Russia and global university rankings

Students at Russian university ITMO

Russia and global university rankings

Monday, 21 February 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Dr Sirke Mäkinen (University of Helsinki)
Professor Roy Allison (St Antony's)
Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Monday Seminar

Why have regimes and societies that would otherwise argue for their distinctiveness and sovereign decision-making caught ‘ranking fever’ in Higher Education? Why are they willing to give up their sovereignty in the field of HE, and why do they accept the requirement of homogeneity to succeed in global university rankings? This talk addresses the given paradox in the case of Russia. The impetus to ‘internationalise’ education and research, and the aspiration to be globally ranked, is explained using the status, neoliberal competition and state control frames. These conflict with ‘nationalisation’ part of the discourse, manifested in the resistance to global university rankings and the debates surrounding a Moscow-based ranking. These debates confirm that there is a willingness to internationalise and integrate Russian HE into the neoliberal model of HE on Russia’s terms in preference to self-isolation.

Sirke Mäkinen (Doctor of Social Sciences 2008, University of Tampere, Finland) is a University Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland, please see She also leads a Finnish-Russian research project funded by the Kone Foundation and hosted by Tampere University, Finland ( and has the title of Docent in Political Science from the University of Turku, Finland.  Among her research interests there are international education, foreign policy, geopolitics, Russia and Central Asia. She has published in journals such as Comparative Education, Geopolitics, International Studies Perspectives, Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Nationalities Papers and Problems of Post-Communism, please see Her most recent publication is a co-edited volume  (with Tuomas Forsberg) Russia’s cultural statecraft (2022, Routledge).

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