Vodka ironic, please

June 2, 2016

Craig Brandist (“The risks of Soviet-style managerialism in UK universities”, Opinion, 5 May) highlights the striking similarity between Soviet industrial management and the current administration of UK universities. I take exception only to his translation of krugovaia poruka (not porukha) as “esprit de corps”, which surely denotes the positive honour of a group rather than the negative mutual cover-up in which the Soviet staff were engaged.

Melochnaia opeka (not opeika) – literally “meticulous guardianship” – can mean “micromanagement”, but mikromenedzhment is now more usual.

It may be that today’s UK HR staff “generally don’t do irony”, but I found that Soviet university “managers” thrived on it, especially when the vodka bottle was open.

R. E. Rawles
Honorary research fellow in psychology
University College London


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes