Andrey Baykov: Like anywhere else, Russian academic institutions just look for partners, sign agreements, and exchange students. Normally this exchange takes place on a reciprocal basis. That means that they mutually wave tuition fees for those students as long as there is parity observed in the exchange, regarding the number of students. If we take MGIMO university, we don't have any lack of interest in exchange with us from our partners. Quite a few universities want to partner with us due to a variety of reasons associated with our status or with our alumni.
So, it is a constant search for partners, but I cannot say that we are more active or proactive in this process than our international partners. Very often, they approach us and ask us for the possibility of exchanges. I cannot say the same about other universities though. But, Moscow universities are in any case more privileged in this regard because Moscow, I would say, is more suited for the semester long experience of studying abroad for westerners.
Even though, I know that some elite western universities and British universities prefer regional universities to Moscow or Saint Petersburg Universities. Especially for linguistic purposes, because here you can spend a semester without having to know any Russian since everyone will talk to you in English. Whereas, if you go to Voronezh or Nizhny Novgorod, you may really improve your language skills there because campuses there are much less international. This is the main channel that is used bilaterally.
There are also a few network university initiatives, like the Shanghai Organization of cooperation network university, CIS network university, BRICS network university. These are multilateral arrangements within which students can move, not between just the two universities, but they can choose and spend some time during their period of studies at several universities. We have actually a network of this kind in management in which students first spend one semester in France, the second semester in Italy and then they can choose to go to five more universities and they end up having three degrees as a result.