University Mergers in Russia: Four Waves of Educational Policy
This article is aimed at identifying distinctive features of the educational policy of university mergers—their main stages, types, and declared goals. We analyzed cases of university mergers and acquisitions (M&A) from the 1990s to the present, which allowed us to identify and describe four Russia-specific waves of educational policy. Based on the authors’ classification, basic characteristics are attributed to each wave: Universitization, Federal Universities, Optimization, and Flagship Universities. The grounds for classification include such possible forks as similarity of the academic profiles of institutions of higher education (IHEs), the formal hierarchy of the organizations being merged, remote geographical locations, and, importantly, the body that makes decisions about mergers. The article also introduces such concepts as “mobilization,” “optimization,” and “repositioning,” to describe the basic motives of university reorganization. We also show the prevailing motive behind each of the merger waves. The results of this research can be used in planning potential mergers and evaluating completed university reorganizations.