Moscow State Institute of International Relations

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Group.png Moscow State Institute of International Relations  
(University, Deep state milieuWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
HeadquartersMoscow, Russia
Educates very many of Russia's political, economic, and intellectual elite

Moscow State Institute of International Relations, often abbreviated as MGIMO, is an academic institution run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, which is widely considered the most elite university in Russia.[1] It is one of the top universities in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as a think tank. MGIMO is reputable for the prominent role of teamwork, analytical thinking, critical reasoning, and strategic planning as key aspects of its training methodologies.

It was dubbed the "Harvard of Russia" by Henry Kissinger, because it educates so many of Russia's political, economic, and intellectual elite.[2] Currently, it has the lowest acceptance rate and the highest test scores of any university in the country.[3] It is the alma mater of the largest number of Forbes list members and representatives of the political elite according to Forbes Russia.[4]

MGIMO offers numerous educational programs in 18 key fields of study, including international relations and regional studies, politics, governance, diplomacy, world economy, law, journalism, foreign trade and management, energy affairs, linguistics, and environmental studies. It offers MBA and Executive MBA programs, and pre-university tutorials as well. According to the Guinness Book of Records, MGIMO teaches 53 full time languages during every academic term, the most in any academic institution.[5]

The University pays special attention to distance learning and digital technologies. Since 2016, MGIMO has been recording and publishing its distance courses at Coursera.[6] As of today, Coursera contains 20 courses by MGIMO professors. MGIMO has integrated an LMS (Electronic Learning Management System) in the educational process.[7] Moodle and Stepik (Russia) platforms are used as well.

MGIMO has three campuses – in Moscow, in the Moscow Region and in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) as well as an educational centre for law studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Today, there are about 10,000 students at MGIMO from 74 countries. International students account for about 16% of the total number of students.

MGIMO is a centre for the Russian-French Trianon Dialogue, the Russian-Czech Discussion Forum,[8] the Russian-Austrian forum Sochi Dialogue, ASEAN Centre.[9]


MGIMO was founded on 14 October 1944 by a special decree of the Soviet Government on the basis of the recently established School of International Relations of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The first 200 students were veterans who had survived in the Second World War and were determined to build international peace and stability.

By early 1950s, MGIMO comprised three schools, since its ancestor, the School of History and International Relations was added by the School of International Law and the School of International Economic Relations. In 1954 the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, one of the oldest Russian institutes and the successor of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages created in 1815, was integrated into MGIMO.

In 1958, MGIMO incorporated one more university – of Foreign Trade – and became the national leader of education and expertise in International Relations.

In 1969 the School of Journalism and the School of Law were added to the scope of education and research fields.

In the second half of 1980s MGIMO became a fully open institution. In 1989, admission on a commercial basis started and first students from Western countries began to arrive. In the late 1980s, MGIMO became the first national university to establish its own business school that later in 2012 emerged as the School of Business and International Proficiency.

1992 saw the creation of the School of International Business and Business Administration.

In 1994 MGIMO was granted university status but traditionally contains the word institute in its name. The same year saw the creation of the International Institute of Administration. The same year a Department of Politics was introduced within the School of International Relations and evolved into the separate School of Political Science in 1998.

The next decade saw the further buildup of reforms and improvement of educational quality, including newly opened schools and Master programs with the number of partnering universities abroad. In 2000, two educational divisions were established - Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy and School of Applied Economics and Commerce. In 2005, the European Studies Institute was opened on MGIMO basis.

In 2011, the Institute for Foreign Economic Relations was transformed into the School of Applied Economics and Commerce. In 2013 The School of Governance and Global Affairs was launched as the first Russian school to train international students in English at Bachelor’s level.

In 2016, MGIMO officially opened the Odintsovo Branch – its first campus located in the Moscow suburban area. The campus is also a home for MGIMO Gorchakov Lyceum.

In 2017, the International Institute of Administration and the School of Political Science merged into the School of Governance and Politics.

Notable Alumni

Heads of state or government

Ministers, diplomats and politicians



Arts and literature




Alumni on Wikispooks

Ilham Aliyev24 December 1961AzerbaijanPoliticianPresident of Azerbaijan since 2003.
Vitaly Churkin21 February 195220 February 2017DiplomatRussian Un Ambassador who died of what officially was a heart failure, at a time when there was a lot of Western diplomatic pressure on Russia and several other diplomats had died in a short period of time.
Andrey I. Denisov3 October 1952RussianDiplomatRussian senior diplomat. Ambassador to the United Nations and, since 2013 China at the time of a rapidly strengthening relationship.
Umar Dzhabrailov28 June 1958RussianBusinesspersonRussian politician and businessman associated with several murders in his "career". Mentioned in Jeffrey Epstein's black book.
Andrey Kelin15 May 1957Diplomat
Alexander Konuzin25 December 1947RussianDiplomatRussian Ambassador to Serbia 2008-2012
Miroslav Lajčák20 March 1963SlovakiaPoliticianSlovak diplomat with WEF AGM habit
Sergei Lavrov21 March 1950DiplomatRussian diplomat and very competent Foreign Minister
Alexander Lebedev16 December 1959RussianSpook
Media mogul
Spooky Russian oligarch and media mogul
Yuri Nosenko30 October 192723 August 2008USSpook
Soviet KGB defector who ended up being tortured in secret CIA prison.
Vladimir Potanin3 January 1961RussianBillionaire
Russian businessman. The 10th richest person in the world.
Alexei Pushkov10 August 1954RussianPolitician
Deep state functionary
Influential Russian politician
Tim ReillyUKSoldier
Deep state operative
Arkady Shevchenko11 October 193028 February 1998US
Soviet Union
Soviet diplomat, the highest-ranking Soviet official to defect to the West.
Lilia Shevtsova7 October 1949RussianAcademicMoscow State Institute of International Relations, 5 Bilderbergs from 1999 to 2004
Alisher Usmanov9 September 1953RussianBillionaire
Uzbekh-Russian billionaire who made his wealth after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Took down Craig Murray's allegations by threatening his web host.


  1. Müller, Martin (2009). Making great power identities in Russia: an ethnographic discourse analysis of education at a Russian elite university. Zürich: LIT
  2. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Russian Culture, Smordisnkaya et al., 2007 Edition, pp. 400–401
  3. MGIMO-University Official Website, "WHY MGIMO," last updated 2016
  4. |