The Russian Federation: Pragmatic Centralism in a Large and Heterogeneous Country
The chapter shows that Russian higher education system is the most centralized in the world with more than 90% of public universities controlled by federal authorities. It reflects the legacy of the Soviet system of organization of the national economy with regulation of all public spheres by central authorities. The current federalism model in the country affected by its pragmatic nature aimed at achieving the contradictory goals of preserve the political and economic unity of the state, and support regional economic development including targeted support.
Analysis of current regulatory, structural, and financial aspects of national–regional relationships in higher education reveals the lack of regional government and business involvement in higher education matters. The chapter provides typology of the regional higher education systems. These results suggest that pragmatic federalism in higher education does not help to create strong higher education systems in the majority of regions. It explained by the inability of the federal center to act ad hoc solving new problems of huge and diverse higher education sector.
Changes in the governance of higher education in Russia include the growth of regional influence on the development of higher education. At the same time, the high level of centralization remains at the core of these reforms.