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Joint Seminar of HSE and Hertie School of Governance

On December 14th-16th 2015, a joint seminar between HSE and the Hertie School of Governance was held in Berlin. The staff members of the Laboratory for Political Studies, students, doctoral students and faculty of the Hertie School of Governance as well as researchers from Oxford, Cambridge and Heidelberg Universities took part in the event.

The project ‘Value orientations of Russian elite universities’ students’ is dedicated to the study of political views of students in a comparative perspective. The project focuses on ideological orientations of students and their attitudes towards different political regimes and institutions, as well as their career prospects and expectations.

The student survey was carried out in 2014-2015 in five universities in Russia, USA and Germany. In Russia the students of HSE, MSU and MGIMO were questioned. The survey was also carried out in Princeton University in the USA and Hertie School of Governance and Heidelberg University in Germany. The General project database includes about 2,500 responses.

The first day of the workshop was taken up by discussion of the project’s theoretical basis and design. Mark Urnov, ideological leader of the project, spoke about the start of the project and its main goals. The participants discussed the difficulties that emerged during the survey and conducted the comparative analysis of the questions’ wording in different languages in order to confirm the fundamental comparability of the data.

On the second day of the workshop the participants split into small international teams, formulated several research questions and studied statistical relationships between authoritarian values and uncertainty about the future, between the willingness to work independently and willingness to support the opposition.

The analysis showed that students at Russian elite universities stick to more conservative values than their peers from German and US universities. In particular, Russian students are more likely to respect their parents regardless of their behaviour, which is not typical for students from other countries. In Russia, students of natural and technical sciences are less likely to stick to authoritarian values than students in humanities and social education programmes.

On the last day of the workshop the teams made presentations of their research and discussed further development of the project. Researchers from Cambridge and Oxford universities adapted the questionnaire, tested it with the experts and now plan to conduct a survey among the students of English universities.

In addition to all the active work and discussion at the workshop, staff members of the laboratory  managed to learn something about the history of Berlin and went on a walk around the city centre and a cycle ride through the Western and Eastern parts of the city.