Monday, June 13, 2022

Universities in Russia’s Regions have Special Role to Play in New International Situation, Demurin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 26 – The USSR was so centralized that many failed to notice that its universities and research centers outside of Moscow played a major role in producing expertise and experts on neighboring countries, with institutions in Ukraine, Belarus and elsewhere often outpacing the center.

            The Soviet government promoted this arrangement because it was well aware that people in these republics often knew more about their neighbors because of shared histories and even languages. But after 1991, the Russian government did not; and the role of these places as sources of information about neighboring countries declined.

            Now, Regnum commentator Mikhail Demurin is arguing, that role must be promoted because of the new international climate in which he says “the regions have a special role.” Where such schools exist, they need to be strengthened; where they do not, they must be created (

            He says that institutions in Kaliningrad must focus on Poland, “in Pskov and St. Petersburg on the Baltic countries; in Smolensk and Bryansk on Poland and Ukraine; in Rostov on Ukraine and the Trans-Caucasus, and so on.” And he argues that will help strengthen both Russia in its borderlands and Russia as a whole.

            Whether Demurin’s argument is accepted very much remains to be seen, but the institutions that might grow or be created should be monitored because in Soviet times, they produced both some of the very best studies of neighboring countries and their focus often served as an early warning of Moscow’s intentions.

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