The article is devoted to the urgent problem of the distribution of university networks in Russian education. The active development of interuniversity cooperation in recent decades, the formation of university associations that carry out joint research and conduct joint training in unified educational programs, testifies to the revolutionary processes in modern education characterized by a departure from the formation of nationally oriented to global education, independent of the policy of national governments and national ministries education. A key factor in this process is the limited resource base of traditional universities, as well as the aspiration of many students to simultaneously receive education in universities from different countries as a pledge of better professional training. Network universities are the answer of modern education to new challenges. In recent years, the processes of university unification in university networks have become a dominant trend in Russian education. Network universities appear not only on the basis of leading Russian universities, but also between Russian universities and their foreign partners. The authors carefully analyze Russian experience in this field and note its progressiveness. Nevertheless, despite the presence of many advanced projects, interuniversity cooperation of Russian universities within the network system is not standardized at the moment, most Russian or Russian universities participate in the process of defining the basic principles of functioning and the future vector of their development remains unclear. A special place in the study is devoted to the consideration of the educational practice of Russian network universities, the finding of a common and different in their activities and in this context the designation of future prospects of the network system in Russia.