Polymaths in power

March 27, 1998

Alumni to be proud of 163 to 165 show that, whatever the inequalities of British higher education, there are some countries where you can be a polytechnic graduate and get right to the top.

Deposed Russian prime minister Victor Chernomyrdin, whose past in the gas industry would seem to qualify him perfectly for the traditional post-premiership job of running a power station, graduated from Kuibyshev Polytechnic while Tsar Boris prepared for the career that would turn "being in Ireland" into an eerily apt euphemism for being hung-over by attending the Urals Polytechnic Institute.

New stand-in PM Sergei Kiriyenko has several alma maters - he was at the Gorki Institute of Water Transport Engineering before switching to finance and banking at the Academy of Economics in Moscow.

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