MAZUR L.N., KARMANOVA E.D. Autonomy of Russian Universities: Historical Documentation Research of the 19th – 21st Century University Charters

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.2.11 

Lyudmila N. Mazur

Doctor of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Documentary and Archival Studies and History of State Administration,

Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin,

Prosp. Mira, 19, 620002 Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0407-3816 

Ekaterina D. Karmanova

Postgraduate Student,

Department of Documentary and Archival Studies and History of State Administration, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin,

Prosp. Mira, 19, 620002 Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4737-968X 


Abstract. Introduction. The article compares the charters of Russian universities and brings to light the principles of universities’ operation throughout their history from the 19th to the 21st century. The article describes the model of university autonomy in Russia and its influence on the development of the academia, including contemporary universities’ ambitions in terms of global rankings.

Methods and Materials. The conceptual framework is based on the methods of documentary studies applied to analyze universities’ charters and the procedures of their development and use, including the preparation of the draft version, editing and further adjustments as well as the origin and characteristics of the document, that is, whether they resulted from ‘bottom-up’ or ‘top-down’ initiatives. The documentary analysis reveals not only the functions of charters but also the degree of universities’ autonomy as defined by these documents.

Analysis. In terms of their history and functions, three types of university charters can be identified: general (unified), standard and individual. In the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, individual charters were mostly based on standard provisions or charters, that is, they were ‘top-down’ initiatives. General and standard charters were devised by the related governmental agencies and, therefore, corresponded to the goals pursued by the government at that stage. Individual university charters resulting from ‘bottom-up’ initiatives were created in the transition periods of 1918–1922 and the 1990s, which were characterized by massive socioeconomic change and search for new models of higher education institutions.

Results. In the history of Russian higher education, there are several periods when universities had limited autonomy: early and mid-19th century (liberal reforms); 1920s (organizational and methodological experiments); 1960s (revival of limited autonomy of universities); 1990s (self-government and academic freedoms). Liberal cycles are directly reflected in the university charters, but the analysis of the procedural aspects of their development and functioning allows to conclude that autonomy should be considered as a temporary deviation from the basic model of a state university.

Key words: university, charter, autonomy, university self-governance, Ural State University, human capital.

Citation. Mazur L.N., Karmanova E.D. Autonomy of Russian Universities: Historical Documentation Research of the 19th – 21st Century University Charters. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 156-169. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.2.11.

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Autonomy of Russian Universities: Historical Documentation Research of the 19th – 21st Century University Charters by Mazur L.N., Karmanova E.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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