Governments of numerous countries are becoming aware of the need for their best university to be in the vanguard of global intellectual and scientific development. This article suggests several ideas that might serve as landmarks to ensure the viability of Russian universities globally. One of these ideas is to establish so"called flagship universities. The authors formulate an operational definition of a leading world university, and discuss possible strategies to create such a university. The article discusses the specific steps needed in Russia in order to attract the best students and faculty, to ensure the adequate financing of higher education, and also discusses the optimal management schemes.