Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at]

Aleksanteri Institute
P.O.Box 42 (Unioninkatu 33)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]
firstname.lastname [at]

Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2015-2016

Elena Denisova-Schmidt, University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland

“Remedying Corruption in Russian Higher Education”
(mid-August – mid-September 2015)

Dr. Elena Denisova-Schmidt, MBA, is a lecturer at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) in Switzerland. She has taught and conducted research at the Humboldt University in Berlin, the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Before moving into academia, Denisova-Schmidt worked for the VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation in Russia. Her current research interests cover corruption and informal practices in various settings in Russia and Ukraine.

Short description of ongoing research:
Dr. Denisova-Schmidt has been examining corruption in higher education in the BRIC countries using Russia as an example. Her analysis of this phenomenon shows the origins of academic corruption, its various forms, the widespread ambivalence to it as well as its potential to affect western universities. Her current study looks into a range of cheating
techniques that are widely used at Russian universities as well as the motives of the involved actors for applying, accepting and/or pretending to ignore these activities. Using quantitative (questionnaires) as well as qualitative (interviews and focus groups) research tools, the study
collects and reviews data in selected regions in Russia. The analysis represents the views of all the involved parties: university administration, faculty and students. Actions undertaken by these three groups are not illegal per se, but altogether, they weaken academic integrity and undermine public trust in an important social institution. During her stay at the Aleksanteri Institute, Denisova-Schmidt will work on her book on academic corruption in Russian higher education, focusing on the chapter on remedying corruption, which includes reforms and
concrete tools for this sector.

Dr. Denisova-Schmidt's visiting fellowship is supported by the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian studies - Choices of Russian Modernisation.

Email: elena.denisova-schmidt [at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Katalin Miklóssy and Anna-Liisa Heusala