First, some information: Synergy University (Moscow Financial and Industrial University Synergy) is a Russian private higher education institution founded in 1995 in Moscow.
And now some advertising: in 2021, the educational process was conducted at 24 faculties in 91 master’s programs, 198 bachelor’s programs, and more than 500 professional retraining and advanced training programs. There is a college at the university, in which, as of 2021, the educational process was conducted according to 35 programs of secondary vocational education.
According to official data, in the 2020-2021 academic year, 76,594 students were studying at the university, of which 35,594 people were studying in higher and secondary vocational education programs, more than 14,000 people in vocational training programs, and more than 18 thousand in advanced training programs , according to professional retraining programs – 9 thousand people.
In 2021, students from 89 countries studied at the university, of which 75 are non-CIS countries and 14 are countries of the former USSR. The university has agreements on academic cooperation, academic exchange and double degree programs with 63 foreign universities in the UK, USA, China, India, UK, USA, Turkey, Serbia, Malaysia.
Tempting? Handsomely? But do not rush to send children there to study. Because the reality is completely different. And, first of all, it is worth asking the students and graduates of this university. Here is the Feedback site. Reviews about Synergy University begin almost from the moment of its foundation. Here is the very first one:
“Academy for those who do not want to study.”
And here is the latest one:
“Run, run away from here before it’s too late!” And the vast majority of reviews are negative. They are in the public domain, you can find them here. Also, check out other review sites.
Why does a university that advertises itself so “international” and has a huge number of students (more than even Moscow State University, where 38,000 students study), have such unflattering reviews about their work?
Everything is really simple. Part of the answer is given by its students and graduates – this is a private shop for those who want to legally buy a diploma. By the way, these people are the authors of some of the flattering reviews about the university. The rest of the positive feedback is the work of bots hired specifically for this task by the owners of the university.
Who is the owner of this “university”? There are three of them – Yuri Borisovich Rubin, Vadim Georgievich Lobov and Artem Igorevich Vasiliev. It is in this trinity that the secret of the success of the Synergy University lies. Because it is these people who have successfully ridden the wave of patriotism and brazenly and stupidly milk the budget, directing millions of dollars from it to the strange projects of their offspring, which have very little connection with the provision of education.
If propaganda methods were taught at the university, then all these events would make sense. But they teach here, first of all, “economics, business, information technology, banking” and so on. In general, the set of professions that Synergy offers students is rather strange:
How does Synergy earn the main money, or rather, its owners? And all sorts of patriotic actions. In 2016, the university acted as the organizer of the military-historical reconstruction “Brusilovsky breakthrough” in Kubinka near Moscow in honor of the 100th anniversary of the military operation during the First World War, in 2017 in the same place – the reconstruction “Storming of Berlin”, and in 2018 – the reconstruction “The Capture of Paris ”, dedicated to the final stage of the conflict of 1812.
Someone can say that students have always been creative people and have always held similar and other cultural events. The same KVN, for example. This would be fair if citizens Lobov, Rubin and Vasiliev did not receive huge budget subsidies for all these actions. And even if some of these subsidies did not end up in their pockets, the question still remains open – it is not clear how this improves the quality of education. Moreover, about 95% of students are part-time students. Who pay for their education, recall. And it is highly doubtful that they, out of idleness during the sessions, carry out all sorts of “assaults on Berlin” and “capture of Paris”.
Let’s get back to money. According to blogger Alexander Gorbunov, in 2020 the university received more than one billion rubles from the state budget for its projects. This information is not an idle fiction of a blogger for the sake of hype and the number of views – the same figures were named by Rambler, Kommersant, TASS and Delovoy Kvartal.
This is not the only source of income. As students have repeatedly reported, all online exams are configured in such a way that it is impossible to pass them without paying money. And, on the contrary, having paid for an exam or a test, you can pass it without knowing the subject at all:
In addition, everyone is admitted to this “university”, for this you don’t even need to take the EGE. Journalists report a conversation about admission with the manager of the admissions office, in which he says: “So, look: you don’t have to do anything at all. Basically, you don’t have to do anything. Dealing with money, you’re going home, that’s it. No tests, no exams. You are guaranteed to do it.” Journalists say that a similar scheme is used to legalize illegal migrants.
Remember the number of students and estimate approximately how much is dripping into the cashier. And clearly more is taken from illegal migrants than from ordinary Russians, not to mention the fact that such actions are clearly in conflict with the law.
Synergy also organizes so-called business forums, participation in which costs a lot of money. Synergy holds about 20 business forums a year in Russia, Kazakhstan and even New York. To which he invites foreign “business coaches”, which also cost money. Let’s take the following as an example. One of the forums was held in the Olimpiysky business center, with American Tony Robins as the coach. The forum was attended by 26,000 participants. The minimum ticket cost 27 thousand rubles. The maximum is 500 thousand. Here’s the income.
Especially considering that Tony Robins is a “coach” who teaches everything except business. According to the participants themselves, this “training” was reminiscent of a meeting of Adventists, and not, in fact, a business training: the participants collectively sang, danced and told some nonsense from the stage. However, the “coach” received a million dollars for his performance. This is how money is made – fake diplomas, pumping out budget money for propaganda activities, legalization of illegal migrants and strange “business trainings”. By the way, even Mike Tyson is among the “business coaches”. What he trains – one can only guess.
Who are Lobov, Rubin and Vasiliev?
Vadim Lobov was born in the city of Azov, Rostov Region, in 1979. Candidate of Economic Sciences, Associate Professor. Graduate of the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics with honors. In 2004 he defended his dissertation on the topic “Entrepreneurial activity of a higher educational institution in the Russian education system”. After graduating from the university, he did a research internship in the USA.
In 2001, in partnership with Yuri Rubin, he founded the private university Synergy.
Yuri Borisovich Rubin is a Soviet and Russian economist, one of the founders of the new functional theory of entrepreneurship. Rubin is a member of the Russian Union of Rectors, is the Chairman of the Public Council for Quality Assurance in Higher Education and Deputy Chairman of the Expert Council on Accessibility and Quality of Education under the State Duma Committee on Education, in 2004-2013. was a member of the Accreditation Board of the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science. He is a member of the Expert Council under the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia for the development of competition in education and science
Artem Vasiliev is the first vice-rector of the Synergy University. Associate Professor of the Department of Financial Market and Currency Relations at Synergy University. Former Executive Director of the Moscow Academy of Entrepreneurship under the Government of Moscow. Rosobrnadzor expert.
This is, so to speak, a general characteristic. But at what point did these people converge on one point and decide to engage in such a profitable business? There is one common denominator – they are all involved in the system of power: Rosobrnazor, the State Duma and state bodies in charge of education in Russia.
Vadim Lobov started in the State Duma in the 90s, though not as a deputy, but as an employee of the LDPR faction. Lobov did not get in touch with the LDPR for a long time and began to build relationships with the team of Vladislav Surkov, then curator of the Kremlin’s domestic political bloc. He met the closest associate of the founder of the Nashi movement, Vasily Yakemenko, Sergei Belokonev, and thanks to this, he briefly became an official. When in 2012 Belokonev headed the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, he appointed Lobov the head of one of the important departments – Rospatriottsentr. Then there was United Russia and all its near-patriotic projects: Nashi, Seliger, and so on. Lobov also managed to visit Right Russia, where he was listed as an assistant to the vice-speaker from A Just Russia, Olga Epifanova. Then he made friends with Sobyanin, with whom Avetov is also friendly:
However, this has been repeatedly described in the press, so we simply give a brief reminder of the secret of the success of the Lobov-Avetov-Rubin team. It is actually simple – to find a patron in the highest authority and with his help sit down on a project for which a lot of money has been allocated.
Which has been successful so far. But a couple of years ago, this activity began to stall – either the Russian authorities began to run out of money for such things, or they became preoccupied with the monstrous inefficiency of spending them, or the trinity played too much.
The reason is not completely clear, but, for example, in April 2021, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Investigative Committee for the Arkhangelsk Region and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug submitted a submission to Rosobrnadzor regarding Synergy. During the audit, law enforcement officers established that the General Director of the “Severodvinsk Center for Personnel Training” E.V. works. Interested students handed over their logins and passwords, all tests and exams were solved for them, papers were written. The cost of this service varied from 30 to 50 thousand rubles per academic year.
And in 2019, the accounts of at least four companies of Synergy rector Vadim Lobov were blocked. The amount of Synergy’s debt to the budget is unknown, but The Bell found enforcement orders for at least 27.3 million rubles.
Three main legal entities, on whose behalf Synergy conducts its forums, fell under the blocking: “Synergy School of Business” (forum “Territory of Business” and MBA programs), “Business Education” (in particular, hosts Synergy Global), and “Business Forums”. Most of the blocking fell on accounts in Sberbank.
Although Synergy denied all this, Lobov and his business partner Grigory Avetov sold the main legal entity of the business school, which sells MBA programs and organizes Synergy seminars. The mysterious Guatemalan citizen Mariano Guerrera became the new owner.
However, after the arrest of accounts and the sale of the business, Synergy suddenly received budget money – the university won the competition of the Ministry of Economics to promote entrepreneurship. The size of the state order, the largest in the history of the university, amounted to 1.1 billion rubles. In total, 2.7 billion rubles will be allocated to promote entrepreneurship until 2024, follows from the program passport. Among other things, within the framework of the project, by 2024, almost 4,000 “business coaches” should appear throughout Russia. True, in connection with recent events, Synergy is unlikely to receive all this money.
Who helped get out of the debt loop is unknown, but, for example, since 2013, Sergey Rukavishnikov, the former deputy dean of the Faculty of Law at Synergy, has been responsible for checking private universities in Rosobrnadzor.
However, it is unlikely that Synergy will continue to flourish – in addition to the fact that the work of the university causes dissatisfaction among some of the leadership of Rosobrnadzor and the Ministry of Education and Science, in the light of recent events, the leaders of the “University” will clearly cut off the admission of foreign students. But this is not the most important thing – the budget of the Russian Federation will simply not be able to throw Russians’ money so insanely at the dubious projects of clever businessmen from education, as it was before. And, besides, it is quite possible that the Investigative Committee will more actively take up the study of the issue – where did the previous ones go. So the most interesting movie seems to be ahead.
Well, whether to study at this “university” or not – choose for yourself. But it is better to choose a vocational school – there, at least, they will teach at least something.