Recently two new departments, the School of Broadcast Journalism and the Department of Political Science, were created at Moscow State University while leaving the two traditional departments that engendered them intact. The result has been a contestation over academic freedom, standards, and the very definition of both disciplines at Russia’s premier university. The new departments are both closely associated with United Russia, the dominant political party in Russian politics and the political movement designed to promote the priorities and policies of Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin. This paper examines the self-definition of each of the four departments by means of open-ended, semi-structured interviews with faculty and content-analytic examination of curricular materials, including syllabi and assigned readings. We conclude that the newer departments are somewhat more attuned to certain aspects of the international standards of both disciplines, but demonstrate little adherence to key ethical and pedagogical norms, leaving them more susceptible to political influence.

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