The concept document defines the priorities and tasks of Russia’s state policy on general education in Russian in the international education environment, approaches to ensuring access for Russian and foreign citizens and stateless persons to general education in Russian abroad, and the types of state support for educational organisations offering education in Russian abroad.
The Russian Federation Constitution, federal laws, the Foreign Policy Concept Document, and the Long-Term Socioeconomic Development through to 2020 Concept Document, the universal principles and norms of international law, and Russia’s international agreements regulating federal state agencies’ activities in international humanitarian ties, including in the education sector, form the legal base for the concept document.
The Russian Foreign Ministry estimates that there are around 17 million Russian citizens and Russian compatriots living abroad in the Commonwealth of Independent States alone. This includes around 7 million in Ukraine, around 5 million in Kazakhstan, more than a million each in Belarus and Uzbekistan, and more than 12.5 million elsewhere around the world. Countries with large communities of Russian citizens and compatriots abroad are led by Germany with around 4 million people. There are more than 3 million in the USA, more than 1.5 million in Israel, around 750,000 in Latvia, around 400,000 in Estonia, around 400,000 in Canada, more than 350,000 in Greece, more than 300,000 in Argentina, around 220,000 in Lithuania, more than 200,000 each in Australia and Britain, and around 120,000 in Jordan.
The concept document defines Russian state policy’s aims with regard to general education in Russian in the international education field. The aims, in particular, are to ensure access to Russian education and education in Russian for compatriots and foreign citizens abroad, offer them the conditions for receiving general education in accordance with Russian state educational standards within the framework of intergovernmental agreements, and use the learning process to teach young people abroad respect for human rights and freedoms and form a positive attitude towards today’s Russia.
State support for Russian schools abroad includes information, methodology, and material and technical support, and also organisation of professional education and continued education for people working in Russian schools abroad.
Information support activity is carried out using internet-based resources, television, print and electronic media, and includes the establishment of a specialised internet portal – Russian Schools Abroad.
Material and technical support includes measures for improving school premises, upgrading teaching and computer equipment, specialised software, development of modern teaching methodologies, and provision of textbooks, teaching materials, books, and electronic educational resources.
State support is provided to organisations on the register of Russian schools abroad.
The main agencies responsible for practical work to implement the concept document are the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Education and Science, Rossotrudnichestvo (Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation), and other Russian federal and regional executive agencies.
Support for Russian schools abroad will involve cooperation with foreign countries’ official organisations, compatriots’ coordinating councils, education organisations offering education in Russian in foreign countries, and cooperation with Russian friendship societies, twin cities, and national associations of graduates of Russian (Soviet) universities.