Putin sidelines top university candidates for children of Russian soldiers

More than 800 children with father’s that fought in Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine have been enlisted in Russia’s top 15 universities despite failing to achieve the required grades, an investigation by an independent media outlet has found.

The students are the first to benefit from an amendment signed by the Russian leader to the law on education earlier this summer that allows war veterans and their children the right to enter universities “under a separate quota”.

Admittance of these unique cases varied across Russian universities but each establishment is required to recruit at least 10 percent of its student pool from those participating in, or affiliated with, the war in Ukraine.

Hundreds of those that benefited from this scheme either were not required to take the national Unified State Examinations (USE) or were admitted with scores as low as three times below the required pass mark.

It is the latest initiative mandated by the Kremlin to encourage participation in the SMO as personnel numbers in the occupied territories continue to dwindle in the face of the Ukrainian counter offensive.

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One boy, identified as Dmitry, was filmed bragging about being accepted into the Phystech School of Applied Mathematics and Informatics at MIPT, the seventh most prestigious Russian university, located on the northern outskirts of Moscow, after achieving three times less than the passing score in the entrance exam.

In an interview with his university, he said smiling: “I’m the first one in history with such scores. Perhaps the last one.”

“I did so poorly [at school] that every teacher told me that I would be cured,” he said, before boasting that during his interview, he could not solve any of the tasks he was given.

He added that he was not required to take the mandatory exam in computer science, unlike his fellow candidates, due to his special status.

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The university were keen to dissuade the student who was so evidently unsuited to the demands of their curriculum but Dmitry said he was undeterred.

“[A separate quota] was given to me because my father participated in the SVO for one year and was wounded there,” he said.

“They began to dissuade me harshly. They say I won’t pull it. They asked: ‘Do you understand where you are going?’ I explained to them that since I can enter here, I want to go here for sure.”

Dmitry was one of more than 200 people uncovered by Russian investigative outlet “Important Stories” to have been admitted without any concern for his USEs.

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A further 429 students with fathers that survived participation in the war in Ukraine were admitted “without even gaining a passing score”, “Important Stories” reported.

Of those that qualified for special status but were still required to take the USE, 69 percent “passed the exams worse than necessary for admission without benefits”.

Special status students will study a range of topics from history to television journalism, with some even securing places to become doctors despite their poor educational levels.

The number of students that were admitted to all Russian universities, not just the top 15 establishments, using the “separate quota” totalled more than 7,000, according to the Ministry of Education and Science.

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