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Higher Education Systems and Institutions: Russia

Russia (Russian Federation) has the largest territory in the world and extends over 11 time zones. As a federal state, Russia has 85 regions. Over 146 million people (FSSS 2016) are unevenly distributed throughout the country. About 77% of the population lives in the more urbanized European part of the country, whereas the Asian part of the country occupies more than 76% of the total area. The youth population is declining. Although there are around 180 different ethnic groups in Russia, most of the populations (78%) are ethnic Russians (Statdata 2017).

The Russian economy is based heavily on natural resources. As of 2015, it was the 13th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP (World Bank 2017a) and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity (World Bank 2017b).

The Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees the right to free higher education on a competitive basis for those obtaining it for the first time. General and vocational education is free and available to all.

The social and economic landscape has been rapidly changing in Russia during the last quarter of a century. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia experienced many changes, including: • The movement to an electoral democracy and a market economy • The rejection of a planned human resources policy relating to the main economic sectors • The decline or elimination of a number of key industries (OECD 2007)