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#8 - JRL 7140
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
No. 51
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]

Russian foreign policy will receive a significant intellectual boost in the near future. A decision has been made to create a faculty of international relations under Moscow Lomonosov State University (MGU - Russian acronym). According to some sources, the decision has been approved by the Russian President.

The decision required an approval at the highest level because the new faculty is going to be a "forge" of future professionals for Russian diplomacy. Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov signed the official documents in agreement with head of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichi. The University will provide a building for the new faculty. Well-known politician and scientist Andrei Kokoshin, who is believed to head the faculty, developed a concept of faculty's curriculum. At the same time, many people become concerned with the status and the future of Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations (MGIMO), which has been supplying specialists for the Foreign Ministry for many years.

Nevertheless, the decision makes sense. Firstly, a healthy competition between institutions of higher education gives a natural motivation for the improvement of educational activities in those institutions. Secondly, current processes in the country and in the world demand a certain revision of the educational system for diplomats. Thirdly, "perestroika" led to the situation where many institutions of higher education, in order to survive, had to start preparing specialist in the fields that satisfied the demands of the market. MGIMO was one of the successful survivors, which, reacting in timely manner to open market situation, stated preparing first-class professionals in the areas of jurisprudence, economy and business management for Russian and foreign private companies and banks.

Officials from the MGIMO openly admit that they focus nowadays on the activities of a relatively new structure - the International Institute for Fuel and Energy Complex (IIFEC). Our oil companies actively conduct business on international markets, and foreign companies have a strong presence on the Russian market, in turn. There is a high demand for reliable specialists in this field; therefore, the MGIMO has a lot to do, anyway. So, the competitive faculty under MGU would hardly steal the "lucrative pie" from the MGIMO. Besides, the project never intended to do so because the authors of the idea simply wanted to "inject some fresh blood" in the veins of Russian diplomacy. They plan to prepare specialists in the sphere of politics, economy and security not only for Russia, but also for relevant bodies in the constituent members of the Russian Federation, and invite teaching staff from the former Soviet republics.

57-year old Andrei Kokoshin has been chosen to head the faculty for several reasons. He is a trusted and respected person in the eyes of Russian and foreign diplomats, politicians and scientists. Presently, he is a State Duma deputy, the director of the Institute of International Security Problems under the Russian Academy of Sciences, the coordinator of All-Russia Public Council for Development of Education. In the past, he was the first deputy defense minister and the secretary of the RF Security Council. In MGU, Kokoshin has been doing research on the issues of Russia's national security for a number of years.

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