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On 9 October, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev signed a decree increasing the quota for foreign students (including those of Russian origin living abroad) who can be admitted for a tuition-free education in Russian higher education institutions to 15 000 students a year, up from the previous 10 000.
The Russian scholarship programme mainly attracts students from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as well as from China, Vietnam, Mongolia, Iran and Palestine. The number of European applicants from Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy is also growing.
The quota expansion is driven by growing domestic demand for graduates with specific country profile. The beneficiary organisations which have expressed their interest in the initiative include the state corporation Rosatom, the Federal Drug Control Service, the State Duma, the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation, the University of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and other bodies.
The measure is broadly in line with the country’s effort to promote Russian culture and image abroad. Earlier in summer the Russian government decided to expand spending on foreign cultural and educational projects from RUB 2 billion (EUR 45 million) to RUB 9.5 billion (EUR 215 million) by 2020.
Russian government (in Russian)