Generation Putin

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and the Russia left in its wake has long since moved past the bad old days. Or has it? Rare survey data from the four main universities that feed Russia's Foreign Ministry reveals that the next generation of Russian diplomats may not turn out to be as “post-Soviet” as you think.

Who wants to be a diplomat?

Not all of the 513 international relations students at the four universities surveyed for this studythe Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Moscow State University, the Diplomatic Academy, and St. Petersburg State Universitywant to be diplomats. But those who do, about 25 percent of respondents, place a significantly higher value than their peers on making a positive difference in society and having a high position and power in their chosen profession.

Next: Freedom now?

Who wants to be a diplomat?

Not all of the 513 international relations students at the four universities surveyed for this studythe Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Moscow State University, the Diplomatic Academy, and St. Petersburg State Universitywant to be diplomats. But those who do, about 25 percent of respondents, place a significantly higher value than their peers on making a positive difference in society and having a high position and power in their chosen profession.

Next: Freedom now?

Yelena Biberman is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Skidmore College, New York, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the South Asia Center, the Atlantic Council. Her book Gambling with Violence: State Outsourcing of War in Pakistan and India is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in July 2019.

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.