the study was carried out at a provincial college or a major university. A similar experiment involving the intellectual elite—Nobel Prize winners—confirmed the general conclusion: the share of stupid persons among them is roughly the same as in other groups. Carlo Cipolla offered a definition of a stupid person: it is a person whose actions lead to losses for another person or group of persons without benefiting the person and even sometimes harming that person [5]. Thereby it is clear that there are no scientific benchmarks left in the world; consequently there are no objective grounds for creating academic rent.

IV. 21st Century Syndrome: a Break with Reality

As shown above, academic rent, a phenomenon of great importance for science, has gradually disappeared from universities and institutes. This is the key reason of the poor performance of the modern system of science and education; without such a motivating mechanism the academic sector becomes patently ineffective.

Too much unnecessary knowledge has accumulated in the world, knowledge that cannot be effectively introduced in any spheres of activity. And yet more knowledge continues to be generated. In this situation new methods need to be found for separating “good” scientists from “bad” ones. Not surprisingly, these methods are largely artificial and ineffective. Moreover, they date quickly even though they are initially effective. Some methods are already obsolete at the time they are introduced. A typical example is the scientific citation system which has long been used in the West and has largely discredited itself. Some US universities have even introduced a tacit ban on mentioning the h-index and other measures at mathematics departments; professionals understand that these indicators are conventional and inadequate. Thus, Russia has set about introducing a system which the West is gradually giving up. The barrage of institutional innovations distorts the institutional basis of the academic sector turning it into an arena of destructive competition. Nonstop reforms cannot be effective. This is the main reason why the regulator is failing to normalize the work of the academic sector.

It would be more correct therefore to say that AR has not disappeared altogether but has become a very short-lived phenomenon whose maintenance requires constant and intense effort. As soon as enough people manage to meet the new requirement introduced for getting AR that requirement is revised, modified and complicated. This mechanism makes it possible to deny access to the “feeding trough” for superfluous masses of researchers relegating them to the class of failures and outsiders.

Strictly speaking, it is impossible to win the race that has begun, victory in the current round only means that the winner has made it to the next round. Such a frenetic mode of activity results in a totally unacceptable atmosphere in the academic milieu.

The cause of this state of affairs is that the academic sector has become unacceptably large; the involvement of masses of people in research and teaching is unjustified and can no longer be productive. Not surprisingly, the “superfluous scientists” are on the receiving end of various reprisals in the shape of absurd academic requirements that contradict the very spirit of academic activity.

Is there a way out of the current situation?

That is a topic for a separate study. However, one can safely say one thing: the situation can only be normalized if a direct link between science and practice is restored. If a scientist is directly linked with production his qualifications would be obvious and there would be no need to calculate the citation index. Moreover, even the writing of texts will become less important. How to achieve such integration could be the topic of another article.


  1. Balatsky Ye.V. The problem of rationing in higher education. Zhurnal Novoy ekonomicheskoy assotsiatsii, 2010, no. 8.
  2. Balatsky Ye.V. Intrauniversity competition: best practices in Russia. Obshchestvo i ekonomika, 2013, no. 7-8.
  3. Becker G.S. Human Behavior: Economical Approach. Selected Works on Economic Theory. Moscow: SU—HSE, 2003. (In Russian).
  4. Brown J. 27 Nobel Laureates Join Sir Ian Mckellen to Protest Over Russia’s Gay ‘Propaganda’ban. The Independent, 13 January 2014.
  5. Cipolla C. Five Laws of Stupidity. Metropol, 15.10.2013. Available at: http://mtrpl.ru/stupidity. (In Russian).
  6. Grigory Perelman Refused to be Academician of RAS. Lenta.ru, 3 October 2011. Available at: http://lenta.ru// news/2011/10/03/perelman/. (In Russian).
  7. Kuzminov Ya.I. Education in Russia: What can We Do? Voprosy obrazovaniya, 2004, no. 1.
  8. Kuzminov Ya., Yudkevich M. Academic Freedom and Standards of Behavior. Voprosy ekonomiki, 2007, no. 6.
  9. Moscow Authorities to Publish Online the Average Salaries of School Teachers. Novosti@mail.ru, 23 April 2013. Available at: http://news.mail.ru/inregions/moscow/90/politics/12848721/. (In Russian).
  10. Polterovich V.M. Reform of the Russian Academy of Sciences: the Expert Analysis. Article 1. Reform of the Russian Academy of Sciences: the Project of the Ministry of Education and Science. Obshhestvennye nauki i sovremennost (ONS), 2014, no. 1.
  11. Putin Sets Mathematician Perelman as an Example for Academics: Engaged in Science and Does Not Take Money. Gazeta. SPb, 19 May 2010. Available at: http://www. gazeta.spb.ru/321084-0/.
  12. Raibman N. 27 Nobel Laureates Oppose Anti-Homosexual Law. Vedomosti, 14.01.2014.
  13. Semushkin S. Dmitry Livanov. You May Be a Useful Person, But Not a Scientist. Komsomolskaya pravda, 30 May 2012.
  14. The Executive Order of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, February 15, 2010, no. 123 On Approval and Enactment of the Federal State Educational Standard of Higher Education in the Field of Training 08.11.00 State and Municipal Management (Qualification Degree “Master”). Available at: In Russian.

Media sources

  1. http://www.gks.ru/bgd/regl/b11_36/issWWW.exe/stg/d2/08-15.htm. (Rosstat data)


  1. We are leaving aside the question of how legitimate and ethical such a social experiment was; some may think that the students were unfairly humiliated by the dilemma set before them. That is a topic for a separate discussion.
  2. A “good” Hirsch index score is 10-15 points. A higher index is very hard to achieve.
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