Yefim Pivovar: "Russia is a great educational power"
The Russian State University for the Humanities was established a quarter of a century ago on the basis of the Moscow State Historical Archives Institute. On the day of the celebration of the anniversary of the Russian State Humanitarian University, Yefim Pivovar, the president of the university, shared his vision of the development of the country's leading humanitarian university with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- What has been done in terms of the development of higher humanitarian education in Russia over the past 25 years and what is being planned now?
- Today we mark the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the State University for the Humanities, which has a much longer history, taking into account the fact that the Historical Archives Institute is 85 years old, and the building where the the Shanyavsky University was is more than 100 years old [the building of the Shanyavsky University appeared in 1912 and it was part of the ensemble of the cultural center of Miusskaya Square Now this building belongs to the Russian State University for the Humanities – editor’s note]. But the last 25-year history has also been very dynamic. One of the first humanitarian projects in Russia was created at the university. I would say even the first. We were the first. Certainly, we experimented a lot. Many things were done for the first time. By the way, the first bachelors and masters degrees and first international centers of such a level appeared in our university. The first humanitarian Doctorate was created here two years ago.
We managed to create a unique institution on a good foundation where all the humanitarian fields of the classical plan were presented – the majority of social and political sciences, a lot of areas at the intersection of the humanities and the natural sciences.
For the first time we tried to create scientific departments. The Institute of Graduate Humanitarian Studies, the Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies are projects that appeared on the wall of our university for the first time, and they justified themselves, despite the fact that they were expensive. It is clear in the new conditions.
Now the economic element is essential in the development of the universities. But the humanitarian sphere isn't always economically effective, because it is cost-based. Training in the field of Egyptology or dead languages will unlikely give us any profit. But we cannot help developing it, because Russia is still a great educational power. Such humanitarian fields as north-eastern or western studies are extremely important for Russia. It is necessary to continue to deal with those areas that don't provide an immediate effect and that aren't in demand by employers. It is extremely important from the point of view of the development of science and education itself in order to preserve the tradition and prevent it from fading away.
- Does the RSUH have contacts with universities of the South Caucasus countries and the republics of the Russian North Caucasus?
- Undoubtedly. Last year we created a special unit, the Institute of post-Soviet and Regional Studies, which focuses its attention on the countries of the South Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The RSUH will develop this priority sphere. Now we are preparing to perform in Baku at the Congress of the Alliance Civilizations. It is to take place on April 25th. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture is organizing this event together with the UN and UNESCO. I think we will continue to develop it.
- Are there any projects in the North Caucasus?
- We have a special institute, the Center for Social Anthropology and Ethnology, which deals with all nations, including the peoples of the North Caucasus. This is its specialization. In addition, we have the Center for Regional Studies, which specially deals with North Caucasus at the junction with the South Caucasus. This is our institute's sphere of activity.