October-December 2016 #4 (16)

This issue of “Capital Ideas” focuses on two main topics - health and education. What could be more important? After all, health and education are the strength and reason of society. Without these things, we cannot move forward. When it comes down to it, what is the purpose of all our socio-economic transformations and reforms if these things do not serve to improve the nation’s strength and reason, the ability to set goals and reach them?

Not so long ago, Russians didn’t think much at all about their health and education. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian people had to focus on simply surviving and getting by. The nineties were an especially difficult time, when it seemed that human life was not valued at all. Russia was in shambles. People couldn’t even buy food and medicine at stores and pharmacies. I remember how shocked I was when I heard that surgeons from one Russian hospital ran out of scalpels and were forced to perform surgery with razor blades.

Still, I can’t say that medical care in the USSR was great before perestroika either. According to a confession from the legendary physician Yevgeniy Chazov, normal dental care in the USSR was practically non-existent until the end of the 70s: there was no anesthesia during treatment! When Soviet leader Brezhnev had problems with his teeth, two dentists from Germany were invited to Moscow. They helped not only Brezhnev himself, but all members of the Politburo. This is why foreign diplomats, journalists and businessmen who worked in Moscow often flew to Finland for something as simple as a filling.

This is no longer a necessity. Moscow has a lot of private clinics, medical centers with wonderful equipment and highly skilled professionals. Moreover, it is no longer a rare occurrence for foreigners to come to Russia for medical treatment. “Na zdorovie,” as Russians say.

There is also a lot of diversity in today’s education system. The CEO of a major foreign transportation company, a German from Hamburg, praised the opportunities presented by the Russian capital. “There are great opportunities to get an education in Moscow,” he said, “You can send your kids to a good Russian school or a British or German school. You can’t do this in Hamburg. There are only German schools.”

Yes, Moscow was always famous for its education system. Back in 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space, the US made the decision to change its education system, specifically in terms of the way technical and natural sciences were taught. Russian universities were always among the best in the world. The brain drain Russia has been experiencing is, of course, a negative phenomenon. We must do everything we can to stop it. On the other hand, this phenomenon serves as proof of the fact that the education system in Russia is very good.

Sergo Kukhianidze

Editor in Chief



Founder: Department for External Economic and International Relations of the Government of Moscow

Address: Voznesenskiy Pereulok, 22, Moscow, 125009

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Acknowledgements to:

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