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Source: State University Higher School of Economics – State University “Higher School of Economics” –

Maria Vinogradova at the II All-Russian Arctic Youth Forum

Photo: Maria Vinogradova / VKontakte

First-year student of the bachelor’s program “State and municipal administration» HSE Maria Vinogradova is passionate about the Arctic. Despite her young age, she has already managed to take part in organizing two Arctic forums and creating the Arctic youth movement “Icebreaker”. In an interview with HSE.Glavnoe, Maria explained what skills are needed to conquer the Arctic and how studying at HSE helps develop them.

Case Championship

Before entering the National Research University Higher School of Economics, I lived in St. Petersburg. The Arctic was not present in my life at all, except for communication with one family friend, an honorary polar explorer, and one distant relative, a famous extreme traveler. I became interested in the Arctic thanks to All-Russian Case Championship in Economics and Entrepreneurship, which HSE conducts for high school students.

In 2022, when I was in the 11th grade, together with two colleagues we presented at the case championship the ArkTech project – a strategy for a youth space that will form and develop human resources to solve the problems of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. They proposed creating a social movement that would unite young people who are not indifferent to the Arctic. And our team was among the winners.

As far as I know, not all ideas proposed by participants in such intellectual competitions can be implemented in practice. Our project was one of the few exceptions.

First Forum and “Icebreaker”

After the victory, I began to interact with the St. Petersburg Committee for Arctic Affairs, and I was included in the team that was preparing and holding the 1st Arctic Youth Forum “The Arctic: New Generation”. It consisted mainly of students from St. Petersburg universities, where they train in specialties in demand in the Arctic, and I was the youngest among them.

The forum took place in April 2023, about 500 people took part in it, about 50 reports on Arctic issues were presented, including my report, which I delivered at the plenary session. There was a lot of organizational work, I participated in press conferences, was a speaker on the radio, and at the end of the forum I received a letter of gratitude from the Governor of St. Petersburg, Alexander Beglov.

At the forum, a resolution was signed on the creation of the Arctic youth movement “Icebreaker”, the main task of which is to interest young people in the Arctic and promote its study and development. I am still working on this project today.


As a schoolgirl, I participated not only in the All-Russian Case Championship, but also in many other projects and events conducted by the Higher School of Economics. Many of my friends studied there and talked about the opportunities this university offered.

I knew for sure that I wanted to enter HSE and get a management education, but I hesitated between the programs “State and Municipal Administration” and “Business management” I made the final decision in favor of “State and Municipal Management” shortly before enrolling, when I was preparing the first Arctic forum and had a lot of conversations with officials. This direction covers my interests to a greater extent, and here I study the most subjects that will be useful to me in life.

Winning the case championship gives me the opportunity to study in a number of specialized educational programs at HSE at the expense of the university, and I took advantage of this bonus.

Practice and networking

Already in the first modules of my first academic year, I realized that I was not mistaken in choosing a university and educational program.

The first thing worth noting is practice-orientation, the importance of which is talked about so much.

We are taught by people who know the system of government from the inside. For example, Associate Professor of the Department of Politics and Management Vladimir Nikolaevich Prokofiev taught the course “Legal Foundations of State and Municipal Administration,” I asked him many practical questions, and in the further implementation of my Arctic project, his answers helped to avoid many mistakes.

The second feature of HSE is the enormous opportunities for networking.

I became a participant in the GosVyshka platform – I participated in meetings with the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, First Deputy General Director of Rosatom Alexander Lokshin, and Governor of the Kamchatka Territory Vladimir Solodov. At one of these meetings I made useful contacts, which later helped me in establishing contacts with the media. I do not exclude that over time there will be other effects.

The main thing that HSE teaches is to understand complex problems and solve complex problems in a short period of time. In my opinion, it is those people who fully master this skill who solve such problems most effectively and succeed in their professional development.

Second forum

In March 2024, the II All-Russian Arctic Youth Forum took place. Young people not only from St. Petersburg, but also from many other regions took part in it. Kronstadt was chosen as the venue – the starting point for many travelers who explored the Arctic over the years. The co-organizer was the “Island of Forts” project, led by Ksenia Shoigu, and the Russian Geographical Society as a partner.

This time I took on much more functions and responsibilities. She was responsible for interaction with the media – film crews from TV channels were invited to the forum, news about it was published on various media resources and on government websites. I was involved in the design – banners, badges, merch, etc., and, it seems to me, everything looked beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. And for the first time, I chaired a plenary session myself – I sat on the presidium, and there were 500 people in the hall in front of me.

When you come to such events as a participant or guest, it seems that all processes happen on their own. But in fact, behind each of them there is a huge amount of work. We need to figure out who will travel and how (bringing participants to Kronstadt is not an easy task), who will communicate with whom, and so on. I was writing a technical rider for the plenary session – a huge document that defines the procedure for each technical specialist. In the code words that I spoke, commands were encrypted for them.

I can consider this forum my personal victory. What we were just starting to achieve last year was almost completely implemented.

Work and study

While working on the forum, I didn’t forget about my studies—everything at HSE is organized in such a way that it’s impossible to forget about it. I spent half my life in Moscow, half in St. Petersburg, and my classmates looked at this with some surprise. Immediately after the forum ended, I sat down to study probability theory and mathematical statistics, returned to Moscow on the night train and went to classes.

For me, combining study and work is normal and necessary, although not easy. One complements the other: the knowledge and skills that I acquired at HSE over the past year help in my Arctic project, and practical experience, in turn, makes my studies more meaningful and shapes my goal-setting.

I had my first professional test at the age of 12 – I worked as a manager in a store, and when I was in the 10th grade, I joined the team of a startup created by a HSE student. He saw management potential in me, and from an ordinary operations manager, I grew up in this startup to an operations director, learned to manage a team that included about thirty people, including IT specialists, marketers and others.

Another component of the life of a schoolchild and student is participation in olympiads and project competitions. And this is not only about the possibility of non-competitive admission, although my example shows that this is also important. Any intellectual competition requires decisions and actions from you in conditions of limited resources – temporary, sometimes material, and if the competition is a team one, then joint decisions and actions. You cannot do without these skills in adult life.

This year I participated, for example, in the Olympics “Major League“- for now it’s just out of sporting interest, but in senior years, if you manage to take a prize, this will help you enroll in a master’s program.

Future plans

My plans for the coming year include promoting the Arctic youth movement “Icebreaker” at HSE. The state Arctic agenda is relevant and in demand, our university does not stand aside (for example, the National Laboratory of Social and Humanitarian Studies of the North and the Arctic specializes in this topic), and I am sure that there will be students who will be interested in our movement.

I will do my internship at the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic – I have already agreed on this with the Department for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and the Implementation of Infrastructure Projects. I hope this will be the first step in my career as a civil servant – I would like to work in my specialty and work in the Arctic in the future. Although I don’t rule out working for large companies specializing in this region.

In the summer after the session, I plan to visit, of course, the Arctic – together with my colleagues in the Icebreaker youth movement, we have planned a trip to Spitsbergen.

Note; This information is raw content directly from the source of the information. This is exactly what the source states and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

Please note; This information is raw content directly from the information source. It is accurate to what the source is stating and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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