Academic Community and Policymaking in RussiaImpact or Detachment?

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-252
Number of pages13
JournalProblems of Post-Communism
Issue number4
Early online date05 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 05 Nov 2018
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This paper is concerned with the role of IR expertise and the academia-policy nexus in contemporary Russia. Drawing on interviews with Russia-based scholars, it posits that while there exist some formal channels of knowledge diffusion between academia and the state, there is no clear-cut relationship between knowledge produced in academia and the uses of this knowledge by the state. Two concurrent trends can be identified in the relationship between academic community and the policy-making world. On the one hand, authorities expect Russian universities to upgrade their position in international rankings and partake in global intellectual exchanges, the education and publishing market. On the other, the academic community perceives that professional expertise in international relations, and social sciences more broadly, is not valued by policy practitioners. Scholars’ attitudes towards policy impact, while generally skeptical, span a broad spectrum. Some are convinced that achieving impact is impossible, some declare unwillingness to interact with the policy-making world, while others find providing expert advice difficult but possible under certain conditions. Since 2014, the state has also increased its efforts to maintain a monopoly on producing foreign policy narratives, which, together with stultifying bureaucracy, pushed some scholars towards even greater caution.