Sunday, March 3, 2024

Moscow Orders Russian Universities to Train Psychologists in Traditional Values -- and Then Backs Down

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 28 – Concerned that almost half of the graduates of psychology programs in Russian universities “adhere to values contrary to traditional Russian spiritual and moral family values,” the Ministry of Science and Higher Education has ordered the revamping to psychology courses to change this situation.

            Because this represents an operationalization and institutionalization of Putin’s insistence that Russia turn back to traditional values, it is noteworthy as an example of how the Kremlin is seeking to ensure that these values will not only be declared but made part of the daily life of Russians well into the future.

            The ministry has now made public a new curriculum for psychology students on “the spiritual security of the individual and traditional Russian spiritual and moral values in the work of psychologists” to ensure they will give advice to veterans of the war in Ukraine and others officially approved guidance (, and

            The new program, prepared with the assistance of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, includes segments about how Prince Vladimir serves as an example of ‘the transformation of an immoral person into a highly moral individual as a result of embracing Christian spiritual values.”

            In that segment, for example, students are to “be exposed to negative examples of people who have deviated from traditional values, including references to the Great Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and modern Ukraine” as well as examples drawn from what the authors of this program call “the degradation in the West.”

            Students will be required to focus on an understanding of why the state places such great importance on preserving traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, what a moral law is, and how psychologists can contribute to the preservation of traditional family values so that they will not be led astray.

            In the course of this program, Russia’s next generation of psychologists are provided with  answers to such “hypothetical”  situations including the refusal of a baker to prepare a wedding cake for a single-sex couple and the desire of the mother of someone lost in combat in Ukraine whose body has not  been recovered to search for him.  

            UPDATE; But  undoubtedly after resistance from universities and an appreciation of just how dark a shadow such a program will cast on Moscow, the ministry a few days later has reversed course and announced that it is not going to approve this program after all (

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