Vitaliy Kalmykov: "The most motivated, well-prepared students come to Russia from Azerbaijan"

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Vitaliy Kalmykov: "The most motivated, well-prepared students come to Russia from Azerbaijan"

The 13th International Exhibition "Education" (EduExpo), dedicated to information and communication technologies at all levels of education, has kicked off in Baku. The Baku Expocenter gathered more than 150 participants from 22 countries. The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan, the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs' Organizations, the Fund for Promotion of Export and Investment in Azerbaijan, the Agency for Development of Small and Medium Businesses. EduExpo is considered to be one of the most effective tools of promotion of educational services in Azerbaijan. Curator of the Russian representative office at the exhibition, vice-rector of the Institute for Post-graduate Education, doctor of historical sciences, Vitaly Kalmykov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about educational projects.

- Who represented Russian side at the exhibition?

- Ten Russian universities are represented here. During the formation of the exposition, we worked based on the fact that Russia is huge, and it would be unfair to bring only Moscow and St. Petersburg to the exhibition in Baku, because there are many talents and places to study in other regions. That's why Belgorod, Tomsk, and Kazan are also represented here, so now potential applicants can choose not only specialty, but also living conditions that are closer to them in mentality and climate. Some people are comfortable with the capital, others will gladly go to the Umar Aliyev Karachay-Cherkess State University and be among those who are closer to them both in culture, religion, and traditions. That's why we tried to choose interesting universities from different regions.

- Is Azerbaijani education market interesting for Russian side?

- Of course, Azerbaijani market is very interesting. But we came here with suggestions. Right now citizens of the CIS countries have the right to study for free and enjoy all the benefits that Russian students that study for free enjoy. Russia doesn't sell, it gives. If I remember correctly, each year, about 15 thousand budget places are allocated to all CIS countries, at least 400-600 to each country.

- There's decline in popularity of Russian language among young people in some CIS countries. Situation is opposite in Azerbaijan. Does Russia remain an attractive country for Azerbaijani students?

- Yes, Azerbaijani students come to study in Russia. When I was a student, those who came to Russia from Azerbaijan had real, honest gold medals without any nepotism. These people have achieved a lot. For example, Fikret Pashayev was the first secretary of the permanent representative of Azerbaijan to the UN. And there are a lot of such examples. Right now, according to reviews of my colleagues who work with students from different countries, the most motivated, well-prepared students come from Azerbaijan. When people go to study somewhere, they come with their culture, with their outlook on life. That's why they also teach those who are close to them. Azerbaijani students who come to Russia certainly have something to teach people around them.

- Baku has branches of many Russian universities. Negotiations are underway to open branches of MGIMO, the Higher School of Economics and the Moscow State University for Humanities and Economics. What do you think about trends in educational relations between Russia and Azerbaijan?

- I view such things extremely positively. Once upon a time, Russian Empire had many talents represented all peoples that were part of it. There were a lot of great people in various fields, both in industry and in the army. That's why, for me, as a person who grew up in the USSR, the more people of different nationalities consider Russia to be their home, the better my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren will live in my home country.