Authoritarian modernisation in higher education: Internationalisation, pockets of effectiveness and academic freedom in Russia
The text relies on the concept of authoritarian modernisation to explore the challenges to the higher education (HE) sector and academic freedom in Russia. We show that elements of modernisation, coupled with Russia’s participation in the global process of HE internationalisation, have created pockets of effectiveness. However, neither authoritarian modernisation, nor the pockets of effectiveness have solved the many problems pervading Russian HE. We argue that modernisation, in the form in which it has been implemented in Russia, has, in effect, proved detrimental to the fundamental aspect of higher education and research - academic freedom. To support our argument, we discuss the main elements of modernisation and internationalisation in the Russian HE system and supplement our analysis with four case studies: the Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Science, the Tyumen School of Advanced Studies, the Higher School of Economics and the European University at St Petersburg. This allows us to show the tension between specifically understood and undertaken modernisation and academic freedom.