The Higher School of Economics is not quite an ordinary university. Since it was founded, its purpose has been not only to teach students and carry out research, but also to prepare analysis for governmental bodies. At first, HSE was purely an economics university – not only by its name, but also by its specialized focus. Back then, we prepared analysis primarily for the Ministry of Economics. HSE later became a multidisciplinary university and began working under the auspices of the entire Russian government, so the range of our expertise and analytical work became much wider.
Over the last decade and a half, we have regularly served as a developer of key strategic documents. I would like to emphasize two of them. Both have long official names, but are generally known as the Gref Programme and the Strategy 2020. At the same time, we have been undertaking regular work on a number of legislative bills, forecasts, quality assessments for government documents, and, of course, on our university’s own initiatives. This work is hard, often urgent, stressful and not as prestigious as, say, writing papers for leading international journals. But many of HSE’s outstanding researchers take part in it. It is for this reason that our independent expert analysis often turns out to be more persuasive than that which is affiliated with the government.
Independence and professionalism are the key features of our analytical work. Our unwavering principle of working with the government aims to maintain an honest dialogue with everyone without bowing and scraping. We often turn out to be inconvenient partners for public officials, but, as our experience shows, this generates respect. They don’t always agree with us, but they never doubt our competency. It’s difficult to make assessments about yourself, but I’ll take the liberty of saying that a lot of useful solutions that have influenced the country’s fate were made with HSE’s participation and, no less importantly, a number of potential mistakes were prevented with our help.