Dear MGIMO students, faculty and staff!

30 March 2020

As you know, what the President of Russia announced as a non-working week has just set in and as of today Moscow has also drastically tightened measures relating to self-isolation and restricting movements around town.

The specific details and technicalities of all these measures can be discussed at length, but they are instructive in one essential aspect: the situation is complicated, and the efforts to tackle it come across to many, especially from the younger generation, as absolutely unprecedented. For this reason, I will keep reminding you to be careful, cautious and prudent. Consider each thing you do these days keeping in mind the goal of curbing the risk of infection!

Try to explain the risks to your family members and friends. These warnings apply particularly to students and to those who came to MGIMO from other cities and countries, who live without the daily supervision and advice of their parents. You are young, dynamic and you may be having a hard time accepting these limitations. Think about the better and safer ways to spend your young energy in these unusual times.

While you are technically on vacation, the educational sector is one of the industries, which should not be discontinued and can easily carry on remotely. Over the last few days, we have together with the faculty and administrators been thinking hard about how to provide you with reliable and continuous distance learning experience.

The vast majority of MGIMO professors have found an opportunity to and, most importantly, have shown a genuine desire to work with you during this holiday week!

Some classes will take place in real time, while others will require more self-study in combination with individual remote consultations with your instructors. I shall not now dwell on the details, which will vary across our vast student body. You know your timetable, you are in contact with your dean’s offices and departments. At the end of the day, it is up to you whether to make really good use of your time.

However, in order to be awarded a MGIMO diploma upon completion of your studies, you will need to master the entire program, and you should certainly not put this off until better times. The situation will obviously improve, but these changes will bring along with them a lot of new temptations and distractions:  trips, outings to the theatre, gym workouts, parties, exhibitions and meeting friends at a cafe. Now, dear students, is the best time to concentrate on your studies and to fill in the gaps in your knowledge that you never had enough time to before.

I urge my colleagues, instructors and researchers alike, not to miss out on the opportunity to tap into the nearly endless online resources that have become free of charge virtually overnight. We need to make the most of this global academic solidarity.

I sincerely thank the University staff members who prepared the building for the period of quarantine last weekend. The classrooms and corridors of the empty University were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Last week we even managed to carry out some cosmetic repairs in some parts of the University…

For over the three decades that I have been Rector, it is the first time that the University has been locked down mid-year, but this is not the first challenge faced with by our alma mater during its seventy-five-year history. Life challenges us, teaches us new things, and we become wiser and more resilient.

I thought it was right to convey this message to you at this point in time and I will continue to communicate with you in this way when I feel it necessary. I hope that it helps you to receive first-hand information.

Be careful and stay well!

P.S. Dear colleagues, should you have any questions in connection with the current situation, do not hesitate to contact me personally by email:

MGIMO Rector

— See the MGIMO web-site for russian version