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From Marxism 101 to Capitalism 101


Russian university changes its name, curriculum

July 26, 1997
Web posted at: 2:42 p.m. EDT (1842 GMT)

From Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty

MOSCOW (CNN) -- The university opened its doors in 1960, at the height of the Cold War, providing a training ground for young communists from developing countries.

The terrorist Carlos the Jackal studied at this university, along with guerrillas and revolutionaries from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

It was called Patrice Lumumba University, in honor of a first prime minister of the former Zaire, who was killed in a coup blamed on the United States.

vxtreme Russia's terror university

Now, with the Cold War over and Russian communism in tatters, the institution has a new name: Russian People's Friendship University. And students who once were schooled in Marxist philosophy now take courses in capitalist business.

The university is now forced to survive in a free market economy. And since it gets only about a third of its budget from the government, most of the rest comes from student tuition fees, which run about $2,000 a year for international students.


In order to attract students, the university added new courses and spent $350,000 on new equipment, including computers. "We've learned the rules of the market economy and adapted as much as you can in Russia, and we're doing quite well, especially when compared to other colleges I've seen," said the university's Vice Rector Dimitri Bilibin.

During the days of Soviet communism, two thirds of the university's 8,000 students were from other countries; now it's just over a quarter.

But the school's strong academic reputation and diverse student body has an added attraction for Russian students. "I'm really interested in international relations, that's why I like it here," said one student. "A lot of my friends studied here. It's a cool atmosphere."

And while some graduates fear the fervor of revolution has been lost forever, the young people studying at the Russian People's Friendship University say living through an evolution is exciting, too.


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