Victor Sadovnichy

Born April 3, 1939 in Krasnopavlovka, Kharkov Region.
Graduated from the Moscow State University Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics in 1963 with a degree in Mathematics.
A Doctor of Physics and Mathematics since 1974, professor (1975).
The Deputy First Vice-Rector (1980-1982).
The First Vice-Rector (1984-1992).
Elected Rector by the MSU Council of Academic Councils (1992).
Designated Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University (2009).
Most prominent awards, orders, and medals:
- Order of Alexander Nevsky (2014),
- Order for Service to the Fatherland (1999, 2005, 2009),
- Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1980, 1986),
- The USSR State Award (1989),
- The State Prize of the Russian Federation (2001),
- Honorary Citizen of Moscow (2008),
- Lomonosovskaya award (1973),
- The title “Star of Moscow University” (2005).
From challenges to collaboration

The future Rector had spent his youth working in mine industry, where he strengthened his character and acquired some important skills serving him right in his administrative work. In 90-s Russia faced many dramatic changes in various spheres of life, and hence in the educational system. Victor Sadovnichy was ready to take responsibility for the University in this challenging situation when the endless reforms continued. 

His first actions aimed at preserving the University in such a complicated period and ensuring that the University overcomes it. The challenges included: to work out the new University’s regulations, to supply people, retain the University’s assets and advance science in the University, and obtain academic autonomy. Although autonomy may imply the images of science as an ivory tower, when granted in full extent, it serves to the benefit of society and education. Academic autonomy comprises at lest four types: scientific, educational, administrative and financial. While the latter two are relative, the first two are of utmost importance. V. Sadovnichy had always tried to sustain autonomy of the University and to find the balance between the necessary reaction to changes and the needs of the University. This balance is, however, very difficult to keep and, it is highly unstable. 

The New University Regulations conforming to the governmental changes and novel targets of University education were enacted in 1993. The Regulations are constantly amended and improved to meet the requirements of the coming years. The final working version was approved in 2008. 

In 2009 a national law №259 was adopted, according to which Moscow University acquired a special status. This law granted the University a possibility to define its educational standards being higher and more specific than the ones accepted throughout the country.  

In 2013 the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin headed the Board of Trustees of the University. Being led by Victor Sadovnichy, the University has obtained a lot and succeeded in many fields. Not only it is striving to progress in this way, by also to pave the way for everyone who needs it – to encourage by its own paragon, to supply with the staff, to assist with the curriculum, with equipment or advice.

Keeping pace with time

The major idea was and still is that Moscow State University should constantly develop to provide the best education possible and to sustain the world-class level of science. The intellectual potential is a vital element of governmental strength, therefore the MSU graduates of the highest caliber and potential are in high demand to ensure the development and well-being of the country. 

The importance of combining a basic and multidisciplinary approach in teaching and doing research was recognized and conferred in innovative courses, projects and faculties. To manifest the importance of novel ideas Lomonosovskaya award was established (1992). It is granted annually for exceptional achievements in education. To support the young researches Shuvalovskaya award (1993) for prominent advances in science was created. 

Coming into the vibrant 21 century the University expanded and extended the arrears of scientific endeavour. The coming decades of his office brought more then 20 new faculties, 150 revolutionary new departments, specialties, forms of teaching and organizing research. 

The University has reestablished the Medical Faculty that separated from it nearly a century ago and gave rise to an independent institution. Together with the Medical Research and Educational Centre (2014) they provide opportunities for professional development of doctors in contemporary scientific and interdisciplinary fields. 

During Sadovnichy’s office the University has attained a lot, maintaining its status of the leading higher educational centre. It takes the prominent position in high-throughput computing and high-performance computing having a state-of-the-art Supercomputer complex with no analogues in Russia. More than 600 research groups collaborate with MSU and exploit the complex to the benefit of science. This complex is used in pharmaceutical studies, testing new drugs and modeling very complicated physiological processes. With the help of this complex, the University performs calculations for its own space programme, launches its own satellites and carries out space investigations. 

The University has a long-standing interest and experience in studying objects of the Universe. It all started with the equipment on the second satellite launched in 1957 in USSR. To celebrate its 250 anniversary the University sent its own satellite named “University-Tatiana” (2005) on a mission. This sputnik was the first in the long list of space exploration of the University. And the latest satellite “Lomonosov” escaping the Earth gravity in 2016 is a highly equipped space laboratory. 

One of the latest faculties organized is the Faculty of Space Studies that is going to teach specialists in exploration of space including experimental medicine and biology on board. The graduates of the faculty will be prepared to take part in working out new equipment, study various conditions in space and investigate the condition of null gravity as well as various phenomena waiting to be revealed.

Innovation and tradition

The concept of the New Territory was developed and put into practice: the first stone for a new building was placed in 1993 and to celebrate the 250 jubilee an opening ceremony for the New Building of the Fundamental Library was held. Nowadays this is one of the most ambitious University’s projects – the scientific and technological valley. It is planned to be a multifunctional and interdisciplinary cluster with the best possible facilities provided. It will unite groups from various fields of knowledge: biology, medicine, physics, soil, and materials studies. The new territory will feature new laboratories, centres, depositories, museums and halls. It will be an open space for communication as well.

One of the greatest achievements of the Rector's policy is a chain of University’s branches founded in several foreign countries of the former Soviet Union.

Many changes in cultural policy were brought into practice. The Cultural centre of the University flourishes giving students an opportunity to enroll on a variety of courses ranging from piano classes to contemporary dances. The series of concerts “By invitation of the Rector…” that featured many prominent performers and word-known bands. Denis Matsuev, Valery Gergiev, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow and many others visited the University and performed for the staff and students. 

The University’s holiday Tatiana Day was proclaimed to be the 'day of students' in Russia. 

“Festival of Science” is another successful project that was originally launched by the University in 2006 but spread to the whole country. It demonstrates achievements of science and technology in a way it is interesting and engaging for all ages. It unites the educators of the highest caliber to present state-of-the-art in a vide rage of disciplines. 

The University has always provided the best exemplars of professional, social and cultural development. To foster its effectiveness and balance its potential with the challenges the time poses, “Programme of development up to 2020” was established in 2010. Financially supported by the Russian Government and supervised by the Board of Trustees, it aims at developing of the University in a wide range of spheres:

Top-Class Academic Standards 

New Facilities for Education and Research

Innovation and Competitiveness 

World-Class Research 

Collaboration with Centres in the Country and abroad

Faculty Excellence 

The Programme ensures that MSU can deliver teaching and research of the top quality now and continue to do this in future. It underpins our mission to advance education and build the ‘University of the Future’ keeping up with the highest standards possible.


А. Sharapkova, E. Ilchenko,  О. Grigorieva 

Published: 30/3/2017