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History of Moscow Military Institute
On February 01, 1940 by a decree of the Soviet Government a Military School at
a civilian Moscow State Education Institute of Foreign Languages #2 was
established. Although the School was part of the Institute, it received the
status of an independent educational institution. Major-General Biazi N.N. was
appointed School Commander. The School was set to teach Western Languages.
In July of 1940 another Military School was established, this time at a
different civilian educational institution - Moscow Institute of Oriental
Studies. That one was set to teach eastern languages. Colonel Stepanov became
Under the imminent threat of military action of World War II coming
close to Moscow, both the Military School of Western Languages and the Military
School of Eastern Languages were evacuated. The first moved to the City of
Kuibyshev Region, the second to the City of Fergana (currently in the Republic
Wartime conditions required that a single institution train military
interpreters and translators. To meet the requirement a Military Institute of
Foreign Languages of the Red Army was established by a decree of the USSR
People's Commissar for Defense (Defense Secretary) on April 12, 1942. The
School of Western Languages and the School of Eastern Languages were merged to
create the Institute. Maj-Gen. Biazi played a leading role in managing the
merger and Institute foundation. He was appointed Institute Commander.
In the fall of 1943 the Institute was relocated back to Moscow and in
the spring of 1944 it moved into a new
campus in Volochaevskaia Street. The Institute was housed in the
barracks of a historic Astrakhan Regiment that became known during the pre-revolutionary period of Russian
history by its participation in major military acts. On May 01, 1944 the
Institute received its combat banner, which finalized its creation as separate
The graduates of the Schools-predecessors of the Institute, and of the
Institute itself contributed to the victory of the Allied Forces in World War
II. All in all during 1941-1945 around 4,500 individuals graduated from the
Institute, and over 2,600 graduates received combat awards for their part in
During the post-war years the Institute was continuously expanding. In
the early 1950s it had 9 schools and 23 departments. Prominent scholars and
scientists in the area of foreign languages and foreign studies worked with the
Institute during those years, including Messrs. V.M. Alekseev, V.V. Vinogradov,
I.P. Meshchaninov, V.V. Struve, N.K. Dmitriev, N.I. Konrad, I.F. Yakovlev.
In the late 1950s the then Soviet leader N.S. Khrushchev decided that
the Institute was redundant for the Armed Forces of the USSR. His other
decisions that led to the cutbacks in the Soviet Armed Forces (such as the one
to destroy a certain number of strategic missiles and large combat ships) were
unsubstantiated and impulsive, and were taken without heed of military experts
or army top brass. In the wake of sweeping and random army cutbacks the
Institute was disbanded in 1956.
This decision was ill-fated and was reversed in 1958, when a Military
School of Foreign Languages was reestablished in Moscow. Then, on May 23, 1963,
the Military Institute of Foreign Languages was officially reincorporated on
the basis of that School by a decree of the Soviet Government. Colonel-General
A.M. Andreev was appointed Commander of the Institute.
There is an opinion among historians that the Institute could never
fully recover from the destruction it sustained in 1956 and restore its prowess
and educational level compared to the pre-1956 period. One fact to prove it is
that a significant number of the scholars and foreign language specialists
never returned to the resurrected School. On the other hand, there is also an
opinion that though the Institute was not able to garner the image and the
reputation of the old school, it was able to match and even surpass the level
of teaching and research of the old entity.
The 1960s and 1970s marked another period of the Institute's expansion.
The number of faculty grew, as did the enrollment. A new building was
commissioned in the early 70s. It housed the cadets' cafeteria, classrooms,
faculty offices, gyms, and research labs. A.A. Grechko, who served as Defense
Secretary during those years, is credited with initiating and managing the modernization
of the Institute. He is also believed to have been at the heart of the decision
to start admitting female recruits to the Department of Western Languages. It
was an unprecedented, however predictable, event for the Soviet Armed Forces of
those times. The admittance of female cadets started in September of 1973.
The Institute never became a co-ed one though. Female cadets attended
classes separately from male cadets, and their curricula were always different.
The webmaster stands witness to the fact that the attempts to conduct co-ed
classes were made. He was student of the English-Greek section of the
Department of Western Languages in 1980-1985. During his five years at the
Institute his section had all in all about 50 class sessions together with a
sister English-Italian section of female cadets, mostly during the junior,
senior and fifth year of studies.
Female cadets have not been known to major in Eastern Languages,
although there were some sections that minored in those languages. Until 1983
female cadet sections and companies were part of the School of Western
Languages, and in 1983 a separate School for female cadets was established. The
curriculum for the School was changed in 1983 from Foreign Languages to
One other major event of the 1970s was the inclusion of Military Law
School into the Institute in 1974. That entailed renaming the school Military
Institute of Defense Ministry. In 1980 the Institute was awarded Order of
Combat Red Banner, which was considered great honor in the Soviet Union.
Many of the Institute's graduates of the 1970s and 1980s served abroad.
Some of them served in the countries that were receiving military aid from the
USSR. Others were stationed at what was considered locations of local and
regional armed conflicts. Irrespective of the ideological beliefs of the
leadership of the countries, political parties, or military forces involved in
conflicts, the Institute graduates were known to have always fulfilled their
duty of honor. A few of them died or were wounded in their line of duty while
stationed abroad. A considerable number of the Institute graduates received
combat awards of the USSR and other countries.
After the start of the disintegration of the Soviet Union (which is thought
to be a process that started in the late 1980s and continues up to now, rather
than an event) Russia together with a lion share of the USSR Armed Forces and
its materiel inherited the Institute. The Armed Forces were cut in an attempt
to bring their strength to a reasonable level. The educational establishments
once established to train officers for the USSR were no longer needed in the
shape they existed before. All military colleges and post-graduate schools were
therefore merged, consolidated or streamlined.
In the wake of these mergers and consolidations the Military Institute
was merged with the Finance School of the Military Finance Academy (academy is
a name for military post-graduate school in Russia) on November 30, 1992. The
new entity was named Military Academy of Economics, Finance and Law. The
process of mergers and consolidations of the military educational
establishments in Russia continued, and on February 6, 1995, the Military
Academy of Economics, Finance and Law was merged with the Humanitarian Academy
of the Russian Armed Forces (formerly known as Military Political Academy). The
new entity was named Military University.
During 2000-2003 the University had 12 schools and 40 academic
departments, employing around 600 faculty, of which around 340 had
doctorate degrees, and around 300 staff and service personnel.
© Art Shvetsov