Where do children of Russian officials and deputies study?
A proposal has been introduced to the State Duma to impose a legal ban on studying abroad for children of Russian officials. According to the authors of the project – experts of Avanti Association of Entrepreneurs for Development of Business Patriotism – this is a compulsory measure due to the “growing level of threat from foreign special services” who strive to hook students from the Russian Federation.
This is not the first attempt to force the ‘gold youth’ to settle for domestic education. For example, in 2010 the deputies were actively discussing a similar idea amid the scandal with Nikita Belykh who intended to send his son to study in the UK. In 2012 the Communists, who tried to revisit this issue, were accused of attempted reinstating of the ‘iron curtain’. Finally, a bill brought by Oleg Smolin, a Deputy representing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, was blocked in the profile committee of the State Duma due to formal reasons.
So, why do the people’s representatives return to this issue again and again? Whose children opted for foreign universities and how much their high-ranked mothers and fathers had to pay for it?
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Annual income: 7.6 million rubles
Quotation: “Isolation of Russia without political and economic losses for themselves and with simultaneous access to the Russian resources – this is the lingering dream of the West. However, the enthusiasm of our ‘partners’ to implement this dream is almost exhausted. As soon as Russia just denoted the formation of a multipolar world, the Western gunpowder has considerably soaked… Now the wet spot on the suit of ‘democracy’ is covered by sanctions files”.
Daughter Ekaterina Vinokurova: Columbia University, Political Science Faculty ( $25.8 thousand per semester); London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economics ( £25.4 thousand per year).
Ekaterina was born and raised in New York where Sergey Lavrov was working in the Permanent Mission of the Soviet Union to the United Nations. She moved to Moscow only in 2014 and currently is a co-director of the Russian Branch of Christie's.
Vice Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
Income: 4.7 million rubles
Quotation: “If you are a citizen of your country, you must tie all your activities with it”.
Daughter Ekaterina: a private school in Switzerland (2.5 million rubles per year according to Aleksey Navalny).
Daughter Anastasia: Queen Mary University in London (some £16 thousand per year).
Liza, the youngest daughter of the deputy, lives in London as well. But the father promised that all the three girls will return back home as soon as they complete their education.
The Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation
Income: 13.6 million rubles
Quotation: “I never forget that the School of Law of the University of Pittsburgh is my second alma mater, while the United States – my second motherland. These are the facts that I will never stop telling to all goodwill people living in Russia, France, Spain, Great Britain, USA, and all over the world”.
Son Anton: St. Clare’s Oxford International College ( £17.7 thousand per year); European School of Economics in New York (€45 thousand per year for full-time Master’s Degree education).
Currently Anton Astakhov is a co-founder of the Law Center of Pavel Astakhov, Monitoring Center to Identify Content that is Dangerous and Forbidden by the Law, and Institute SIT Limited Liability Company; he is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the United Bank for Industrial Investments. According to some sources, activities of the son, who has returned to the motherland, are linked with the upcoming resignation of the Children's Rights Commissioner. In 2014 Anton Astakhov purchased 8.4% shares of the Regional Development Bank, and his high-ranked father immediately announced that an account has been opened in this bank to collect donations for children – Ukrainian refugees. In November 2015 the Bank of Russia has revoked the license of that institution, while the conflict of interest attracted attention of the presidential anti-corruption service.
Despite son’s and his own close links with the USA, Astakhov was a passionate supporter of the ‘law of Dima Yakovlev’ forbidding Americans to adopt Russian orphans.
Member of the Council of the Federation
Income: 5 million rubles
Quotation: “I support traditional values and views, but I know that 5–6% of people have non-traditional orientation, and it would be stupid to destroy them or fight with them. You can’t fight with handicapped people…”
Nikolai Mizulin hasn’t returned back home after completion of his education. He currently lives in Belgium and is a partner in a big international law firm Mayer Brown. Interestingly, the company was recognized in 2014 ‘the best workplace for LGBT equality’, while Mizulina is the author of widely publicized initiatives to “protect children from gay propaganda”.
Deputy of the State Duma from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party
Income: 158.4 million rubles
Quotation: “They (the children – the CrimeRussia) are patriots of their country. And they want to tie their lives and work with Russia. Receiving foreign education by the children does not violate the law. If a ban on foreign education is approved, I am ready to return them back and obey the law”.
Son Stepan: Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Pennsylvania ($28.9 thousand per year); Hofstra University in Town of Hempstead, New York (starting from $20.5 thousand per semester).
Son Nikolai: Malvern College (starting from £12.3 thousand per year).
The deputy has also a daughter Maria who represented the National Gymnastics Team of Austria at children’s sports games in Ljubljana in 2014.
Deputy Chief of the Presidential Executive Office, Presidential Press Secretary
Income: 36.7 million rubles
Quotation: “No one can argue that the world media – both printed and digital – are somehow focused on our country and our President. This is exactly what we meant when speaking about a ‘Putinophobia’ bacillus that has affected many people in the Western society”.
Daughter Elizaveta: a prestigious boarding school École des Roches (starting from €20 thousand per year).
The girl became famous for criticizing the Uniform State Exam and the whole Russian education system in her Instagram. Following a request from her father, she moved to Moscow from France where her mother and brother live. After studying in the Institute of Asian and African Studies for some time, Elizaveta has left it and returned to Europe to study marketing. In June the open-minded girl pleased the public by posting her photos ‘from behind’ online.
Aide to the President of the Russian Federation, former Minister of Education and Science
Income: 10.7 million rubles.
Quotation: “A defect of the Soviet education system was its purpose to raise a person-creator. The purpose of the Russian education is to create a skilled consumer able to use products of others’ labor”.
According to Russian bloggers, Aleksander is currently living in the US. Upon graduation from the university he received a license to practice law in several American states – California, Illinois, and New York.
Deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Income: 2.8 million rubles
Quotation: “On the West, 2 million children are currently being raised in so-called ‘same-sex families’. The facts are that in many such ‘families’ children receive ‘sex-pornographic education’ and get practical lessons not only from ‘dads’ or ‘moms’, but also from other men and women. “They call children’s groaning a song” – such a grim analogy comes to the mind. This leads to self-destruction of once-great European nations…”
Daughter Anna: Milano University (some €3 thousand per year).
Anna used to study in Russia as well: she graduated from the Herzen State Pedagogical University and then decided to continue her education abroad – first in Germany and then in Italy. When asked by journalists about further plans of his daughter, Vorontsov responds vaguely: “She would probably apply for a higher doctorate. Anna has a complete command of two languages, she will help our companies and our country to establish liaisons”.
Apparently, it is the patriotic motivation that prompts many officials to send their children abroad. For instance, a daughter of Boris Gryzlov, a member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, lives in Estonia and has its citizenship. Children and grandchildren of Vladimir Yakunin, former Head of Russian Railways, have settled in the UK and Switzerland long time ago: since 2009 his older son Andrei is a co-owner of a British company Venture Investments & Yield Management involved into development projects in St. Petersburg, while his younger son Viktor lives in Switzerland and owns luxury real estate there. Son of Vice Premier Dmitry Kozak is a co-owner of several foreign companies – Red, MacBright, and Yuna, – while his brother Aleksey is employed in Credit Suisse Bank in Switzerland. Finally, according to some sources, grandchildren of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia, and, respectively, children of Deputy Igor Lebedev – Sergei and Aleksander – are studying in TASIS, an American school in Switzerland; the cost of education there is some 30 thousand CHF per year. However, the both Deputies deny this information stating that the boys are studying in the Classical Boarding School of the Moscow State University.
The country leaders reportedly follow the general trend. Ilia, a son of Premier Minister Dmitry Medvedev is currently studying in Russia, but in a public interview he announced his intention to get a University of Massachusetts diploma. Some sources say that Maria, the older daughter of President Vladimir Putin, lives in the Netherlands, while his younger daughter Ekaterina – in Germany.
Since early February, there has been a preventive operation of the National Police of Ukraine in cooperation with the border and migration services called ‘Migrant’. Its aim is to identify and expel thieves in law and foreign crime lords out of the country.