There has been a ten-fold increase in the number of people wishing to take the Russian language examination during the recent year. In 2015 the number of foreign citizens and stateless citizens who tested their skills of Russian as a foreign language and passed a comprehensive examination of the Russian language, Russian history and fundamentals of Russian legislation has reached 207,630 people. A year ago this figure was 12 times less: 16,495 people passed such a test.


Such a significant increase was caused by the fact that since 1 January 2015 this examination has become mandatory for all foreigners who want to live and work in Russia. Arseny Parfenov, Director of SPbU Language Testing Center, noted that the entry of the relevant law into force has set the University a task of the state concern: creation of the opportunity of passing the comprehensive examination by foreign nationals.

"In my opinion, we have coped with this task. Today, there are only five universities in Russia authorised to hold such an examination, and SPbU is a leader in the number of foreigners passing it in the Northwestern Federal District. Let me note that the work of our center has undergone a qualitative change in the course of the recent year. In 2016 we will continue to move forward, improving the system of examination procedures," Arseny Parfenov said.

Quantitative characteristics

First and foremost the growing number of those who have passed a comprehensive examination on the Russian language, Russian history and fundamentals of the Russian legislation should be mentioned. Most of the examinees (201,747 people) have passed it in the framework of the implementation of the provisions of the Federal Law "On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation." Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Moldova were the leaders in the number of citizens tested. The rest (5883 people) have passed a test of Russian as a foreign language. This figure has increased by more than 16%: in 2014 it amounted to 5051 people.

During 2015, SPbU Language Testing Center has developed 15 versions of testing materials for the comprehensive examination and 10 versions of testing materials for the test of Russian as a foreign language.

Qualitative changes

2015 saw the renovation of SPbU status as the official partner of ALTE, the Association of Language Testers in Europe. This year, the University will have to pass an audit, the results of which will allow it to confirm the compliance of the Language Testing Center to the European quality standards. Thus, SPbU will be the first Russian organisation to obtain such a confirmation. As part of the audit held every five years, testing materials and organisation of language testing at HEIs are subject to independent evaluation.

New trends in legislation

The Russian testing system has been seriously altered recently. Thus, since 1 January 2016 citizens of Belarus aiming to obtain either a temporary residence permit in Russia or a permanent resident card have become exempt from a comprehensive examination. SPbU experts consider this a progressive step. Residents of countries where Russian is an official language share a common mentality with the Russians, so they do not need any additional integration, Arseny Parfenov is convinced.



St Petersburg University is the only higher education institution in the northern capital of Russia included into the list of testing organisations approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. University experts organise testing not only in St Petersburg: SPbU has already held examinations in 26 regions of Russia.

SPbU Language Testing Center is a unit of SPbU Center of Expert Advice that provides expert advice following the appeals of individuals and legal entities as well as authorities in all the fields of education and research activity of the University.

For full information on SPbU Language Testing Center and the materials for reading for your examination please visit the official website of the University.