International students can return to Russia

International students are ready to fly back to Russia – if they can afford the price of the ticket

After partially reopening its borders to international students in March 2021, the Russian government announced in September that all international students can return – or come for the first time – to study in the country. This applies to students from countries where there are still no direct flights to Russia, and also to those yet to be vaccinated.

As is common these days, those wishing to enter Russia can do so on production of a negative Covid test result, and must undergo a second test after their arrival. Students must self-isolate while awaiting the result of their post-arrival test, and many universities are offering special accommodation that they can stay in during this time.

Some of the logistics of supporting the (re)entry of international students were discussed at a national conference with the interesting title of ‘Competitiveness of Russian education during pandemic-related restrictions’ – makes you wonder how many other countries have been holding similar events.

Unvaccinated international students are invited to take advantage of Russia’s homegrown Sputnik vaccine, but there are no requirements to be vaccinated in order to be on campus, unlike some other countries. This is perhaps unsurprising for Russia, where only 30% of the population are fully vaccinated.

Despite the opening up, not all international students will be rushing back just yet. Flights from some destinations have skyrocketed – from Uzbekistan, tickets are at about 70-80,000 rubles, according to a conference delegate. That’s a little over USD$1,000 for a country where the minimum wage is US$70 a month.

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