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Study in Russia

Location and Geography

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In addition to being the largest, the Russian Federation is one of the world's northernmost countries. It encompasses 6,592,658 square miles (17,075,000 square kilometres), from its borders with Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, and Ukraine on the west to the Bering Strait in the far northeast and from its borders with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China in the south to the Arctic Ocean in the north.

European Russia, the most densely populated, urbanized, and industrialized region, lies between the Ukraine-Belarus border and the Ural Mountains. Seventy-eight parent of the population lives in this area. Two large industrial cities are located above the Arctic Circle: Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula and Norilsk in Siberia.

The great plains are divided by six ecological bands. In the northeast, above the Arctic Circle, lies a huge expanse of frigid, occasionally marshy tundra, a nearly unpopulated region where much of the land is permanently frozen and little grows but moss and shrubs. Below that is the taiga, a vast expanse of coniferous forest, which gradually blends with a band of mixed coniferous and deciduous forest to cover half the country. The capital, Moscow, is in the centre of this region, where much agriculture has been located despite the thin, poor soil. A line of mixed forest and prairie with more arable soil characterizes the central areas, followed by Russia's "breadbasket," the black earth belt that constitutes less than a tenth of the national territory. Below that, the relatively arid steppe, with grasslands and semidesert and desert regions, runs along the northern edge of the Caucasus Mountains and north of the Caspian Sea beyond the Volga River basin into Central Asia.

Climate

The climate of much of European Russia is continental, with long, cold winters and short, hot summers. In the northern areas, winter days are dark and long; in the summer, the days are long and the sun barely sets. With the exception of the black earth belt, Russia has fairly poor soil, a short growing season, low precipitation, and large arid steppe regions unfit for agriculture except with extensive irrigation. These factors limit agricultural production and account for the frequecy of crop failures; what is produced requires substantial labor.

History and Demography

In July 1999, the population was estimated at 146,393,000, a decline of more than two million since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. The current figure includes several million immigrants and refugees from newly independent former Soviet republics. Since 1991, a stark drop in the birthrate has combined with a dramatic rise in the mortality rate. Average life expectancy for both men and women has declined since the 1980s.

This population decline is expected to worsen in the next decade. It is largely the result of the economic and social upheavals of the postsocialist period, which have impoverished the population and caused a decay of social services. Growing unemployment, long-term nonpayment of wages and pensions, paid wages that are below the poverty line, unsafe working and road conditions, the spread of infectious diseases, and the impoverishment of public health care systems have caused stress, depression, family breakdown, and rising rates of alcoholism, suicide, homicide, and domestic violence. Circulatory diseases, accidents, and suicides attributable to alcohol abuse are the leading causes of death among men. Malnutrition, disease, industrial pollution, poor health care, and reliance on abortion for birth control have reduced fertility rates and increased maternal and infant mortality.

In 1999, Russians accounted for 81 percent of the population and were the dominant ethnic group in all but a few regions. Other major ethnic nationalities are Tatars (4 percent), Ukrainians (3 percent), Chuvash (1 percent), Bashkir (1 percent), Belarussian (1 percent), and Mordovians (1 percent). Dozens of other ethnic nationalities make up the remaining 8 percent. There has been a significant rate of intermarriage between ethnic populations.
Until the twentieth century, the population grew steadily. The population of Rus' in the twelfth century is estimated at seven million. By 1796, Russia had a population of thirty-six million, to which territorial annexation had contributed greatly. In the 1850s, the population was sixty-seven million. The abolition of serfdom, accompanied by urbanization, industrialization, and internal migration in the second half of the nineteenth century, led to significant population growth, and by 1897 the population was 125 million. By 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution, the population had grown to 170 million. Famines, largely caused by civil war and the Soviet collectivization of agriculture, decimated the rural population in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1941, the population was around two hundred million. World War II caused the deaths of more than twenty million Soviet citizens. After the 1940s, population growth was slowed by the gender disparity and devastation of infrastructure caused by war.

The area now called Russia has always been multicultural. The Eastern Slavic tribes, the ancestors of modern Russians, traditionally are thought to have originated in the Vistula River valley in what is now Poland and to have migrated eastward in the seventh to the ninth centuries. Other evidence suggests that Eastern Slavic pastoral peoples were widespread in the central and eastern portions of the plain that stretches across the northern half of the Eurasian continent a thousand years earlier, coexisting with Finnic and Lithuanian tribes to the north and enduring recurring waves of conquest.

For more than a millennium, people sharing cultural traits, social structures, and religious beliefs have occupied present-day Russia, Ukraine, and Belorusia. Eastern Slavic society was culturally distinct and highly developed in terms of agriculture, technology, commerce, and governance by the tenth century. By the eleventh century a huge expanse had come under the nominal rule of the Kievan princes; at that time, the city-state of Kiev on the Dniepr River in present-day Ukraine was rivaled in size and splendor only by Novgorod far to the north. Prince Vladimir I, who ruled Kievan Rus' from 980 until 1015, brought Byzantine (Orthodox) Christianity to Kiev in 988 and sponsored the widespread baptism of the peoples of Rus'. A gradual process of the melding of pre-Christian practices with those of Orthodoxy consolidated the population under one political and cultural system. An intricate written code of customary law, the Pravda Russkaia, was in place by the eleventh century.

Wars after the death of Prince Yaroslavl the Wise in 1054 caused the gradual disintegration of Kievan Rus' until 1240, when Kiev fell under the domination of the Mongol Empire. The fall of Kievan Rus' and the political fragmentation that followed divided the Eastern Slavs into three distinct cultural-linguistic groups: Ukrainian, Belorusian, and Russian. The Mongols destroyed many cities and towns, and created a complex administrative system to exact tribute from its peoples and princes; Mongol control lasted until the late fifteenth century, although with less impact after 1380. The political power and territorial control of Muscovy expanded greatly under the four-decade reign of Ivan III, who died in 1505 after routing the Mongol armies. From that time on, the Russian state developed and expanded, with Moscow at its center. Ivan IV (the Terrible) was the first to crown himself tsar in 1546. He ruled in an increasingly arbitrary and absolutist fashion, brutalizing the aristocratic boyars in a decade-long period of terror known as the oprichnina. The century's end brought the "Time of Troubles"—fifteen years of political instability and civil and class strife that resulted in widespread impoverishment and famine, enserfment of the peasantry, and waves of migration of peasants to the edges of Russian territory.

Under Peter the Great, the Romanov tsar who ruled from 1682 to 1725, Russia began a period of imperial expansion that continued into the Soviet period. Peter attempted to modernize and westernize the country militarily, administratively, economically, and culturally, often through the use of force. His reforms changed society irrevocably, particularly through his introduction of new military and agricultural technologies, a formal educational system, a tight system of class ranking and service, and the founding of the European-style city of Saint Petersburg. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Petersburg, where it remained until after the 1917 revolution.

After Peter's reign, Russian imperial rule expanded southward into the Crimea, southeast along the Volga River, and eastward across the Siberian forests to the Pacific Ocean. Through further expansion during the Soviet period (1917–1991), Russians achieved political and demographic dominance over a territory equal to one-sixth of the world's land surface. After 1991, Russian geopolitical power declined, but the federation remains the largest country in the world.

Economy

The most common food is bread. Potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and beets are the standard vegetables; potatoes are a staple. Onions and garlic are used liberally, especially in soups, stews, and salads.
Russians generally love meat. Starvation means having no bread, while poverty means going without hard sausage kolbasa. Sausage, pork, beef, mutton, chicken, and dried or salted fish are widely available and relatively cheap. Only some can afford to buy delicacies such as veal, duck, sturgeon, and salmon. Traditional aristocratic fare included such fancy foods, many of which are popular among the newly wealthy classes today.

For most people, breakfast is a quick snack of coffee or tea with bread and sausage or cheese. Lunch is a hot meal, with soup, potatoes, macaroni, rice or buckwheat kasha, ground meat cutlets, and peas or grated cabbage. This meal may be eaten in a workplace cafeteria at midday or after people return home from work; a later supper may consist of boiled potatoes, soured cabbage, and bread or simply bread and sausage.

Basic Economy. The Soviet command economy provided a secure living standard for the entire population. Production systems were highly developed, technologically specialized, and spread strategically throughout the country. Almost all consumer and industrial products were produced within the nation or in the Soviet bloc countries. With the end of state support in 1991, many production enterprises declined or collapsed, and imports of higher-quality products reduced the market for domestic goods. This is true of consumer goods such as electronics, fashion, housewares, and automobiles as well as industrial, scientific, medical, construction, and agricultural equipment. As a result of collapsing markets,poor management, and ill-conceived privatization processes, many factories sit idle, while others have been dismantled and sold off. Some sectors, such as the food processing and distribution industries, are staging a slow comeback through modernization and a commitment to providing affordable local products.

The chronic shortages of the Soviet era led many people to produce for themselves. The current impoverishment has increased the importance of this practice, with a significant portion of the population partially dependent on their own produce. Many rural people raise food products for sale, and up to 80 percent of the vegetables consumed are produced in small private plots. The major crops grown by large agricultural enterprises are grain, sunflower seeds, and sugar beets. Livestock production has declined because of reduced government subsidies for feed and falling demand.

Society and Culture

The Russian Geographical Society  (RGO) is a learned society based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It promotes exploration and geography with research programmers in fields including oceanography and ethnography.

Learning about the Russian culture is an excellent way to improve your Russian and understand Russian-speaking people. Russian culture has a rich history, strong traditions and influential arts, especially when it comes to literature, philosophy, classical music, ballet, architecture, painting, cinema and animation. These resources will help you to learn about many aspects of the Russian cultural heritage and make learning Russian more fun.
Discover Russian traditions, gift ideas, fashion trends, games, jokes, toasts, and everything else that is typical of Russia and its people.

Government 

The Government of the Russian Federation (Russian: exercises executive power in the Russian Federation. The members of the government are the Prime Minister of Russia(Chairman of the Government), the deputy prime ministers, and the federal ministers. It has its legal basis in the Federation and the federal constitutional law "On the Government of the Russian Federation".

According to the 1978 Russian Constitution, the President of Russia was a head of executive branch and headed the Council of Ministers of Russia. According to the current 1993 Constitution of Russia, the President of Russia is not a part of the Government of Russia, which exercises executive power. The Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Russia says, that "The Government of the Russian Federation consists of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation and federal ministries".

Living Conditions and Cost of Living

Living costs in Rusia are about RUR 27 000 per month (excluding dormitory room rental).

Medical Insurance costs approximately RUR 2 000 per 3 months (depends on chosen services).

To conclude the agreement to study at Russian University  you should pass exams and submit to the department of international studies of the chosen faculty the following documents:

Filled application form;

Academic documents, equivalent to the academic documents of Russian Federation, with the academic degree, the full list of learned subjects and full list of marks, with a notarized translation into Russian:

  • For Bachelor studies (BSc/BA): school-leaving certificate
  • For Master studies (MSc/MA): Bachelor’s or Specialist’s degree-certificate
  • For Post-graduate studies (Candidate’s degree): Master’s or Bachelor’s certificate
  • (Academic documents should be legalized. You can get the information about the procedure of legalization in the Russian embassy in the country where academic documents were issued.)
  • Transcript (the document showing the list of the subjects with results) with a notarized translation into Russian;
  • Evidence of equivalence of the education certificate which was got outside the Russian Federation;
  • Medical certificate confirming that you haven’t got contra-indications for study in the Russian Federation and at the faculty you are applying to;
  • The AIDS test result confirming that you haven’t got AIDS, valid on the territory of Russian Federation;
  • Passport with visa and migration card;
  • Six 3x4 cm photographs.

The translation of the academic documents into Russian must be notarized in Russia or certified by the Russian Embassy or Consulate in the country where they were issued. The AIDS and other medical tests for the medical certificate must be taken in one of the  authorized clinic.

Education System

Education in Russia is organised and coordinated by the state, which ensures that general education is free and available for everyone. Most schools are state schools but private schools have also been established in recent years. 

Education usually begins with pre-school before the age of six, although it is not compulsory. Children typically go to kindergartens or other pre-schools which focus on both intellectual and physical activities. The next step is primary school, which is part of the general education programme. 

General education in Russia comprises three stages: primary education, which lasts for four years; basic general education lasting for five years and secondary education which lasts for two to three years. 

Russian general education is aimed at the intellectual, emotional, moral and physical development of the individual. It aims to develop the abilities that will allow a student to adapt to life in society as well as helping individuals to make conscious choices concerning professional education.
General education normally consists of 34 weeks of study per year and 27 to 36 hours of study per week. The academic year typically runs from 1 September to the beginning of June. School examinations are in June. 

The language of instruction is Russian in all state-accredited educational institutions, except in pre-schools. Citizens of the Russian Federation also have the right to receive their basic general education in their native languages.  

General education is compulsory. The basic curriculum for has some compulsory fields of study such as the Russian language, foreign languages, mathematics, history, politics, natural sciences etc. Every school designs its own curriculum, which is based on state requirements, and there can be some extra or optional disciplines. In Moscow, there are also schools that specialise in certain subjects, such as maths, music, arts, and sports. These schools can also offer extra education for children, alongside the general courses. 

After completing primary and basic general education, the students participate in final examinations. They are awarded a Certificate of Basic General Education, Attestat ob Osnovom Obshchem Obrazovani, which entitles the student to be admitted to either secondary general education, to vocational education or to non-university level higher education.

After completing the secondary general education, the students need to pass the State final attestation (final examinations), after which they will be awarded a Certificate of Secondary General Education, Attestat ob Sredem Obshchem Obrazovanii. This school leaving certificate will allow students to continue to higher education: either vocational education or both non-university and university level education. 

Recently, new types of secondary schools have emerged called gymnasium and lyceum, which can be both state owned or private. The duration of studies can exceed that of secondary general schools, and the educational programmes can be more advanced. 

In total, general education takes 11 years to complete. Children are enrolled in schools at the age of six and normally they finish school by the age of 17. 

If Russian poses a language barrier, there are also a number of international schools in Moscow offering education in English or in other languages.

Information Specific to International Students

Undergraduate

Students applying from Pakistan for an undergraduate course with qualifications from any international high school (i.e. A levels or International Baccalaureate) are expected to have results comparable to students from UK institutions. 

Students applying from Pakistan, who do not have an international high school qualification, will be required to undertake a pathway programme.

*Entry requirements to some courses may be higher and require specific subjects.  Applications are  considered on a case by case basis *

Postgraduate

Students applying from Pakistan for a postgraduate course, a 4 year Bachelors Degree from a high ranking university recognised by Pakistan Higher Education commission with 65% or GPA 3.0/4.0 or better will be considered for courses which require a 2.2 degree.  

For courses which ask for a 2.1, GPA 3.5/4.0 or better is required.

Universities consider applications from students with a Masters degree which follows from a 3/4 year Bachelors

*Please note: Requirements will vary dependant on recognition of university and scoring system used. Degrees must be issued by recognised institutions*

Students applying from Pakistan who do not meet the direct entry requirements may be able to undertake a pre-masters programme.

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