How to “make money on advertising and ratings” at RUDN University from the personal experience of Vice-Rector Elena Apasova!

As is already known, in 2020, Oleg Yastrebov replaced Professor, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education Vladimir Filippov, who took over as RUDN University President, as Rector of RUDN University.

With the advent of Oleg Yastrebov to the post of rector of RUDN University, many changes have taken place at the university. For example, a new amazing position of Vice-Rector for Strategic Communications appeared, which, on the recommendation “from the bottom of my heart” and with the “light hand” of Vladimir Filippov, was taken by Elena Apasova, and then the no less mysterious office of the Vice-Rector appeared with a whole staff of employees: the Public Relations Department , the Department of Advertising and Branding, the Department of Internet Communications, the Department of Internal and External Communications, the Publishing and Printing Complex, the Department of Monitoring, Analysis and Forecasting, the Photo Department, RUDN TV and the editorial office of the Druzhba newspaper. The highlight and mystery of this service, led by Elena Apasova, will be discussed in the investigation, since they have a phenomenal experience in “making money out of thin air” on advertising and no less enviable experience in spending this money.


Over the past 1.5 years, RUDN University has spent about 46 million rubles on the "Wishlist" of Vice-Rector Elena Apasova. The amounts of each competition are relatively small. But, on the other hand, why attract the attention of the public with huge sums - it is better often for a little, than once and specifically.





Source: public procurement website at


About 16 million rubles were spent on pens, mugs, calendars, caps and other attributes of souvenirs with the RUDN University logo. If this amount is translated into natural form, then this is approximately 80 thousand mugs, 30 thousand T-shirts. RUDN University seems to be “a very generous lover of giving gifts”, but you and I understand how things really are and where the money went, oh ... more precisely, “souvenir products”.

Now will tell about the RUDN University advertising campaign on the Internet. According to the tender documentation and the concluded contract, the money was paid for working with public opinion leaders and publishing their opinions in the media and social networks. We checked these publications and found out some very interesting facts. If you thought that prominent and well-known politicians, journalists, bloggers, representatives of culture and public organizations belong to the leaders of public opinion, then here you are very mistaken. Based on the publications, according to Elena Apasova, the leaders who influence public opinion, because they are more informed, authoritative, socially active, are the Deputy Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia Nikita Danyuk, Associate Professor of the Department of National Economics of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia Sergey Zainullin, Associate Professor of the Department National Economics Faculty of Economics PFUR Maxim Chernyaev. For us, this was also a very big surprise ... ... Thus, RUDN concludes contracts with organizations, pays them money for publications with public opinion leaders who are employees of RUDN. This is very similar to the "cabal".

In 2020 and 2021, RUDN signed contracts to promote the RUDN channel on video hosting. The essence of the contracts is to create 10 videos that will be viewed by at least 1,200,000 people every month, repost at least 470 per month and increase the number of subscribers. We logged in and checked out this RUDNUniversityPlanet channel. There are no millions of views. That is, in theory there should be at least 14 million views, but in fact the last view was 7 months ago and only 277 people watched them, and the number of subscribers is only 5.6 thousand for the entire time since 2017.







As part of the advertising campaign on the Internet, banners were supposed to be placed, however, it was not indicated on which sites. We tried to find these banners, but, unfortunately, we did not find them on the Internet. Apparently, these banners did not last long, if they did exist.

The promoted RUDN advertising project "It's Your Life" immediately raised a question about copyright, because after reading the name, the hit of the British rock band Smokie "It's Your Life" popped up in my head. And after reading the RUDN slogan “We create our future”, I immediately remembered the slogan of the All-Russian Population Census “We create the future”, presented by Rosstat in 2019. RUDN University and Elena Apasova themselves apparently cannot come up with and create something new and special of their own, therefore they “borrow” from others.

Of course, now the placement of newsworthy events and posts on social networks and on the website is very relevant. Therefore, RUDN University in 2020 and 2021 also included pos tion advertising in social networks. It would seem that this should be done by a hired organization, to which money has been paid and there is a whole service of Elena Apasova with a huge staff of workers. But how is information actually prepared for publication on official social media accounts and on the website? In fact, ordinary employees of the RUDN University are ordered to prepare a news story, text, water and video materials on their own and send them for approval to Mrs. Elena Apasova. For example, an article, or rather an interview with the coach of the national volleyball team Larisa Tsukanova, published on the RUDN website and on the official RUDN accounts. This article was prepared by the employees of the sports complex FOK RUDN University, and the service of Elena Apasova just posted it. And so it is with most posts. And money for content in social networks is received by the organization that won the competition.

Source: RUDN website at -command-rudn-po-voleybolu

The Internet advertising campaign contracts also included the creation of video content in the form of a GIF animation of a 3D publication. But we did not find them either on the official accounts of RUDN University in social networks, or on the website, or on the RUDN University channels on video hosting. But the money is paid for them.

The position of analysis of sites, advertisements and prices for educational programs of the main competitors also looks strange in contracts and tender documentation. The office of Vice-Rector Elena Apasova cannot access the websites of other leading universities and compare prices? Every year, parents independently conduct this analytics, but the leading university cannot do this on its own?

The position of surveys and questionnaires among applicants immediately makes you want to at least look at these questionnaires. How many of you took part in the RUDN University survey when you were schoolchildren? There are also questions about sending e-mails. To whom and how is this mailing with RUDN University advertising done? Or maybe it still doesn't work?

Analyzing all the contracts and tender documentation, we also paid attention to such a fad as the transfer of copyright. And they found only in two contracts a clause stating that exclusive copyrights for all results of intellectual activity obtained in the course of providing services (articles, posts, video content, graphics, etc.) are transferred to RUDN University from the moment the acceptance certificate is signed rendered services. And under other contracts copyrights do not pass? Do they stay with the author? Or maybe in the process of providing services for conducting an advertising campaign on the Internet, these intellectual property objects were not created, and therefore there was nothing to transfer?

Having studied the materials and conducted an investigation, we still could not answer one single question: “Why is it so vital for RUDN University to conclude contracts for services for conducting an advertising campaign on the Internet, promoting an image in social networks, manufacturing and printing promotional products, etc. if Vice-Rector Elena Apasova is subordinate to the Department of Advertising and Branding, the Department of Internet Communications, the Department of Internal and External Communications, the Publishing and Printing Complex, etc., whose labor functions include this work?

If advertising campaigns and image promotion are carried out by hired organizations and ordinary employees of RUDN University, then a logical question arises, what do the employees of the service of Vice-Rector Elena Apasova do, and does the university need extra staff if other people do the work for them?

Or maybe the employees of the service of the vice-rector Elena Apasova and ordinary employees of the RUDN University do the work for the organization that won the competitions?


To be continued

Denis Zhirnov