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Regular version of the site


2023 graduates

When I started the Master’s programme at the HSE campus in Petersburg, I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to study. Regionally, I have always been attracted to the East. During my Bachelor’s degree, I was torn between the Asia-Pacific region and the Persian Gulf. Thematically, I was interested in almost everything: political, social, cultural and, at one point, even economic processes. On the other hand, I couldn’t to identify myself as a Japanologist, Iranologist, political scientist or anything else. In traditional universities, professors often have a very skeptical attitude towards such students. They see an obstacle to real competence in such a wide range of interests.
Therefore, when I came to HSE, I had doubts about how I would be perceived by the teachers. But they made me realize that the breadth of interests is not a weakness at all, and that with the right strategy it can be turned into a strength. For this precious truth, I am grateful, first of all, to Oleg Korneev, who was my mentor at first, and in my second year became the scientific supervisor of my dissertation. On the one hand, he gave me complete freedom, and on the other, he eventually managed to steer me towards a particular theoretical and methodological research paradigm: interpretivism. Although at first I was very skeptical about this idea, after a few months I realized that it was actually a whole universe in which I could combine my love of different regions and my interest in different subjects. Furthermore, immersing myself in interpretivist approaches has given me a more systematic awareness of not only my research identity, but also who I am in the world as an individual. Thus, it will not be an exaggeration to say that Oleg Korneev has truly changed my life.
I would also like to mention two other professors – András Gál and Yana Krupets. They taught us courses about research methods. To be honest, before I came to HSE in general, and to their classes in particular, I’d had a very limited methodological base. András Gál showed that there is a wide range of interesting tools for studying politics. And Yana Krupets helped me to open up what I had long been searching for. The thing is, my interest in politics was a reflection of my interest in people. That is, political science helps me to understand human being and vice versa. For a while, this idea seemed overly romantic to me. However, in Yana Krupets’ course I learned about the interview as a scientific method and saw that it can be used to conduct very insightful research. At this point I had what I call an absolute match between my inner world view and the possibilities for realizing it. I saw that through interaction with people and their feelings, emotions, perceptions, opinions it is possible to better understand political processes. Had I not been on the Comparative Politics of Eurasia programme, I wouldn't have seen this side of the social sciences.
Of course, there were other professors who made my two years in graduate school unforgettable. These are Andrey Starodubtsev, Denis Stremoukhov, Irina Busygina, Anna Ayvazyan, Elena Soboleva. I completed their course assignments with ease and interest and thoroughly enjoyed their classes.
An equally important part of my Masters was meeting a lot of interesting people. Many of them were foreigners and this was extremely useful in terms of broadening my horizons, both professionally and personally. I have seen how people who have studied in other education systems think and work. But more importantly, I made friends who I still keep in touch with, calling them a couple of times a year.
And of course, I cannot fail to mention that learning in English gives really a lot. Even though some courses had only Russian students and teachers, it still helped me to improve my language skills and to finally get rid of the awkwardness of speaking in English about difficult subjects.
In conclusion, I would like to say that, in my opinion, Comparative Politics of Eurasia is the best Master's programme in Political Science in Russia. I’m usually wary of using such big words, but it’s the only definition that comes to mind when I think back on my two-year experience studying at HSE. I will always be grateful to everyone involved in this programme: teachers and managers as well as students.
Sofia Butenko

My study and application to the program "Comparative Politics of Eurasia" was a very logical step after my bachelor's degree in Political Science and World Politics at the National Research University Higher School of Economics SPB. I started thinking about applying to the Master's program in the third year of my BA program. I wanted to keep the direction of my education, but to be able to narrow it down. And as the program offers a choice of three paths of training, it turned out to be the most suitable option for me.
Throughout my time in my bachelor's program, the main vector of interest to me was the domestic politics of the United States. In my final year, I realized that I would also like to delve more into U.S. foreign policy and the nature of the country's presence in the international arena. Joining the master's program allowed me to do just that. Even though, on the surface, the program does not seem to address the U.S. as an actor, I had the opportunity to study the specifics of Washington's involvement in regions such as Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the program allowed me to significantly improve my background in the post-Soviet states, as the program included courses on society and politics in Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.
There were also very significant components of my educational journey in the program that were metalogical courses. One of them was a qualitative methods course taught by Yana Krupets. This course took me deep into the nuances and peculiarities of using qualitative methods in research. During my undergraduate studies, I also explored qualitative research methods, but looking back, I could say that my skill in applying them improved greatly during my master's study. Having the opportunity to choose courses within the MAGOLEGO program meant that I was also able to take courses in quantitative methods. Although I did not apply these methods in my thesis, the skills I gained from these courses were valuable to me in the future.
In terms of the future path, I did not continue my studies in PhD as I never had any strong appeal to focus on a research career, but students who are interested in continuing their studies definitely have a reason to go to the program. You can gain deep disciplinary knowledge as well as a better grasp of aspects of working with methods and methodology. Some of my classmates have made the decision to continue their studies and have been able to successfully pass the entrance exams and get into PhD programs. Also, if you, like me, do not see yourself in a research environment, there is plenty of reason for you to go into the program as well. Having an idea of how processes, decisions, states and business develop in the countries of the post-Soviet space and the Central Asian region would allow you to expand the variability of career paths, as well as strengthen you as an expert in a rapidly changing labor market.
Overall, I can state definitely that students of political science and international studies would find the program exciting and beneficial. However, for those who would come from other fields, there is ample opportunity to gain excellent knowledge and get acquainted. For such students there are special introductory courses, which help them to adapt to the chosen direction. Also, I would like to note that another advantage of the program is the opportunity to work on writing a master's thesis during all two years of study. This makes it convenient to study in detail the chosen subject and object of research, as well as to pay special attention to the choice of methodology and the nature of the data to be analyzed and methods for its investigation.

2022 graduates

Аскеров Мир-Али Исмаилович

PhD student, visiting lecturer

I am from St. Petersburg, I completed my undergraduate studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg under the program "Oriental and African Studies”, focusing on the Middle East.
The program was interdisciplinary. During my bachelor's degree, I developed an interest in political science, I become curious about how one can study a specific region through political processes. Therefore, I began to look for a master's degree in political science and, as a result, I chose "Comparative Politics of Eurasia".
I choose it for several reasons: first of all, the course was intended for any background and not only for those from political science. I had little contact with political science before since I was finishing the historical and cultural track in my program, so I was worried about this specific matter. Secondly, I liked the regional focus of the program, because I developed an interest not only in the Middle East but also in Central Asia and the South Caucasus and this interest grew more after my enrolment in the program.
Starting from the last years of my bachelor's degree, I began to be especially interested in Islamic political movements; during my bachelor's we were studying these topics, but only focusing on the countries of the Arab-Muslim world. Then, in the master’s, I was able to shift the regional focus, i.e. to study Islamic movements, but in Central Asia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. In addition, I became interested in subjects directly related to the topic - for example, religious institutions. This was the subject of my master's thesis (The Role of Religious Institutions in Tajikistan). What is more, the program helped me to go beyond the Muslim world, because we also had courses on Russian politics, society, and politics in Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. In addition to regional courses focusing on Central Asia and the South Caucasus, these courses helped me expand my research so that I would not only focus on the Muslim world but I would also learn more about the countries of the post-Soviet space that surrounds us, which little I knew.
The most interesting courses in the programme for me were “Politics and Society in Central Asia”, “Politics and Society in the South Caucasus”. Methodological courses were also useful: for example, I took a course on qualitative methods, which helped me a lot, and I learned a lot about how to conduct research. Research seminars with Andras Gal and Elizaveta Potapova were also very helpful for research-related techniques. I also remember Russian politics, among the courses dedicated to regions.
In general, I did not participate much in extracurricular activities. Besides, those were covid years. During my master's studies, I once participated in a student research conference, which is held at the HSE Department of Oriental Studies. While preparing my defense, I was also able to participate in research projects related to my thesis topic. I got the opportunity to participate in the team of the RSF grant project, implemented jointly with Moscow projects.
At the beginning of my second year, I was finally convinced that I wanted to apply for a graduate school, specifically I wanted to stay at HSE. In principle, since there was an interest in political science, I wanted to enter graduate school in this specialty. I expressed my interest to my supervisor, O.V. Korneev. He referred me to the people responsible for graduate school, in particular, to Shcherbak A.N. Shkel. He agreed to be my supervisor as the topic I wanted to work on fit his profile. In spring there was a stage of preparation for entrance examinations: writing proposals, a literary review, reading books, etc. Then I managed to pass the exam and enter graduate school, after which I successfully defended my master's thesis and start studying as a graduate student in November. At the beginning of my second year of master's studies, I began working at the St. Petersburg HSE Department of Middle Eastern Studies, where I completed my undergraduate studies. I wanted to continue working there. Therefore, my priority was to enter St. Petersburg to continue teaching offline oriental studies.
If to say about my further plans, I am still focusing on the topic "Islamic parties in post-Soviet Eurasia: factors of emergence and institutionalization." This is a continuation of the study of “political life in Muslim-majority countries”, but now with a focus on post-Soviet Eurasia. It partially represents a pursuance of my master’s thesis topic, which was about state religious institutions. But for Central Asia (in particular, Tajikistan) these are quite related topics. The topic of my graduate work is a hybrid of what I did in my undergraduate times and what I am doing in graduate school. I also continue to teach and this year I began to teach one course with political scientists on the post-Soviet space with A.V. Starodubtsev. Therefore, I believe I am successfully expanding my own knowledge, as well as my students’.
I may advise to the programme students not to be afraid during the first few days. At first, I was afraid because of my lack of a political science background, but later I calmed down: all the professors were quite open to any of my questions. Secondly, I advise you to start thinking in advance about the topic of the master's thesis, especially for those who are going to go to graduate school in the future. You should try to make sure that the master's thesis is a kind of prelude to the candidate's. This helps to save time and efforts and set oneself up for research on a particular topic that can be deepened later.
Eleonora Shuli

My name is Eleonora Shuli, and I’m Italian. I graduated from a double degree program from the University of Trento and HSE Saint Petersburg, with a master’s in Comparative Politics of Eurasia in November 2022.
Since it was a double degree program it was a bit different from the normal path, so maybe that was a bit more complicated to kind of work out because I had a supervisor at HSE and one in Italy, and I had to combine their different ideas, so I was always trying to find a compromise between the two supervisors, but overall, everything went well. My thesis was about how Russia, up till 2020, tried to create new, and/or exacerbate already existent fractions within EU member states, in an attempt to fragment the European Union.
Overall, I really enjoyed studying at HSE because it's much more research based and you have to write many papers and conduct a lot of research, whereas in Italy it's much more about reading and conducting an exam. In Russia it's also a bit more practical because you have to write many papers which obviously helps with developing the next steps of one’s own research for the thesis. I also enjoyed attending some classes that were focused on the relations between Russia and the EU, which was very useful for my research topic.
Although I would have wanted to, but I didn’t manage to take part in any student-run club activities or extracurricular activities at HSE since I had 8 classes during my first semester, and my second semester was shortened because of the events in Ukraine which led to me leaving Russia.
I really enjoyed my time at the university, and I think that the environment was very nice, as the university had a lot of international students but there was also many Russians. And although at first I had this feeling that getting to know Russian people was harder in comparison to Italian or Spanish people who are usually very open, as soon as I got past these first steps I found that Russians were very welcoming and I really enjoyed that atmosphere.
Even though I really like Saint Petersburg, and I’d love to be back sometime soon, I think if you manage to survive the weather through November and December with the lack of light and the constant snow, you can really manage to do many things in life because I really think that made me mentally stronger. Coming from Italy where we have a lot of sun, being without light for so many hours was tough, but if you have a nice group of people around you everything gets easier.
As I mentioned earlier, I really like the city because it has so many different opportunities and it's a very lively city with an amazing architecture, in addition to being very well organized.
After my graduation in November 2022, I started sending out job applications focused on think tanks and organizations that deal with the relations between the EU and the shared neighborhood. Currently, I got a transitionary job in Belgrade with a communication company that works for Fortune magazine, doing reports on different countries with emerging markets.
Despite the fact that I normally start every experience without setting high expectations, I really enjoyed my time at HSE Saint Petersburg and I would advise future students to study at HSE because it’s a great opportunity, both from an academic point of view and also life-wise.
Margherita Giannotti

My name is Margherita Giannotti. I'm from Italy, originally from Rome, but I studied at the University of Trento in a double degree program with HSE Saint Petersburg. I graduated in November 2022 with a master’s degree in Comparative Politics of Eurasia. The journey at HSE was really formative and I've learned a lot especially in relation to the post-Soviet space and countries like Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. I have also learned how to think critically about events.
I focused my thesis on the state of Belarus, mainly the competing projects of the European Union on one hand and of Russia on the other, and the consequences of these two competing projects on Belarus’ political system, its economy and its civil society.
Academically, most of the professors were really prepared, in my opinion, and they helped to stimulate students to think critically rather than just learn notions. I also think the academic staff was very prepared in regards to the research methods, as there was a lot of attention on developing our research skills in social sciences which is something that I really appreciated.
The atmosphere at HSE was very stimulating as there were a lot of international students from Europe, USA, in addition to lots of Russian students from different parts of Russia. The environment therefore was very multicultural.
I graduated from the HSE and the University of Trento in November 2022, and I completed an internship at the Italian embassy to Darussalam in Tanzania. Afterwards, I started looking for a job which is what I'm doing right now.
Before applying to HSE, I had talked to a student who was doing the same double degree program, and she told me that it was really stimulating and that I would have the chance to acquire research skills and so on and this is something that I actually found at HSE.
For me, life in Saint Petersburg was really nice, as I met a lot of international students at HSE and I also had the chance to meet Russian students and to know a little bit of the Russian culture, so it was an exciting experience, except for the weather of course.
Applying to the double program with HSE and spending a year in Russia was a really challenging experience for me, coming from Italy and being a bit scared because Russia seemed like a completely different world to me. But now, having completed my degree and having spent a year at HSE Saint Petersburg, I would completely recommend this experience that teaches students on an academic, cultural, and personal level.

2020 graduates

Chiara Maria Franceschelli

My name is Maria Chiara, I’m from Italy and I have recently graduated from HSE with a Master’s degree in Comparative Politics of Eurasia. My journey at HSE was intense and rewarding. I had the chance to specialise in Russia and post-Soviet space, while gaining thorough methodological knowledge in social science research. The vibrant environment of my group was an added value: being it almost equally composed of Russian and foreign students, every discussion was enriched with the personal perspective and background of the contributors, thus enhancing a fruitful debate and stimulating a good discussion. Since the beginning of my first year, I chose to focus on social movement studies and civil society, and started drafting my final thesis about environmental social movement strategies. Thanks to the precious help of my academic advisor Galina Selivanova, and from other professors of the Programme who thoroughly advised and encouraged me, I formulated an exploratory research design that would answer the needs of my curiosity. The Russian civil society and its underlying dynamics thrill me very much: having gone through deep and rapid changes over the last decades, and being exposed to very diverse stimuli, it has a lot to reveal. Over a long and intense fieldwork, I had the chance to fully immerse myself in the movement’s life, and to speak with many activists, entrepreneurs and policymakers who were kind enough to share their experience with me. That experience was then turned into a thesis “Non-Сontentious Strategies of Environmental Social Movements in Contemporary Russia: Case Study of ‘Razdel'niy Sbor’ in Saint Petersburg” that received “high praise” from the Evaluation Commission members, and was accepted to several international conferences. I am now looking forward to pursuing a career in the research field, and to (hopefully) coming back soon to Saint Petersburg and saying “hi” again to the place I’ve been calling “home” for two years.
Lisseth Gabriela Teran Hernandez

My name is Lisseth Gabriela and I was a full-time student in the master’s programme of Comparative Politics of Eurasia. What should you know about this programme? You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the political and social culture of contemporary Russia and understand how the different processes of political transformation during the post-communist period have shaped the political regimes of the Eurasian region. You will learn about control methods applied by authoritarian regimes, as well as the status of regional conflicts. All this under the guidance of Russian and foreign academic professionals ready to give their feedback, so you will be able to acquire tools of practical analysis and improve your skills in the field of academic research; as well as to have constant and unconditional support by university staff in all the phases of the programme that will make your stay in St. Petersburg an extraordinary experience.

One of the many pleasant experiences that I had during my master's degree was the opportunity to develop skills and learn techniques for qualitative research. From the first year, my research focused on migration within the post-Soviet space. In the first instance, I aimed to understand the political and social implications that these migratory flows have in the political relationship of the countries in the region. Eventually, I studied attitudes of the Russian society towards the groups of migrants with greater visualization on social media, such as Ukrainian and Kyrgyz migrants. The methodological development of my research implied a challenge in learning and applying text mining techniques and interpreting unstructured qualitative data, which allowed me to reconstruct the socially dominant discourses towards migrants in Russia and delve into the ways in which the prejudice towards immigration is configured. For this, I had the technical guidance of the HSE Internet Studies Lab and the constant guidance of my academic supervisor, who was a great support for the successful finalization of my research.

At the same time, I had the opportunity to develop a research project on the political values of university students in Venezuela within the framework of the internship programme at the Laboratory of Political Studies of the HSE - Moscow, which implied conducting semi-structured interviews at a distance with young people between 18 and 25 years old and the use of techniques for opinion mining. Both experiences were very stimulating and allowed me to master practical tools for the study of opinions that, for sure, I will be able to use in my future professional projects.
Edgar Jean Jacques Seeberger

After obtaining my first degree in France, I had the chance to study for two years at the Higher School of Economics in Saint-Petersburg in the programme “Comparative Politics of Eurasia”.
There, I had the opportunity to learn in-depth everything that interested me about Russia and the Eurasian space in general, with professors coming from all different backgrounds, both from Russia and foreign universities.
The support for foreign students is excellent and the opportunities for the students of the programme are great: I was selected at the end of my first year for the Erasmus + programme and went to University College London with a scholarship to study the politics of Central and Eastern Europe from a completely different angle compared to what I knew before.
In addition to the courses, the programme includes an internship period, which I completed in the French Senate, in Paris. This internship greatly inspired and guided me for the writing of my master’s thesis, another major component of the programme “Comparative Politics of Eurasia”.
Finally, life of an HSE student is not just about classes and internships. The campus allows any person with motivation to get involved in associations and to create projects with the constant support of the university. For my part, I have the development of the “Francophonie” at heart and have been able to create a francophone eloquence club thanks to HSE, which provided us with rooms for meetings and helped us with the communication of events. I was also involved in the French-speaking geopolitical club of the HSE, which provides a perfect setting for organization of high-level meetings on various themes with diplomats, officials, writers and scholars.
Thanks to this experience at HSE, my internship, my involvement in associations and my master’s thesis research, I understood that the career I envision will be in the sphere of cultural diplomacy or corporate intelligence/advising for the strengthening of the Franco-Russian relationship. There are a lot of opportunities for foreigners in Russia, and HSE is to me the best place to start your path there!
Finally, Saint-Petersburg is a magical city, where amazing friendships and lifelong memories are created!
Nikita Slovogorodskiy

My name is Nikita, and I graduated from the “Comparative Politics of Eurasia” programme in 2020. I went with a specific goal: to boost my skills in the formation of a theoretical framework, methodology, and application of methods in research. My bachelor's degree in political science at HSE St. Petersburg was related to private space law in the United States, and at the time it turned out that I could no longer learn anything new from this topic, since the last significant regulations happened in 2015. Therefore, for my master's thesis, I set a challenge: to learn something completely new with the help of entirely new methods.
Thanks to the general academic freedom of HSE and our programme specifically, I chose the topic of drug policy in the European Union. I proceeded with the fact that a similar thesis is relevant for any country: drug policy is a gray regulatory area that is difficult to study with usual methods. It is impossible to compare countries (due to completely different contexts). Statistics are not available (states collect data in completely different ways), and such studies, for various reasons, do not fit into conventional morality. However, the EU is a huge umbrella organization with a structured approach to regulating different policies, which is why I was able to find a way to do some particularly good research.
Along the way, thanks to the programme, I learned new methods and approaches and realized what kind of "glue" such research can be held together with. A detailed study of the European Union turned out to be especially useful. The fact that the dissertation (like all training courses) had to be mastered entirely in English, my level of the language increased greatly. There were many international students in the course with whom we communicated both at school and outside the classrooms. As a result, thanks to a good dissertation and mastery of skills, I managed to get a job as a junior researcher at the European University, where I want to continue to get this strange pleasure from scientific work and working with data.
Karina Iuzbekova


I also received my bachelor's degree in political science, but at a different institute. I think that getting an education in different universities is an extremely rewarding experience. You already have formed ideas about the higher education that you received at the bachelor's degree level, but entering a new university gives you the opportunity to plunge into a completely different environment.
Even though I decided to continue my studies in the same specialty as my bachelor's degree, much of what we learned in the programme was new. Even the material already familiar to me was perceived differently here. Certainly, some repetitions are inevitable, because many of the people who entered this program had their previous education in other areas - history, international relations, law, etc. I was incredibly surprised by the flexibility with which the teachers approached the course materials. Before the start of each course, the teachers asked us about our backgrounds, interests, and plans to tailor the training specifically for our group - to add new topics or focus on theory, if necessary. The desire for such an individual approach in the conditions of many students is, in my opinion, one of the main advantages of the programme.
Even though the main focus of the programme is the region of Eurasia, we, the students, were not limited in the choice of the topic of work that interested us. I wanted to continue studying the relations between the Russian regions and the federal center - my bachelor's paper was devoted to this topic and I also chose it as the topic of my dissertation.
A separate bonus that I would also highlight is the fact of training in English. Despite the initial objective difficulties, the process of adaptation to learning in a foreign language went quite quickly. Moreover, considering the fact that there were many international students in the course, it turned out to improve not only the academic language, but also the spoken language.
I cannot say that my admission to the master’s programme was a deliberate and well-established decision in advance. Many of my former classmates decided to finish their studies after their bachelor's degree and, of course, this choice was also before me. However, still there was a feeling of incompleteness, a feeling that it was possible to learn/do even more. It is now that I understand that entering the master's programme and choosing this particular programme was the right decision.
Tsotne Chakaberia

My name is Tsotne Chakaberia, I am from Georgia. I am a graduate from HSE's master's program "Comparative Politics of Eurasia". After graduating with a BA in International Relations and Diplomacy from Izmir Katip Celebi University in Turkey I have decided to move to St-Petersburg, Russia to study MA in Comparative Politics of Eurasia at Higher School of Economics. This decision was motivated by my willingness to obtain deeper understanding of Eurasian comparative politics and Post-Soviet world. The program has given me further political, economic, cultural and practical understanding of the multidimensional Eurasian affairs.
My research interests were highly influenced by HSE, as I was exposed to a variety of different subjects and tools of research making. I found it fascinating how well tailored the research studies are at HSE, so it is a perfect place for research oriented, ambitious people.
Most importantly what was good about the program is to have a broad scope of courses that narrow down the areas of anyone's interest. Courses were extremely helpful for a university student, it helped me understand the proper steps toward citing and documenting my research paper and avoiding plagiarism. And the instructors were very good at presenting their lessons. I highly recommend this program to students, who are unaware or confused about how to document their research papers.
Private life has been fantastic, the city is beautiful and warm regardless of the cold winters. The overall experience has been challenging, yet very rewarding at the end of the day.
After graduating, I have continued my work at the company where I have been working at. Finding a job was not an issue, as I have been already working while studying, hence I have just continued to work after graduation.
To be honest, I have had medium expectations from the program, yet I was pleasantly surprised to find out that actually it was not mediocre. Level of the program is high and the knowledge base that you have to analyze is tremendous. Moreover, wonderful personnel. It has been a pleasure for me to spend two fantastic years at HSE.
If your realm of interests includes Russia or Post-Soviet countries and politics, it is the best option you may have. Try to go to mobility programs which HSE offers, it is a great opportunity to encounter different opinions and expand the horizons of future careers.
Alexander Williams

Proposal manager, emergency management-consulting firm

My name is Alex Williams and I’m from San Diego, California. Prior to enrolling in the program, I was an ESL teacher in Taiwan for 2.5 years. It’s hard for me to say that studying at HSE in Saint Petersburg radically changed my research interests, but it did expose me to new areas of study that I probably wouldn’t have looked into before. In terms of practical value, the methods and approach to research I learned at HSE have proven to be very useful at my current job position.
I think I now have a much greater ability to gather and organize information so that it can be put to practical use. I also feel that my critical thinking skills improved throughout my time in the program. Beyond practical value, I walked away from the program with a much greater appreciation for the intricacies of Eurasian politics which has changed how I view my own country’s policies and role in the region.
After meeting so many new people and making friends from countries all over the world, I began to appreciate new perspectives and approaches that I might have dismissed before. Living in Russia, as an American, gave me the opportunity to form my own opinion on a country that is often at the center of American political discourse and frequently stereotyped in our popular media. I think this alone made my time spent at HSE worthwhile and I’m grateful for the experience.
After graduating, I originally planned to remain in Russia and strengthen my Russian language skills but unfortunately, I had to return home due to the pandemic. Initially, it was quite difficult finding a job as I had been away from the U.S. for five years and had few contacts and no network to aid me in my search. I didn’t have a well-developed plan prior to enrolling in the program. I thought I may want to pursue a PhD after completing the program, but ultimately decided against it. I decided to take advantage of the help offered by HSE to explore new opportunities.
At the start of my final semester, I received a travel grant to conduct research for my thesis and I planned to combine this trip with a brief internship at the Eurasia Foundation office in Almaty. I hoped this experience would help better shape an idea of my career path after graduation. Unfortunately, due to covid, this trip was cancelled.
My advice would be to take advantage of the opportunities presented by living in Russia and studying at HSE, that might set you apart from your peers back home. Living and studying in your country of interest allows for real on the ground experiences that those studying in their home country can’t get.
Anna Zheltoukhova

Data Analyst in Accenture IT company, Frankfurt, Germany

My name is Anna Zheltoukhova, and I am from Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan.
I moved to Saint Petersburg when I entered the HSE in 2014 as a bachelor student of the sociology department. During the last two years of my bachelor, I started to be interested in the electoral behaviour in Russia, especially what motivates people to vote for a particular candidate, as well as what forces to change peoples' electorate preferences.
After my bachelor degree, I decided to deepen my knowledge of political sciences and applied for the program "Comparative Politics of Eurasia". In my bachelor's degree, I tried to study as many different topics as possible. I tried to take a variety of extra courses such as machine learning, cultural inequality and psychology. Finally, after a civil society course, I decided to write my final work on electoral behaviour in Russia. During my master, however, research interests were more devoted to the topic of my thesis. I was researching the rise of right-wing nationalistic parties in Eastern Europe. I found this topic as of great interest since not so many papers write about the reasons for voting for nationalism in Eastern Europe, and mostly write about the Western countries of the EU. Thus, I can't say that my research interests somehow varied greatly – I am still interested in the electoral behaviour of people and the reasons for their decisions. But definitely, the HSE gives a chance to study an interesting topic for students.
So, I would say that HSE identified and strengthened my research interests. I am glad that I studied in this program. First, I deepened my knowledge in political sciences, which helped me writing my master's thesis. Moreover, thanks to the close integration with professors and students with different backgrounds, I could look at my thesis not only from my perspective but also from the point of view of criticism and practical advice. Besides, in the first year of my studying, I and other several students went to the UK, King's College of London for a three months internship. At KCL, we had access to a range of literature and an opportunity to discuss our topics with the professors of this university, so it was an amazing experience that helped to finalize our theses.
At the beginning of the autumn, I applied to the program in Germany, which helped to start writing the PhD thesis. Thanks to HSE, I had a saturated CV due to the qualitative and quantitative studies I conducted during my BA and MA, as well as well-prepared thesis. Finally, I won a scholarship, and I got a chance to live in Germany for three months and write a good PhD proposal.
I have relatively realized what I want to do in life because of studying at HSE. When I first entered, I did not understand what to do next: only after graduating from school, a person is unlikely to immediately realize what his purpose is. That is why I tried to study as much as possible to determine the most interesting area for myself. As a result, now I understand that research is something that pleases me. I like everything from the stage of reading the literature and determining the research question, to analysing the results.
At HSE, I became more concentrated, because I had to manage to read a lot of literature, work, write works, and at some point, allocate time for extracurricular activities. At first, it seems difficult, and I didn't have time for anything, but over time I learned to allocate my time correctly. HSE also taught me to be critical: not to take any information as truth, but to carefully check the sources of its receipt and the methods of obtaining this information.
After graduating from my master’s program, I continued to work. In the middle of the second year of studying, I got a job at a marketing research agency. In the fall, I applied for a postgraduate study at the Higher School of Economics in a sociology department. My research work was connected with the research I have conducted during my master. I think that finding a job was quite easy for me since I had an experience in conducting qualitative and quantitative studies.
I’m no longer a PhD student at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. I left studies after the first year since I had changed my research interests and had decided to think about new perspectives of future research work. In summer 2022, I moved to Frankfurt, Germany, to work there as a Data Analyst in Accenture IT company. I currently work with a psychological safety, analyzing the client data and presenting it through a new vision to help them make changes in the previous strategy and create a better environment for employees in the team
I didn't have any particular expectations or plans, to be honest. Before enrolling, I went to an open day, an event held by the HSE for new students. There, I asked the academic supervisor of the program all my questions, so expectations eventually coincided with reality. The main emphasis in our master program was on the post-Soviet space and Russia's relations with other countries. The topic of my thesis was devoted to nationalism in Eastern Europe on the examples of Hungary and Poland. But although most of the courses were devoted specifically to the relationship of past or present Russia with other countries, I learned a lot, which, among other things, turned out to apply to my work.
My advice: Never be shy about asking questions. Any. Even if it seems like the question is stupid. Because only through questions can the integration of knowledge take place. Don’t be afraid of asking questions and try to broaden your mind through taking different courses.
Tzovinar Nazarian

My name is Tsovi. I am actually from Saint-Petersburg but I was born in Armenia. My parents moved to Saint-Petersburg when I was very little and that is why I attended kindergarten and school in Saint-Petersburg. There was a period when I studied in Armenia the first three years of school, but in the end, I returned back to St. Petersburg.
I got my BA in RANEPA. I studied on the international relations faculty. After the BA I worked as a faculty administrator at the university.
I had a goal to somehow self-develop further and I knew that I very much wanted to get an education in English. To continue my studies in English I decided to apply for a master’s degree to almost the same international relations programme, but I also considered political science. At that moment, I did not even imagine that international relations and political science, in fact, were so different. It was HSE that helped me to figure that out.
I did not have an understanding of what political science was. I applied to political research thinking that I already know quite a lot and that I am a specialist since I studied in the field of international relations and diplomacy. I considered myself a competent enough person for that programme. But, in fact, it turned out that international relations are more about diplomacy, interactions between states and even history while political science is more about research which needs specifics, figures, proof.
I believe that education that I received here opened my eyes. I learned exactly to research, conduct surveys and interviews. I understood what quantitative methods are, what qualitative methods are, though I did not have an understanding of that before. Actually, I am grateful to HSE because knowing historical data is very good, but it is also important to understand the sources that you use.
I did not enter any student’s clubs but we participated in different conferences. HSE has a French club that organises meetings with ambassadors and different professors. I took part in these French club meetings. Frankly speaking, I did not enter any clubs because there was not so much free time.
HSE not only taught us but also gave us an opportunity to travel and study abroad. The first half of the second year of studies I spent in Belgium. As an exchange student I studied at Free University of Brussels. I have never even thought that there would be a chance to go and study somewhere abroad and it was HSE that gave me that opportunity.
After the end of the programme, I had but one goal – to return to Europe. We finished studies when the quarantine had already begun. It was just awful. Me and my colleagues, we were all confused about when it would end, how it would end, where to go, what would happen next. I had a goal to return to Europe as I knew I had more chances there than in Russia. Today I live in France and teach children English, online for now, but I hope that soon it will not be. In fact, I’m very happy that I was able to overcome myself, and was able to believe in myself.
I would like to wish everyone to use all the chances they have. Even if they do not believe in themselves, even if they are afraid, I believe it is better to try than to regret not doing anything. One has to meet new people, try to find internships. Despite COVID and closed up borders, education, after all, is not a door you can simply close. You have to challenge yourself – that is my advice.

2019 graduates

Hannah Allen

Programme Officer, NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Comissioners)

I was interested in HSE because of the program that was available and its connections with my academic interests.
I had some previous political science exposure and was interested in spending more time and intensive focus studying Russia and the post-soviet regions. HSE's master's program enabled me to push my interests into more specific lines of inquiry, especially with regard to my thesis research.
The master's program gave me the knowledge and skills I was looking for, and have definitely better positioned me to find work in international relations and policy. Having a foundation of understanding Russian and post-soviet society has informed both my work and travel. I hope to continue to build on my knowledge of Eastern Europe and Eurasia as a focal point of my career.
It's a really difficult time to be looking for a job. I recommend that students and graduates stay organized and patient. Reach out to your contacts and don't be shy when it comes to asking for advice and information about opportunities.
Alexandra Deviatova

User experience designer, home improvement retailer USA

The MA Comparative Politics of Eurasia program is an excellent choice for anyone looking to enhance their research skills and delve deeper into the field of political science - I found it exceeded my expectations in every way. I was particularly impressed by the diverse range of professors and lecturers who are highly regarded in their fields. Their expertise and global perspectives made the learning experience super interesting and engaging! I also appreciated the opportunity to study in English and connect with students from all over the world without leaving my hometown. While the schedule was somewhat demanding and left little room for internships or work experience, I found it to be incredibly worthwhile. The packed calendar of academic events, homework assignments, and readings was certainly challenging, but it was also a testament to the program's high standards and commitment to academic excellence. Moreover, I gained valuable practical skills from participating in projects led by HSE professors. These experiences later helped me apply what I learned in the classroom to real-world situations and ultimately proved instrumental in my professional development. I would highly recommend this program to anyone seeking a challenging but rewarding academic experience that prepares them for success in their chosen field. My advice to job seekers is to follow your passions and find a job that aligns with your interests and goals. Take the time to explore different career paths through internships and other experiences to achieve both personal and professional fulfillment.
Semyon Kievetc

PhD student, HSE, Faculty of Wolrd Economy and International Relations

I study at Higher School of Economics in Moscow at the department of International Relations and Regional Studies.
When I applied for HSE in the program “Comparative Politics of Eurasia”, I wanted to expand my knowledge in Russian politics and International Relations. I have studied International Relations before, but this program was a new experience for me. It was interesting for me that program is in English, which gave me an opportunity to engage with people from different background, from different countries and from different Russian cities. Imagine all these people united in one group, and definitely this was one of the most important reasons why I applied to this program.
I always had a dream to study international relations, to better understand political, economic and cultural changes in other countries. Later I wanted to receive some new experiences and I applied to the program on Political Science at HSE. We had great classes devoted to methods. So we experienced a massive investment from our professors on both qualitative and quantitative methods. Then I decided to continue studying International Relations and I applied to IR program in Moscow, HSE.
I worked with quantitative methods during my MA studies. That was pretty complicated, challenging but great indeed! I find that experience useful for me, as we tried to delve deeper into the application of these methods in our final dissertation. This is the main skill I received in the MA program. My academic supervisor was extremely helpful in that.
MA program changed my research focus. Before I wanted to study EU and EU integration, especially Germany. Later I decided to focus on Eurasian region. My MA studies focused on Isolationism of Russian regions and now I focus on the Crimean factor in Ukraine’s foreign policy.
To freshmen I may say that first of all you should be attentive to all courses and to fulfil all the requirements that professors request. And only when you do all the necessary work, then you will be able to achieve the success.
My second recommendation would be to try to do something new, apply new methods and challenge yourself. This program is a great opportunity to meet new friends from different countries and to improve your research skills.
Natalia Sidorycheva

I wanted to continue studying in my specialty, so I entered the HSE for a master's degree in Political Science. The strong part of this programme is a possibility to refer to various process of training, it is group works, work on own projects, interesting tasks at seminars. I love the time of preparation for the exam session, we together with the guys made tasks for exams, nervous and the whole week was so intense, as if there was a small life. In general, all process of education was a good experience for me.
Some skills received at university, I apply at the moment in my work and it is easier for me to cope with orders. Considering the image of HSE in business and academia, I may say that HSE is an excellent university, many people know it and consider it prestigious.

To freshman I may advice not to be afraid of exam sessions and to take active part in university events. If I had to do my MA studies again, I’d spend more time on university events and generally be more active.
To graduates I want to give the following advice. Start looking for a job in your final year and don't wait for graduation because it is not a fast process, make a good summary and don't be afraid of big companies.
Thomas Yenichek

My name is Thomas Yenichek and I am from Columbus, Ohio. I served in the United States Marine Corps. After my contract, I studied international relations for my BA and also took programming classes on the side. My research interests have been eclectic; HSE exposed me to areas of international relations, diplomacy and social science on a deeper, more focused level pertaining to Eurasia and Russia in particular.
Studying at HSE allowed me to develop my research and critical thinking skills. The internship allowed me to branch-out and experience an industry which I was not formally acquainted with previously (Software as a Service – international business computing). I did not take part in any student-run clubs, however I did play music with some of the students there and with some locals. We would rent out private studios and have jam sessions together. I play bass and guitar. Studying at HSE in St. Petersburg, Russia allowed me to practice my Russian which I had studied in my BA program.
Exposure to Russian society and culture as well as the various views of my peers was an invaluable experience. I learned quite a great deal about Eurasian politics in general, but Russia more intimately. Hearing the views and discussing opinions with my colleagues at HSE and with my Russian friends I met outside of the university had a profound impact on me and I am very grateful for all of the insight this has given me. Truthfully, political/social science research was not my primary concern after graduating from HSE. I looked upon my time there as an opportunity to experience a part of the world that I had not previously seen, to travel in the Russian Federation and to learn about the beliefs and views of the people there. The distinguished position of HSE attracts foreign students from around the world and was a major benefit of studying in the program as it gave us access to various worldviews.
After graduating, I traveled around the US for a time and found work as a web developer. I received a few job offers pertaining to travel, marketing and government. I settled into web development as it has been a hobby of mine for quite some time and my internship facilitated this interest.
Honestly, when I enrolled I left my future open to the possible opportunities which would afford themselves. As mentioned, I chose not to focus on a career track in academia, social science or government/diplomacy but took the experiences I gained from my time at HSE, reflected on them and used them to forge my own path.
I advise students to keep up with the reading assignments. Collaborate with peers. Ask for advice from advisor(s) and develop your research interests early so that you can more deeply pursue them if you decide to continue on with your education in your chosen program.
Maria Levchenko

My name is Maria, my hometown is Belgorod. During my bachelor's degree, I studied political science at HSE St. Petersburg. Considering that I received my bachelor's education in the same specialisation, my research interests were already formed. During my master's studies, they, perhaps, transformed a little - I have always been engaged in discourse analysis. Considering that the research method that I used in my master's thesis was discourse analysis, and my present work is closely related to the display of the political agenda in texts, I find the knowledge gained during my studies on the Comparative Politics of Eurasia programme quite valuable.
The master's programme ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’ provided students with many opportunities for self-selection of research, term paper and other academic papers’ topics. Personally, I was able to significantly deepen my knowledge in my areas of interest - the professors have always met and supported my research interests. Moreover, classes provided information that in almost all cases was useful in other subjects as well, which made learning interesting, integral, and the quality of knowledge and academic papers - higher.
I have no doubt about the enormous impact of studying at HSE on my personal development. My intelligence has significantly increased, and the ability to interpret the results of data analysis has also come in handy in real life.
When I applied to this programme, I seriously considered the possibility of continuing my academic career. Studying political science for four years on the HSE undergraduate program, I knew what I was going to face and what pitfalls there might be. During the master's studies, information was provided at a much more in-depth level, I devoted much more time to studying and writing academic papers. This immersion in the subject still allowed me to realise that an academic career was not for me.
I am currently a municipal official. I quickly found a job in my specialty, realising where exactly I would like to work and what to do.
My universal advice for everyone who enters HSE is the following: do not postpone your studies, learn everything from the start. In this case, those four very terrible exam sessions will not be terrible at all. Do not be afraid to explore "strange" topics. The professors will always support you and help you correctly formulate a topic that will be of interest to you. Try to read more articles and books ‘of your specialty’, so that you will not only become more versed, but will also be able to elaborate your scientific interests quicker.
HSE is the place where creativity and your own view of the world are welcome. It was difficult many times during the studies, but I never regretted that I had chosen this particular programme - I had the opportunity to learn from excellent professors who are passionate about their profession, to communicate with people who entered not for the sake of the diploma, but because they deliberately decided to do it. I found like-minded people with whom I still keep in touch several years later. The last advice: while actively studying, try not to forget about real life. I am sure that there will be many wonderful, smart and interesting people around you.
I am from Tyumen. In 2016 I got a degree in political science at Tyumen State University. This was a bachelor’s degree.
The opportunity to study at HSE Saint-Petersburg influenced my research interests. I think that they have expanded a lot, that is, I learned a lot of new things that, unfortunately, were not taught at my previous university. It seems it helped to get more familiar with the methodology of comparative research, and theories. It might be that it had a more serious impact on my theoretical and methodological knowledge. Research interests did not change though. They remained in line with the research of contemporary Russian politics.
I think that the knowledge acquired on HSE’s ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’ master’s programme turned out to be very valuable. As I said, I acquired unique knowledge in the research field and about how things are generally done. Speaking about extracurricular activities, unfortunately, I had absolutely no time for them.
I think studying at HSE was a pretty good experience of networking with completely different people because this is such a multicultural programme. There are a lot of foreigners – I have not had such an experience of communicating with them before. It very well develops skills of if not empathy, but some kind of tolerant attitude towards other people and people of other cultures. It gives you a different view of the world. Because when you see the world, studying at a regional Russian university and then in a big city, among many different people – it feels like two different worlds. So, from a personal development standpoint, it also influenced me.
Sometimes, to be honest, students from other countries caused such a pleasant culture shock for me, in the sense that they were relaxed, focused on acquiring knowledge for their development. Not to get an excellence diploma, but to learn something new.
After graduating I found a job at Tyumen State University. I returned back home to Tyumen for some time and now I am still here. I have taken an administrative position of the vice-rector assistant at the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities of Tyumen State University. Besides, this year, I am also teaching the project seminar course part-time for the 3rd year students of international relations programme. It seems to me that it was not easy for everyone to get a job. But the stars aligned, purely by chance. I graduated in June and got a job in September.
I think that my plans changed quite seriously during the studies. When I initially applied, I thought that after graduation I would try to get a job in a consulting company. In the process, I realised that this was absolutely not my thing, and if I have to choose, then it would be either to do research or just stay at university. Actually, I like working in the academic field. That's why, even after returning home, I was looking for work specifically in university.
My advice would be to use this chance of entering HSE and to try to use the resources provided by the university to the full extent. Believe in yourself and everything will work out!
Denis Stremoukhov

Senior Lecturer

I was born and have been living in St. Petersburg my whole life.
Previously, I studied international relations and wanted to continue studying this subject on a master’s degree level until the last moment. At the same time, I was not content with what IR programmes in Russia looked like for a long time - in fact, this is a mix of history, international law and subjects devoted to modern international processes in different areas and regions of the world. And on top of that you have something like diplomatic etiquette and two foreign languages. At one moment I got interested in theoretical understanding of international relations in global science. I started reading books and articles and, at some point, I realised that it was this kind of science I was interested in. Today I identify myself as a political scientist and I do comparative political science.
The ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’ programme attracted me, first of all, with the methodological component. At that moment, I did not have sufficient knowledge of research methods. Even then I planned to continue my postgraduate studies and work in academia. So, there were no major changes in my plans. Although, in the beginning, I still wanted to study international relations, but with time I changed my speciality to comparative political science.
Initially, I wanted to continue writing about international relations, but most of the professors of the program and the staff of the Department dealt with internal politics. Then a thought of combining these two things occurred in my head - this is how I began studying the international activity of Russian governors. Through this topic I came to the study of politics in Russian regions. However, the study of regions, of course, is not a goal per se. It helps us answer broader questions of comparative political science.
The knowledge acquired on the programme is difficult to overestimate, given that I have changed the field of specialisation. Much of my political science knowledge I acquired exactly in class, although I also devoted a lot of time to independent study of methods and literature.
HSE has not only helped me develop professional skills necessary to conduct research, but, for example, has greatly helped me improve my English skills as well. Thanks to the programme, I started speaking English much more fluently and started writing academic texts in English. The international atmosphere on the programme played an important role there.
I am currently continuing my postgraduate studies at HSE St. Petersburg and working at the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, and at the Centre for Comparative Governance Studies. This academic year I even managed to take part in teaching the Policy Analysis course for students of our master's programme.
In my case, finding a suitable job was quite easy, as I continued my studies at HSE on a postgraduate programme. Of course, it was necessary to prepare for the exam and write a research proposal, but, in general, the path was quite straightforward.
My advice will be quite traditional: try to take everything HSE has to offer. Attend scientific seminars, participate in conferences, find internships in other countries when the borders open. And, I think, it is especially important now to maintain a sense of community: after all, most of the people who entered the programme last year have never seen each other offline. Their experience, of course, is very different from mine.