G. A. Savchuk, I. B. Britvina, V. A. Frants. Cultural Rapprochement of Russians and Students from the Countries of Central Asia as a Result of the Impact of “Soft Powerˮ of the Higher Education System

UDК 378.1:327.8-057.87

DOI: 10.15507/2413-1407.113.028.202004.823-842

Introduction. The cultural rapprochement between Russia and the countries of Central Asian that are members of global alliances is facilitated by various social institutions, including the system of higher education. The article is of relevance as it analyzes the system of higher education in the context of cross-country interactions in terms of the theory of “soft power”. The purpose of the study is to assess the potential of higher education system as an element of “soft power” of the country in the cultural rapprochement of students from Central Asia and Russians.

Materials and Methods. The study was conducted in April–June 2019 using the method of in-depth interview in Ekaterinburg, a Russian megalopolis with a high concentration of universities, attractive for educational migration from the countries of Central Asia in terms of geographical location and economic development. Twenty-two students and ten graduates of Ekaterinburg universities who came from this region were interviewed. The technique of typical case sampling was employed.

Results. The following results of the impact of “soft power” of the system of higher education have been revealed: in the course of training, attractiveness of Russia, as the country of residence for students from the Central-Asian region, increases; the majority of students have chosen such a strategy of acculturation as integration into the host community; the education system has promoted specific cultural mechanisms for integration of migrants into the host community.

Discussion and Conclusion. The obtained results make it is possible to assert, that the collective efforts of universities to increase their attractiveness for applicants and students from the Central-Asian region have promoted their loyalty to Russia as a whole, have affected further migratory plans, associated with residing in Russia, of a considerable part of students, and promote their cultural integration into the host community. The results may be useful for regional scientists to understand the opportunities and limitations of a deeper cultural rapprochement between people of different cultural background.

Keywords: higher education, educational migration, university student, Russia, Central Asia, cultural rapprochement, soft power, integration

Funding. The article was done with the financial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research as part of the scientific project No. 19-011-00471.

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

For citation: Savchuk G.A., Britvina I.B., Frants V.A. Cultural Rapprochement of Russians and Students from the Countries of Central Asia as a Result of the Impact of “Soft Powerˮ of the Higher Education System. Regionology = Russian Journal of Regional Studies. 2020; 28(4):823-842. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15507/2413-1407.113.028.202004.823-842


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Submitted 15.09.2020; accepted for publication 19.10.2020; published online 30.12.2020.

About the authors:

Galina A. Savchuk, Head of the Department of Integrated Marketing Communications and Branding, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin (19 Mira St., Ekaterinburg 620002, Russia), Ph. D. (Sociology), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2980-8970, galina.savchuk@urfu.ru

Irina B. Britvina, Professor, Department of Integrated Marketing Communications and Branding, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin (19 Mira St., Ekaterinburg 620002, Russia), Dr. Sci. (Sociology), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2862-4408, irina.britvina@urfu.ru

Valeria A. Frants, Associate Professor, Department of Integrated Marketing Communications and Branding, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin (19 Mira St., Ekaterinburg 620002, Russia), Ph. D. (Political Science), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3730-445X, v.a.frantc@urfu.ru

Contribution of the authors:

Galina A. Savchuk – initiation of the research and collection of material; choice and elaboration of research methodology; data analysis.

Irina B. Britvina – identification of the main ways to solve the research problem; elaboration of the research methodology; data structuring and analysis.

Valeria A. Frants – critical analysis of literary sources; systematization of the main ways, presented in literary sources, to solve the research problem.

The authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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