MGIMO is a center of “soft power” of Russia

Closely associated with the government, the Institute actively develops partnership relations with the European institutions.

21-year-old Izolin Precast (Ysoline Precausta) was greatly surprised when I saw on television how one of her teachers asks questions to Vladimir Putin. “I said to myself that he was in a good place!” This student Strasbourg business school decided to spend the year with 6 thousand students of the Moscow state Institute of international relations, the most prestigious University of the Russian Federation.

The Institute was founded in 1944 under the Ministry of foreign Affairs and is aimed at training a new generation of diplomats after the war.

Very quickly he became a kind of “hallway” of power in the Soviet Union: from there, recruit people, including the KGB. Writes a graduate and adviser to former President Mikhail Gorbachev, Andrei Grachev, the University was once an open window to the outside world, but at the end of 1950-ies was forced to comply with chaotic commands Khrushchev.

Henry Kissinger, in turn, neutrally and diplomatically called the University “the Russian Harvard.” In Russia, Vladimir Putin, the influence of the University continues to be strong. List of graduates (of which 70% consists of state of the Ministry of foreign Affairs) beyond the country’s borders and includes, for example, the authoritarian President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.

The University attracts to the budget places for the most talented students from all over Russia, while the most wealthy people in the former Soviet Union to send their children to pay tuition.

All must pass a rigorous selection process to get to the various offices of the University: journalism, international trade, international law… Spectrum is as varied as the Paris Institute of political studies.

The study of 53 languages

Previously, foreign students, MGIMO was mostly the elite of Mongolia, Cuba, Vietnam or Eastern Europe. In 2013 and the emergence of the four-year program in English here come the young people from prestigious European and North-American universities.

On the French side pioneer made the Paris Institute of political studies: he began a collaboration with a prestigious Russian University, which since 2005 has been reflected in the results of double diploma. This example was followed by other universities. This year about 30 French students are studying at the Institute, whose impressive gray building located just 20 kilometers from the red square.

20-year-old Sophie Camus (Camus Sophie), 3rd year student of the Paris Institute of political studies, always loved Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and realized her dream of Russia. She’s here on exchange for ten months and begins to teach Russian alphabet, which required “at least to ride the subway”, and let classes are in English. Russian lessons for beginners are given more than 13 hours a week. Languages of specialization of the University: all of them taught 53.

At the Institute, Sophie Camus discovers the Russian perception of international relations, which leaves no room for doubt. In 2014, teacher Andrei Zubov was fired for comparing the annexation of Crimea with the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. “Some teachers clearly support Putin, — said the student. On the other hand, these studies help us to better understand defense strategy of Russia and to think about our French ideas. But when I hear that Russia is working for peace in Syria…”

One of the teachers Sophie — Andrey Bezrukov, a former KGB agent, who was expelled from the US after many years of spy work, and whose incredible story was the basis for the TV series “The Americans”. Anyway, in everyday life at MGIMO nothing like James bond, except maybe the clothes and cars of the richest students.

Stereotypes strong

Sophie Camus and her compatriots are rejecting all stereotypes and misconceptions about the country: “When the French say that they are going to Russia, all warn that you’re going into a dictatorship. Although most have never been in Moscow”, — says Alexander, Julean (Alexandra Jullieron) from Lille. “We need to dispel myths about Russia! — exclaims the young Frenchman, Solely Kapelyan (Solal Kapelian), who enrolled in the master’s degree program MGIMO and dreams of a diplomatic career. — It is necessary to transcend the stereotypes. Here we see brilliant people from around the world. They are our future colleagues.” To do this, who studied at the Institute silver Million (Silvère Milion) founded in 2011, the Association of Francophone students of MGIMO (this year there are more than a thousand) and is working on creating a social network for graduates.

He now works at the Moscow office of the Engie (former GDF-Suez) and enjoys the aura of MGIMO University: “Studying at the Institute is a great calling card to employers. Even in the most remote corners of Russia, everyone knows MGIMO”.