Ministries of Education of the Russian Empire
Count Petr Vasilevich Zavadovsky
Finished the course at the Kiev Ecclesiastical Academy and had an excellent command of the Latin language. Invested much in the development of the Russian education system. Constantly supported transformations which, in his opinion, could serve to strengthen Russian statehood and education. Thanks to him, new secondary and higher educational establishments were set up including the main pedagogical institutes and universities in Kazan and other cities. In the times of Zavadovsky adecree was issued by the Tsar by which the rank of collegiate assessor (equivalent to major in the civil service) could only be reached by civil servants with a university education.
Count Alexei Kirillovich Razumovsky
(1810 - 1816)
Educated at the University of Strasbourg. Served as a trustee of the Moscow School District and the University of Moscow, under whom the first Slavic Literature Department was established. Thanks to him, the Moscow Society of History and Antiquities was formed, as well as the Kazan Society of Russian Literature Lovers and other organisations. Owing to his active participation and patronage, the famous Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum was opened.
Prince Alexander Nikolayevich Golitsyn
(1816 - 1824)
President of the Russian Bible Society (1813 - 1824). He was actively involved in charitable activities, including the organisation of the “Prison Trustees’ Society”. With the intensified reaction in 1819, a new educational curriculum was distributed throughout Russia, virtually cancelling out previous liberal innovations. Social stratification within the educational system and corporal punishment was introduced in public schools. The censorship policy was tightened and the teaching staff at universities was replaced with more conservative candidates. Karamzin called the Ministry under Golitsyn “The Ministry of the Eclipse”. However, thanks to this prince, improvements to the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum Library ended.
Admiral Alexander Semenovich Shishkov
(1824 - 1828)
Well-known statesman, Russian writer and scholar. From 1813 to 1841, he served as president of the Russian Academy. He graduated from the Naval Cadet Corps and later taught naval tactics there. He simultaneously held the position of minister and oversaw foreign faiths. He adhered to a conservative style of education. He did a lot for the development of the Russian language, striving to achieve purity. He opposed the reform of the Russian language undertaken by N.M. Karamzin. He eventually had to resign due to his advanced age and poor health.
Prince Carl Andreyevich Liven
(1828 - 1833)
Graduated from the University of St. Petersburg. He participated in the revision of the statutes and programmes of all lower and higher secondary schools, promoted the adoption of a new charter for elementary and secondary schools, as well as a new charter for district schools and gymnasiums (grammar schools). Thanks to the statute of 1828, classicism in public schools was legalised and the study period was set at seven years. Primary education still did not exist at that time – lower city and county schools played this role. The transition from a county high school to a gymnasium (grammar school) was prohibited due to differences between social strata, since a gymnasium was a place of education only for the children of noble families and officials. In view of the dramatic growth in the amount of cadet corps and military schools, C.A. Liven introduced the General Directorate of Military Educational Institutions.
Count Sergey Semenovich Uvarov
(1833 - 1849)
A skilled diplomat, who demonstrated serious interest in science, in particular history and philology, archaeology and ancient languages. In 1811-1821, he served as a Trustee of the St. Petersburg School District. Beginning in 1818, he was the President of the Academy of Sciences. Thanks to him, the Department of Oriental Languages was established and later on, a faculty at the University of St. Petersburg.
One of the main merits of Uvarov is the establishment of a system of classical education in Russia. He was the first to publish his own reports on the Ministry’s management in the “Journal of the Ministry of National Education”, which also included official documents of the Ministry and articles focused on pedagogy and teaching materials. Uvarov served more than three decades as the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. At the same time, the principle of stratification within the educational system was adhered to.
Prince Platon Alexandrovich Shirinsky-Shikhmatov
(1849 - 1854)
Academician of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, writer, Chairman of the Archaeological Commission, and participant in the Patriotic War of 1812. He began working with the Ministry in 1824 as an Office Director. He promoted conservative ideas and strengthened the supervision of universities. He forbade the acceptance of anybody to universities that were not from noble families. He abolished the teaching of philosophy as a source of free-thinking. On the other hand, he was a big supporter of science.
Abraham Sergeyevich Norov
(1854 - 1858)
Scientist and orientalist, writer and owner of a unique library. When he was 17 years old, he volunteered to participate in the Battle of Borodino. When he served as the Minister, he showed himself to be a liberal leader. Under his leadership, universities were allowed to admit an unlimited number of students, as was the publication of scholarly books abroad, thereby bypassing censorship. According to his decision, people who held masters’ degrees were regularly sent on business trips abroad. He defended the interests of the press, run by the Ministry.
Evgraf Petrovich Kovalevsky
(1859 - 1861)
Chairman of the Moscow Censorship Committee and, as of 1856, the Curator of the Moscow School District. He was notable for his liberal views. He was a scientist and geologist, a prominent member of the Russian mining industry and served as a Major-General. He received permission from Tsar Alexander II to undertake the fundamental reform of the Ministry of Education. He raised the issue of universal primary education and opened the first Sunday schools in the country. By his orders, courses at universities were established for the purpose of training secondary school teachers. It was namely during his term that the literary fund was established.
Count Evfimiy Vasilievich Putyatin
An Admiral and renowned explorer. He served as the Minister for only five months. He was the author of the “Project for transforming maritime training institutions with the establishment of a new school”. He was known as the person who introduced “matricula” – the so-called first test books for students. His leadership saw the adoption of rules to abolish co-operative student learning and student libraries, and the introduction of mandatory attendance of lectures and payment of tuition fees. Most of his innovations were not welcomed by students and led to unrest in universities.
Alexander Vasilievich Golovnin
(1861 - 1866)
Attached to the court of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, he was his closest aide. He resolutely began to introduce reforms in the sphere of Russian education, which proved to be successful. He supported liberal ideas and printing activities under his patronage. The “Charter of the gymnasium” was adopted under him, allowing for the education of children of all social strata and creeds. Here are a number of other achievements: the history of universal literature was recognised as a science; the position of professors was significantly strengthened; the level of financial lending by the state at all levels of education was increased. At the same time, a teachers' seminary for training rural teachers was established. The supervision and censorship of the Ministry of Education was subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Count Dmitry Andreyevich Tolstoy
(1866 - 1880)
President of the Imperial Academy of Sciences and the Attorney-General (Procurator) of the Holy Synod. He was a historian and conservator, who carried out the “classical reform” by dividing all secondary schools into two categories: a “classical gymnasium” and a “non-classical secondary school”. The latter type of institution did not allow their graduates to enter university. Children from the nobility attended both secondary schools and universities. Children from the middle class attended district schools (4-5 years of education) and children from the peasant and lower classes attended public schools (1-2 years of education). In 1872, the first women's university in Russia was opened – the Bestuzhev Higher School.
Andrey Alexandrovich Saburov
(1880 - 1881)
Graduated from the Imperial Alexandrovsk Lyceum. In 1857, he was appointed to the public service in the office of the Committee of Ministers with the rank of titular counsellor. In 1858, he was transferred to the Ministry of Justice. In 1875, he was appointed as a Trustee of the Dorpat School District. Under his tutelage, the number of German and Russian schools grew and the level of enrolment in lower and middle schools increased. From April 1880 to March 1881, he served as the Minister of Education. He advocated for the establishment of close links between the various institutions within the Ministry, as well as between the family and the school.
Baron Alexander Pavlovich Nikolai
(1881 - 1882)
A graduate of the Imperial Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum. He served under the Governor of the Caucasus, Prince M.S. Vorontsov and proved his capabilities well during an expedition to Dargo and Dagestan, and the capture of the fortified village of Salta. His contemporaries regarded him as a sincere and honest advocate of education. Under his authority, the state officially permitted the introduction of so-called school education (public schools of the lowest type). He opposed their submission to ecclesiastical institutions. In 1881, with his support, the Astronomical Observatory was opened at the University of St. Petersburg.
Count Ivan Davidovich Delianov
(1882 - 1897)
Trustee of the St. Petersburg School District and Director of the Imperial Public Library. He issued a circular on “the cooks' children”, which introduced a ban on educating children from the ‘lower classes’ at secondary school. Under I.D. Delianov’s administration, a new reactionary charter was presented (1884). In accordance with this, students were subject to increased police surveillance. A school form was introduced and tuition fees were doubled. At the same time, he strengthened the position of the classical disciplines was strengthened, while this charter effectively strengthened the position of the classical disciplines. Delianov shut down higher education for women and the total number of students in secondary schools declined.
Nikolai Pavlovich Bogolepov
(1897 - 1901)
A Professor of Roman law and Rector of the University of Moscow. According to the feedback received from colleagues, he had a brilliant pedagogical talent. To distract students from revolutionary ideas created, he established literary circles, choirs and orchestras under the supervision of professors. With his permission, students who participated in protest demonstrations could be enlisted as soldiers, which was unthinkable before his term as all university students were previously exempted from military service. He was directly involved in the closure of the Moscow Law Society, of which he himself held membership. Since 1899 within the Ministry, the Ministry a committee for reforming schools operated under his direction. Later on, Bogolepov was mortally wounded by a student who had previously been suspended.
Petr Semenovich Vannovsky
(1901 - 1902)
The Minister of War under Tsar Alexander III and the Minister of Education under Nikolai II. He participated in the Russian-Turkish wars. He was appointed as Bogolepov’s successor following his murder. He tried to mitigate the reactionary regime that had been introduced in schools, exempt students who were enlisted as soldiers, and introduced additional liberal measures. He also worked to expand the powers of student governments. He only introduced one measure at the secondary school level – he abolished the mandatory of the Greek language in gymnasiums (grammar schools) and made it optional for new students at the university.
Grigory Eduardovich Zenger
(1902 - 1904)
Statesman, scholar and a Doctor of Roman literature. He graduated from the University of St. Petersburg. In 1897 – 1899, he served as the Rector of the University of Warsaw. He was notable for his liberalism and for the fact that he intended to reform secondary and higher education system. He was a supporter of the classical system of education and succeeded in focusing on the physical development of students and increased funding for building large libraries and museums.
Vladimir Gavrilovich Glazov
(1904 - 1905)
Graduated from the Institute of Land Surveying, the Alexandrovsk Military School, the General Staff Academy and the Archaeological Institute. He participated in the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78. He was named as the head the Congress of School District Trustees, convened in 1904 to discuss the need of secondary schools and institutes of higher education. He initiated the preparation of major reforms, including the development of a new university statute and regulations concerning public schools. Due to the beginning of the revolution and a change of government, he was unable to realise educational reforms in reality.
Sergey Mikhailovich Lukyanov
He was temporarily responsible for the Ministry. He was considered a great expert in the field of pathological physiology, as a medical doctor, who was engaged in teaching activities. After graduating from the Medical-Surgical Academy and defending his doctoral dissertation, he undertook his professional training in Western Europe, after which he became a Professor at the University of Warsaw. In 1894 – 1902, he served as the Director of the Imperial Institute of Experimental Medicine in St. Petersburg. His deep theoretical understanding of the latest achievements in medical science led him to have a serious passion for the philosophical disciplines.
Count Ivan Ivanovich Tolstoy
(1905 - 1906)
Graduated from the Law Faculty at the University of St. Petersburg. He was the Vice-President of the Imperial Academy of Arts and was fond of archaeology and numismatics. He sought to modify the multi-level education in Russia by transforming it. In his capacity as Minister, he was famous for introducing innovative reforms. He felt that issues pertaining to education were priorities for Russia. He developed a new draft statute for the university, as well as a democratic plan for providing universal education. He had a preference for humanities education and was a forceful advocate of a co-ed school education for boys and girls. He also proclaimed the idea of organising national schools. He founded many schools under the patronage of the Academy of Fine Arts.
Baron Petr Mikhailovich Kaufman
(1906 - 1908)
He graduated with honours from the Alexandrovsk Lyceum. Under his administration, a draft law for the introduction of universal primary education was developed and submitted to the State Duma. Other notable changes that were made in the sphere of education under his leadership are as follows: increased funding for public education, guardianship was established in public schools, the enrolment of girls in urban schools together with boys was permitted, and a draft law on improving the pensions of teachers serving in state schools was developed and submitted to the Council of Ministers.
Alexander Nikolayevich Schwartz
(1908 - 1910)
Taught Greek literature at the University of Moscow. He was notable for his conservative views and lack of reform-oriented decisions in the field of education. Under his administration, many privileges and exemptions, introduced by previous ministers of education, were abolished. He forbade women from being admitted to receive higher education. As noted by his contemporaries, A.N. Schwartz was a supporter of school pluralism. He supported the theory of a “unified school”, in which all students were supposed to learn according to the same programme.
Lev Aristidovich Kasso
(1910 – 1914)
Kasso was trained in the law abroad. He was considered an extremely conservative minister who tried to undo the liberal concessions made by his predecessors. He viewed everything associated with revolutionary ideas very badly, expelling progressive professors and students from the universities. More than a third of the teaching faculty left Moscow University because of him. He categorically refused to open universities in Vilna and Minsk. He issued detailed curricula (for secondary educational institutions), severely limited teachers' initiative, and reinforced external oversight.
Count Pavel Nikolaevich Ignatiev
(1915 – 1916)
Ignatiev had a reputation as an active reformer, having recognised in his work pedagogical practices from around the world. Consequently, he advanced solutions directed at continuing innovations in education. Interestingly, the blueprint of his reforms was used throughout the 20th century. He was attentive to the coming together of school and family, to shifting the emphasis from the educator to the education, and also to the formation of active and creative personalities. He spoke out against contempt for the Russian language and did not welcome thoughtless adoptions from foreign education practices. He stressed the development of civic and patriotic sentiments. He sought promote the development of a vocational training system.
Nikolai Konstantinovich Kulchitsky
(1916 – 1917)
Kulchitsky was known around the scientific world as a histologist, a professor, and a doctor of medicine. He graduated from the medical school at Kharkov University. He worked in the department of histology and embryology at Kharkov University for about 30 years. From 1912, he was the administrator of the Kazan school district, and in 1914, administrator of the Petrograd school district. As Minister of Education, he shelved the progressive initiatives of his predecessors. In 1918, Kulchitsky was arrested by the Bolsheviks, but was set free before long. In 1921, he emigrated and continued his scientific work at the University of London. He was an honorary member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and held an office in the National Order of the Legion of Honour.
Alexander Apollonovich Manuylov
(from March 2 to July 4, 1917)
Manuylov graduated from the legal department at Novorossiysk University, where he studied economics. He attended lectures at the universities of Berlin and Heidelberg. He was a professor, chancellor of Moscow University at the climax of the revolutionary events from 1905-1907, and editor for the "Russian Gazette". He was a member of the initial Provisional Government as the Minister of Education following the February Revolution against the Cadets. He actively participated in the establishment of the liberal opposition in Russia. After the February Revolution against the the Cadets, he became a member of the initial Provisional Government as the Minister of Education. He was appointed chairperson of the State Committee for the People's Education and was actively involved in the Provisional Government. Following the revolution, he emigrated. Later he returned and taught at Soviet universities.
Sergei Fedorovich Oldenburg
(from July 24 to August 26, 1917)
Oldenburg was an orientalist, a professor at the University of Saint Petersburg, a director of the Asian Museum, a member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, secretary of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a member of the State Council. In his post with the Ministry, he collaborated with the Committee for the People's Education and its authorised representatives. Due to a lack of time, not one of the legislative projects developed by the Committee was enacted by the Provisional Government.
Sergei Sergeevich Salazkin
(from September 25 to October 25, 1917)
Salazkin was a professor and a Russian biochemist. He was the Minister of Education in Kerensky's last cabinet. It was assume that with Salazkin's support a number of projects from the Committee for the People's Education would be realised in the near future. However, only one proposal regarding the transfer of the top primary schools to locally-governed bodies was implemented. On October 25, 1917, the Committee's work was discontinued. On the day of the coup, the Minister of the People's Education and other members of the Provisional Government located in the Winter Palace were arrested and confined to Petropavlovskaya Fortress. Some time later he was transferred to house arrest, which lasted for several months.