Russia’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) will allocate 10% of its state-funded places to children of soldiers who served in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine starting this fall, the university rector said Tuesday.
“There are 3,800 state-funded places [in total]. Almost 400 children [of soldiers fighting in Ukraine] will enter the Higher School of Economics through this quota,” Nikita Anisimov told journalists.
The move comes after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering HSE to make special concessions to the children of military personnel who took part in what the Kremlin calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Unlike other HSE applicants, the children of military personnel will not be required to take an entrance exam to enroll at the university, Anisimov said.
Once a bastion of liberal values, HSE has long been considered one of Russia’s most prestigious universities.
But in recent years, HSE has increasingly aligned itself with the Kremlin’s positions.
While several HSE staff resigned in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an open letter that expressed support of the Kremlin’s military campaign received 300 signatures from university officials, including Anisimov.
Andrei Kolesnikov, a political expert at the liberal Carnegie Moscow Center, which Russia ordered to close in April, said the shift is typical given Russia’s lurch to a more authoritarian system.
“HSE as we once knew it — the country's best socioeconomic university with world-class educational standards and academic freedoms — is over. It is incompatible with an authoritarian regime,” Kolesnikov told The Moscow Times last month.