The Structure and Activities of Student Representative Bodies in Modern Russian Universities

  • Dmitry Efimov HSE University
Keywords: shared governance, student associations, student councils, student governments, student participation in university governance, student representative bodies, student unions


One of the key objectives in higher education governance today is to establish mechanisms for effective student representation. This paper, based on a study of the practices of 50 leading Russian universities — federal universities, national research universities, Project 5–100 universities, and universities included in the QS World University Rankings as of summer–fall 2020 — reveals and summarizes the key practices of university student representation (often referred to as student self-governance) existing in Russia at the turn of the 2020s. The following origins of institutional arrangements for student representation are identified: academic units, thematic clubs, student unions, dormitories, and personal teams of student leaders. The major types of student representation activities analyzed in the article include participation in shared governance, provision of information to other students and engagement in public interactions with them, and organization of mass cultural events for students. Most often, functions associated with shared university governance are restricted to formal membership in university boards and fulfillment of federal law requirements regarding local regulations and disciplinary action, rather than actual representation of students’ interests in university decision making on educational, social, and scholarship issues. Therefore, the governance agenda of student representatives is shaped much more by universities and their administrators than by students themselves.


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How to Cite
Efimov, Dmitry. 2021. “The Structure and Activities of Student Representative Bodies in Modern Russian Universities”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 4 (December), 74-96.
Theoretical and Applied Research