n Historia - Soviet "special depository" facilities for South African history : research experiences in the Soviet Union on the preparation of candidates for the submission of academic theses on South Africa : reminiscences

Volume 59, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The Soviet Union has always been one of the easiest places to graduate as an engineer. From the very beginning of its history the aim was to boost economic growth and increase industrial production. There were two ambitious goals: to widen and modernise the state production base; and to create and develop the military-industrial complex. In this regard, higher professional education (university education) in the Soviet Union was aimed mainly at the training of engineers. According to a study conducted in 1989, at the end of the history of the Soviet Union per se, non-engineering training (for example, human sciences such as history) was concentrated mainly in the pedagogical institutes, of which there were 198 in the Soviet Union. These pedagogical institutes accounted for almost a quarter (22.4%) of the total number of all universities. Therefore, to gain a liberal arts education in the USSR was several times more complex than it was to qualify as a professional engineer. In addition, a small number of classical universities created additional difficulties; these institutions were often used to gain entrance into a pedagogical institute. In one of the foremost of these pedagogical institutes, the university in Yaroslavl, I obtained a degree in History and became an English teacher in 1974.

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