In Soviet times, “national personnel” meant specialists and future specialists who are not related to the Russian people, as well as to the Russified or Russified groups of the population of the Soviet Union. For example, a person of non-Russian origin born in Moscow or Voronezh who grew up in a Russian environment was not considered a “national cadre”. The national cadres in abundance supplied the union republics and autonomous republics, territories, regions and districts as part of the union republics. The goal of the national personnel training program was good and seemed to fit into the state ideology — to form in the national regions of the USSR a stratum of party and state employees, educators, health care, engineering and technical personnel who could ensure the viability of republican economies, and most importantly would be a conductor Soviet ideology among their fellow tribesmen.
In the Russian Empire, the “Russian” and “native” worlds were practically broken. Of course, many Germans, Poles, Armenians, Georgians and even Azerbaijanis made a career, especially military, in the Russian Empire, but the overwhelming majority of the representatives of the peoples of Central Asia, the North Caucasus, Transcaucasia practically did not speak Russian and led a traditional way of life for them. Russian culture was spread among individual representatives of these peoples. Moreover, in the Volga region there were whole Tatar, Mari, Mordovian, Udmurt, Chuvash villages, where rare units of local residents spoke Russian.
The October Revolution opened up new development horizons for Russia. One of the important areas was the economic and cultural development of the former "national outskirts" of the Russian Empire. To accomplish this task without the training of national personnel was not possible. One of the first resolutions of the People's Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR in 1918 was the decrees “On the schools of national minorities” and “On the organization of the education of national minorities of the RSFSR”. September 28 1918 was confirmed the right of all peoples of Russia to receive education in their national languages. 29 September 1918 was created by the National Minority Education Department as part of the People's Commissariat of Education. The process of creating bodies responsible for the education of national minorities of the RSFSR at the provincial level has begun. In 1919, an editorial board was organized to create national literature and alphabets of peoples who did not have a written language before.
Today, many nationalist leaders of small nations, arguing about the oppression of national minorities that allegedly took place in Russia and the USSR, forget that the writing and literature of most of the small peoples of Siberia, the Far East, the Urals, the Volga region, and the North Caucasus time and administrative methods, through the adoption of appropriate decisions at the highest level. Specialists - philologists from Moscow and Leningrad were involved in the work on the creation of national alphabets, the "promotion" of national poets and writers, and the state provided generous funding for national literatures and cinema. In the Union and autonomous republics, national languages were taught in high school. Nationalists argue that the volume of teaching of national languages was insignificant, forgetting that before the revolution they were not taught at all, most of the peoples did not have written language, there was no own teaching staff.
The lightning leap in the direction of raising the cultural and educational level of the peoples of the USSR was made as early as 1920-1930-s, while the formation of a modern education system in a number of Union republics faced a powerful opposition from the conservative-minded part of the local population. It was especially hard for builders of Soviet education in Central Asia. Here the Basmachi mercilessly dealt not only with Soviet party activists, but also with school teachers, even students, especially girls, who, contrary to tradition, went to study. And yet the progress has been very tangible. After all, before the revolution, the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, a number of regions of the Transcaucasus and the North Caucasus were illiterate. The Soviet authorities succeeded in drastically correcting the situation - by the 1930 years. the school system covered the entire population of the Soviet Union.
The next step was the integration of the population of the national republics into the all-union system of vocational education. This was justified by both economic and political objectives. From an economic point of view, the need for training national personnel was explained by the development of industry and agriculture in the republics, including in those regions where there was practically no industrial infrastructure (most of Central Asia and Kazakhstan, some regions of Transcaucasia, the North Caucasus, Ukraine). In the Union and autonomous republics, higher and secondary vocational schools opened - vocational schools, technical schools, institutes, military schools, and universities. It has become common practice to send young people from Central Asia and Kazakhstan, the Transcaucasus, the North Caucasus to vocational educational institutions of the RSFSR and a number of other republics. Nevertheless, until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economies of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, and Transcaucasia experienced a serious shortage of local skilled workers of practically all specialties, especially engineering and technical personnel.
Workers from the RSFSR, Ukraine and Belarus, who made a huge contribution to the development of the industry of national regions, were sent to the national republics. Pedagogical personnel was also distributed in the republics to provide teachers for urban and even rural schools in the national republics and districts. The program of training national personnel in working specialties yielded results by the middle of the 1930s. So, only from 1927 to 1936. the proportion of Kazakhs in the overall composition of workers and employees in Kazakhstan’s industry increased from 17,7 to 43%. But in the field of training specialists with higher professional education, everything was much more complicated. Without special problems only humanities specialties were trained, first of all - teachers and teachers of national languages, literature, stories. It was they who constituted the most ideological basis of the national intelligentsia, who later acted as agents of anti-Soviet and centrifugal sentiments (but more on that later).
Already in the 1960-e - 1970-s, the system of training national personnel in the Soviet Union began to take on ugly forms. This was due to the fact that the pursuit of quantitative indicators in the training of specialists from the republics began to crowd out the desire to ensure the quality of education. For national staff, they sought to provide special conditions for admission to universities and technical schools, which allowed even poorly prepared school leavers to pass through quotas, leaving “outside the doors” of educational institutions to much more well-prepared peers who did not fall under the quota system.
In the schools themselves, the administration and teachers were forced to drag unprepared students, providing them with satisfactory grades. Such a situation gave applicants from national republics a sense of permissiveness, they understood that even if they did not do it at all, they would be tried to “draw out” them to satisfactory grades and allow them to graduate from a higher educational institution or a technical school. Bribery and the use of connections in the party and state apparatus began to spread. Of course, some Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian students gave bribes, used connections, but national cadres from the Caucasian and Central Asian republics were covered by corruption to a much greater degree.
The same training system operated in respect of personnel arriving in the Soviet Union from the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. But if, for example, Cuban students were really motivated to study (it was not by chance that Cuba had one of the best health care systems in the world), then students from many pro-Soviet African and Arab countries studied very mediocrely, showing more interest in entertainment, party than to study. At the same time, since they came to the USSR on the "vouchers" of their communist or people's parties and governments, it was almost impossible to drive them out for academic failure. For the deduction and shipment to the homeland, very weighty reasons were required. For example, Ilyich Ramirez Sánchez, the future "Carlos the Jackal", in 1969 was expelled from the University of Friendship of Peoples. Patrice Lumumba at the request of the Communist Party of Venezuela, from whose youth wing he was expelled a little earlier. If Sanchez had not spoiled relations with the leadership of the Venezuelan Komsomol, then none of the UDN, of course, would not rule out.
One cannot deny the tremendous importance of training national cadres with regard to the economic and cultural development of the national republics of the USSR. Thanks to this system, in most of the national regions of the USSR, its own intelligentsia was formed, the level of education of the local population significantly increased. However, there were also obvious shortcomings of this system, the causes of which were rooted in the peculiarities of the Soviet national policy.
1. The quota system has led to the rooting of the vicious practice of admission to higher education institutions not by abilities, but by nationality. As a result, applicants who did not belong to those nationalities for which quotas were allocated were discriminated. Capable applicants could not enroll in universities, while national cadres who were unprepared to study at universities received preferences and without problems even entered the most prestigious educational institutions.
2. “Special conditions” for students from national regions entailed a decrease in motivation to study, a level of academic performance, material assimilation, and also contributed to the spread of corruption and nepotism in higher and secondary vocational schools. This circumstance caused harm to the national republics themselves, since non-professional cadres who were not capable of independent work and had not mastered their specialties in the appropriate volume returned from universities and institutes.
3. Focusing on national identity, on the problems of national cultures gave a powerful impetus to the development and spread of nationalist sentiments in the Union and autonomous republics. As a result, the opposite effect to the planned effect was achieved - the national intelligentsia became not a conductor of Soviet / Russian influence, but a generator of separatist, nationalist and Russophobic attitudes. Which is understandable, because from a young age, the future color of the national intelligentsia was inspired by their superiority, a complex of national exclusivity was formed.
4. The low level of training of national personnel, due precisely to the quota system and special conditions, has led to the fact that the dependence of national republics on Russian / Russian-speaking personnel in engineering and technical fields has not been eliminated in healthcare. This problem was most clearly manifested after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the Russian and Russian-speaking population began to leave the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus in droves.
At present, the Russian education system partly maintains the tendency of “patronage” and “special treatment” towards the national cadres that had been formed in Soviet times. A good example is finishing schools with 100-scores on the Unified State Exam, students from certain national republics, who then, while studying at the university, demonstrate almost complete ignorance of even the school curriculum. Survivors of the system of support of national personnel today create significant obstacles to the development of the education system, act as a serious brake on improving the quality of education in Russian universities, provide fertile ground for corruption and various abuses.