Elshad Mammadov: "Development of Russian language plays important role in Azerbaijan"

Elshad Mammadov: "Development of Russian language plays important role in Azerbaijan"

Two years ago, in July 2016, the Russian School of Economics (RSE) was established in Azerbaijan to integrate into the Russian-speaking educational space and to put economic education in Russian in use. The RSE graduates will receive a state UNEC diploma and an international certificate or diploma from one of its foreign partner universities, according to the dual diploma program (bachelor's degree); internship and pre-diploma practice in large corporate structures of Azerbaijan and Russian-speaking countries; guest lectures of foreign professors and ambassadors of foreign states; presentations and seminars of major international companies and organizations operating in Russia, which provide a unique opportunity to obtain quality professional knowledge that guarantees successful employment; as well as modern educational technologies - business games, business projects, analytical sessions .... The Russian sectors of all majors of UNEC are gathered at the Russian School of Economics - Finance, Accounting and Audit, Economics, Organization and Administration of Industry, Ecology, International Relations, World Economy, Marketing, Commerce, Management and Business Administration.

Professor Elshad Mammadov, deputy director of the UNEC Russian School of Economics, the youngest doctor of economic sciences in Azerbaijan, answered the questions of Vestnik Kavkaza.

- Where the idea of creating the Russian School of Economics had first emerged?

- We analyzed the underlying causes of the development of the Russian-language educational process in Azerbaijan. If we consider the economic segment of Russian-language higher education, the main prerequisites lie with the fact that the Russian direction is an unconditional priority for Azerbaijan. Russia is the key foreign economic partner of Azerbaijan in terms of the non-oil segment of the economy, where the diversification of the national economy and development of the non-oil sector is a priority. Russia is facing similar challenges, although, of course, it is necessary to take into account the Russian economy's size, which is much more ambitious and have broader tasks. But both Russia and Azerbaijan are developing the non-primary economy, the knowledge economy, the digital economy and the processes associated with the development of human capital. Since the 1960s, human capital, its share in the overall economy, has significantly exceeded the share of expenditures for equipment and areas associated with the industrial economy. The development of human capital goes in parallel with the development of new industries, new segments, new industries.

The development of a new technological order is one of the most important directions in the development of both the world and regional economies. Global tasks are caused by the formation of a new technological order, which is linked to human capital, the digital economy and development of intellectual property.

The development of economic cooperation is also facilitated by a very important factor related to the Russian language. It remains a link for the development of humanitarian cooperation between our countries, for the development of economic cooperation, for the development of the labor market cooperation. One of the key factors of the labor market is the language of the workforce. In these terms, the development of the Russian language plays a very important role in our country.

Thus, we came to the conclusion that the main prerequisites for the formation of the Russian-language educational process in Azerbaijan is the need to deepen economic cooperation between our countries, and the factor of the Russian language.

- The Russian School of Economics was established in 2016. Did first students graduate this year?

- Our first students will graduate in 2020. But this year those students graduated who had previously studied at various faculties of the Azerbaijan State University of Economics, who reached their third year of study in 2016 when the Russian School of Economics was established.

According to the Azerbaijani system, the first two years of study include general subjects, while training in specialties, in economic areas start from the third year of study. Before this year we had nine majors. Students who entered the Russian Economic School will obtain a higher education diploma only in 2020.

- This year's students will not have the Russian School of Economics diploma?

- The diploma includes the name of the major and the name of Azerbaijan State University of Economics - UNEC - is listed. Prior to this year, we had nine majors, now we have 11. That is, the UNEC Russian School of Economics' educational process will include the whole perimeter of economic specialties.

- Was the teaching methodology changed for the Russian School of Economics?

- The fact is that the specificity of teaching in Russian is needed. If we talk about integration into the Russian-speaking educational space, it is necessary to unite our education system with the Russian-speaking educational space. The Russian School of Economics is a UNEC structure, therefore, both curricula and other training programs should be unified with the UNEC educational programs. Meanwhile, there are frameworks existing for economic education in Azerbaijan, and the UNEC Russian School of Economics should act within this framework. But it is possible to make joint projects that would be more in line with the Russian-speaking educational space.

First of all, we are talking about the CIS space. This is issue of not-too-distant future. Much will depend on intergovernmental agreements in the sphere of education and the sphere of economic development. The modern economy is developing very dynamically, and if we look at the structure of Russia's economic educational space, we will see that this process is heterogeneous. Even if we cooperate with Russian-speaking educational institutions of the Russian Federation, it will be necessary to choose priorities. In short, this is a multifaceted and complex process. But in any case, for the development of the Russian School of Economics requires deepening of partnership relations with Russia's leading higher educational economic institutions.

- Have you already established connections with any Russian universities?

- We are conducting a constructive dialogue with the Plekhanov University, with the Belgorod University, with the St. Petersburg University. Cooperation with the Higher School of Economics is also possible. But there are issues related to the scientific exchange of information. And not everything here depends on the format of cooperation between universities. A very important role here is played by the exchange of scientific information between professorial and teaching staff. In general, all organizations of the higher education segment of the Russian Federation are positive about the prospects for cooperation with the Russian School of Economics.

- Is the Russian School of Economics aimed to train foreign students? Do they have any benefits?

- Here we are, moving to the advantages that the Russian School of Economics gives not only to residents of our country, but also to the inhabitants of other countries. First of all, we are talking about the post-Soviet space. The format of the Russian School of Economics gives us a competitive advantage for graduates in at least four directions.

First is the qualitative training of specialists for the Azerbaijani economy. It is one of the most urgent and pressing problems. We take upon ourselves the issue of organizing the training of highly qualified specialists for our economy.

Second is the issues related to adaptation to the labor market in the post-Soviet space. Today, this issue is acute at the level of the CIS Executive Committee, because a sustainable economy cannot be developed without a dynamic labor market.

Third is the exchange of qualitative scientific information. Scientific information in the post-Soviet space is highly qualified. Therefore, the exchange of scientific information between universities is a competitive advantage.

Fourth is the export of educational services. That is, the Russian Economic School is one of the country's key instruments, within which it is possible to organize such an important area as the export of educational services. Unfortunately, after the USSR collapsed, there were very significant problems in this direction in all post-Soviet countries.

To date, the format of preserving the Russian language in Azerbaijan is an achievement of local authorities. This achievement today must be used, including for obtaining economic dividends in terms of exporting educational services. Here it is worth paying attention to our closest neighbors. For example, Russian language occupies significant positions in certain regions of Turkey. Russian language is of great interest in resort areas from the perspective of the labor market. Russian language is a priority direction of the development of education for both the development of the tourism industry and the economy of neighboring countries. For our closest neighbors, the Russian Economic School can become the educational base. Appropriate conditions for the development of Russian language have been created in Azerbaijan, including because the country has become an island of social and political stability. It allows to develop projects of turning the Russian Economic School into a center of attraction for students from all nearby countries. Such as Iran, Turkey, the post-Soviet countries, for which the Russian language will remain a priority for many years to come.

- What trends will be decisive in the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan in the near future? 

- Our relations are developing in a positive way. The potential for growth in trade between our countries is substantial. At least fourfold, I believe. A very important point is connected with the development of non-primary sectors of the economy. The processes that are currently taking place in the world economy, the formation of new spheres associated with the development of cellular technologies and artificial intelligence, global information networks, biotechnologies - is precisely the complex of those areas outperforming growth rates. Our countries have very good prospects for getting into this forward trajectory of growth. In order to o this it is necessary to develop our cooperation in these priority areas, implement joint investment projects, synchronize both monetary policy, industrial policy, and policies related to the development of foreign trade and foreign economic policy in general. The development of synchronized monetary policy between our countries provides for a certain synchronization of fiscal policy.

That is, in general, the prospects for cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan are quite big. But in parallel with the development of economic ties, we should develop cooperation both at scientific and humanitarian levels. In terms of the non-raw nature of the economic development, the development of the real sector of the economy, the Russian Federation is our main strategic partner.

- What is the role of your graduates in the development of these ties?

- 500 graduates per year, is quite a significant figure for the Azerbaijani economy. I found out that the competitiveness of our graduates is quite high. There are significant positive results in the employment of graduates of the Russian-speaking segment of UNEC. UNEC graduates will be the force upon which our national economy will be based, not only in the medium and long term, but also in the short term.

- Is knowledge of Russian is welcomed in employment?

- Of course. I noticed that 70-80% of students  receiving education in Azerbaijani language attend Russian language courses. And with the development of the real non-primary sector of our economy, the role of Russian language will be much greater than the role of English. And the UNEC Russian School of Economics will play a very important role in the development of our economy.


Elshad Mammadov was born on December 16, 1976 in Baku, graduated from school with an A-diploma and the faculty of Commerce and International Economic Relations of the Azerbaijan State University of Economics with distinction. He worked at the Azerbaijan State University of Economics, was as an expert of the International Telecommunication Union in Switzerland, was the head of the working group on e-commerce, professor of the trade department at the Economic University. He holds the title of Doctor of Economic Sciences since 2015. He was appointed the deputy director of the Russian School of Economics in 2018. Member of the Educational and Methodological Council, Dissertational Council and the Club of Professors. Author of monographs, textbooks and scientific articles.