Education authorities in the Russian Federation have picked a university in the annexed territory of Crimea as the host of this year’s Russia-African Network University (RAfU), a summer training program that annually hosts hundreds of African students.
While RAfU has membership of 12 universities the initiative is implemented in 10 universities in Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Rostov-on-Don, Crimes and Astrakhan, the selection of the V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University could be seen as a way of Russia seeking international recognition of its occupation of the territory, by dragging ‘neutral’ or poorer countries of the world into inadvertently legitimising the annexation.
“The Crimean Federal University was one of the initiators of the creation of the Russian-African Network University, so we were given the opportunity to coordinate the RAFU Summer University project, which is now being implemented at the sites of 10 Russian universities,” said an article published by the International Friedrich Schiller, and later picked by African media outlets.
“In September we are planning a trip to Zimbabwe to meet with the local Ministry of Education”
The article quoting a press statement by the university added that students picked will be trained in different areas of medicine including in reproductive medicine and “laparoscopic surgery”.
“The training of specialists will be held from August 29 to September 9 at the Medical Academy of the V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University. This is the first experience of its kind for the Crimean higher education institution,” it continued.
It describes the RAfU as a platform founded to help develop and strengthen cooperation between Russia and African countries allowing universities to “communicate with each other”, to organise academic mobility of students.
“In September we are planning a trip to Zimbabwe to meet with the local Ministry of Education, which has already expressed an interest in Zimbabwean universities to join RAfU,” said the rector Andrey Falaleev.
On the other hand, the Crimean Federal University established in 1918 describes itself as “the top class Medical university in Russia with a faculty of more than 7,000 and over 32,000 students, about 3,000 of whom are international students from 54 different countries”.
Russia has recently renewed its drive for African students in a bid to grow the number from the 30,000 that were enrolled in its universities in 2021.