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.
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
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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