AbstractThis thesis explores the phenomenon of leadership of Russian universities in the period of change. The starting point in this study is that university as an organization is dependent on itsenvironment. The environment or context in which Russian universities operate can be characterized as experiencing the double impact of globalization processes and transformation to information society and knowledge-based economy, and the transition of the Russian stateto democratic society and market economy. While the traditional societal expectations for the higher education sector as the main producer of knowledge are still high, higher education institutions seem to be inevitably embedded in competitive markets. Under thesecircumstances the entrepreneurial model becomes an organizational order which enables higher educational institution organizations to cope with the challenges in the environment. In the discussion on universities' entrepreneurial response, there paid attention, following Clark (1998), to the need for the strengthened steering core in coping with the challenges brought by the ongoing transformations. In the situation of growing complexity the steering core must reconcile new managerial values with the traditional academic ones. The model of leadership in university as a knowledge enterprise (Bleiklie 1993, Larsen 2003) gives the opportunity toanalyse how the leader is capable to balance these values, by describing the four roles or dimensions of university authority relationships (Bleiklie 1993), constituting this model. Case study analysis of one of the Russian universities showed that the described model is relevant for Russian context. The distribution and influence of the roles within the model can, however, differ in this context from other parts of the world. Russian university leadership hasparticular features conditioned by historical and political peculiarities. These are the factors which make the processes of transformation in Russian higher education sector complicated. They are not easy to change overnight, but it is important to be aware of them for the leaders of the universities, academic staff, and legislators.