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Lyubov KHOROSHILOVA, FIRST GENERATIONS OF STUDENTS [Электронный ресурс]: электрон. данные. - Москва: Научная цифровая библиотека PORTALUS.RU, 23 сентября 2021. - Режим доступа: https://portalus.ru/modules/pedagogics/rus_readme.php?subaction=showfull&id=1632391977&archive=&start_from=&ucat=& (свободный доступ). – Дата доступа: 12.08.2022.

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Lyubov KHOROSHILOVA, FIRST GENERATIONS OF STUDENTS / Science in Russia, №6, 2011, C.60-64.

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Дата публикации: 23 сентября 2021
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №6, 2011, C.60-64
Номер публикации: №1632391977 / Жалобы? Ошибка? Выделите проблемный текст и нажмите CTRL+ENTER!

by Lyubov KHOROSHILOVA, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), Lomonosov Moscow State University


The main typological features of studentship, a new and special social group for Russia, started shaping in the first decades of the existence of Moscow University, founded on the initiative of Mikhail Lomonosov in 1755. The student population is temporary, but having lost contact with its original roots, it acquires new skills and views, a feeling of duty to society. In the second half of the 18th century it numbered only several dozen people sent to study due to public need and not realizing themselves as an organic unity.


Book vignette. 18th century.

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The first national higher educational institution was open for everybody, but the government considered it mainly a source of "feeding" for the political elite and therefore strived to engage mostly nobility in learning of sciences. The Decree of May 17, 1756, guaranteed a company officer rank (to begin civil service) to those students, who showed progress in studies, and a military rank to those, who particularly distinguished themselves (they were appointed to regiments). However, there was no secondary education system in Russia at that time, but without it, according to the great encyclopedist Mikhail Lomonosov*, the university was "like a ploughed field without seeds". The first step in filling of this gap was establishing, simultaneously with the university, of a grammar school, more precisely, actually two schools, for nobility and raznochintsi (intellectuals not belonging to the nobility). More than 100 people entered them at one go.


Such progress was achieved in many ways due to an effective teaching process developed by Lomonosov and characterized first of all by gradualness. Its first stage included the "Russian school", which guaranteed skills of reading and writing both in native and Latin languages. Upon its graduation, those interested were moved up to the next, Latin, form. Foreign languages played a prominent role in an obligatory set of subjects. Once a week the schoolchildren were engaged optionally in painting, dancing, music or fencing. Besides, they could study other subjects, but at a separate charge. Moreover, the program was rather flexible and implied different attitude to final objectives of education. For example, those who did not want to enter the university were sent to a German or French school after graduation from the "Russian school".


Discipline in grammar schools was severe. The lessons started according to the time-table, teachers kept a record of all lessons, progress in studies and behavior of their pupils and monthly submitted related registers. To demonstrate successes of such kind of education, students at public acts praised benefits of science in Latin, French, German, Greek and Italian. It should be noted that among them there were a lot of people, who achieved considerable professional successes, namely, Yakov Bulgakov, a diplomat, honorary member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1795 and the most active translator in the late 18th century; the journalist, publisher, writer and enlightener Nikolai Novikov; the statesman and military figure Grigory Potyomkin; poet and director of the Academy of Sciences in 1775-1783 Sergei Domashnev; the writer and father of Russian social comedy Denis Fonvizin.


At the end of six months, in the presence of all university professors, according to the results of public examinations, schoolchildren were moved up to the next forms and "promoted" to students. The first graduates left the grammar school in 1759, and 18 of them entered the university in the same year, 20 in 1760 and 25 in 1763.


The infancy of the university and grammar school (late 1750s-early 1760s) was characterized by a negative attitude of the nobility to discipline. It is not accidental that such gifted children of noble families, as the abovementioned Potyomkin and Novikov, missed lessons all the time. The university board tried to overcome resistance of the parents, who did not realize the need of obedience to the internal regulations for their children. Thus, Ivan Melissino, the university director in 1757-1763, ordered to issue to students their passports only for a vacation time, so that they would not fall behind in studies due to their absence longer than the leave period.


The graduates of religious schools are another pair of shoes. They observed discipline not only because of their


See: E. Tropp, "Along the Way to Universal Knowledge", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2011; A. Utkin, "Phenomenon of Lomonosov Personality"; Ye. Sysoeva, "He Saw Through Ages", in this issue of our magazine.--Ed.

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dependence on public subsistence, but also due to their patrimonial traditions as the future of young people from this social class was closely connected with getting systematic education. But the main thing was that after completion of education, they were freed from military service and poll-tax.


The university curator Ivan Shuvalov (honorary member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1776), who was its founder together with Lomonosov, jealously kept an eye on the first steps of his creation. With his permission, in June 1757, Melissino left for Petersburg taking with him his students Vasily Troyepolsky, Pyotr Semyonov and the best students of the noble origin from the grammar school Boris Saltykov, Vasily Khovansky, Pyotr Bezobrazov, Dmitry Boborykin, Grigory Potyomkin (honorary member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1776) and some others in reward for their progress and diligence in studies. On July 27 they were introduced to Empress Yelizaveta Petrovna. "For better encouragement of the youth studying sciences" she granted to the children of noble families the rank of guards corporal and to Saltykov--the rank of warrant officer with the right to enroll in any regiment they would like to. As to the raznochintsi Troyepolsky and


Semyonov, she granted them a money reward and promised to promote to the rank of officers after getting certificates.


However, there were also other cases. Thus, in 1760, following the results of the final examination at the grammar school, only 42 noblemen with public subsistence were enrolled in the university, and the rest were expelled as "lazy people unable to learn" (they could continue studies only at their own expense).


The first Russian university trained lecturers for its own needs. According to the Regulations prepared by Lomonosov, several students were appointed as teachers in the lower forms of the grammar school. They were also engaged in the duties of supervisors and teachers, though for years they received no extra payment in addition to their usual grant, which is expressly confirmed by appropriate petitions. Thus, a lot of university professors started their teaching activity in the first years of the university existence. Among them there were a future rector (from 1803), historian and philologist Khariton Chebotaryov, philosopher and mathematician Dmitry Anichkov, natural scientist Ivan Sibirsky and others.


In short, from the mid-1760s, the oldest university of the country carried out a mission of a college, as it was called

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Student with a sword. Engraving. Detail. 18th century.


at that time, "which for its intended purpose and model teaching of languages and sciences should provide not only itself but also other colleges in the country with talented and educated people to the general benefit of the motherland..." And till the end of the 19th century the university actually was at the top of national secondary education, as a major part of grammar school teachers was represented by its graduates.


However, 3-4 years were required for the first students of grammar schools to complete the whole course of studies. Therefore, initially, on the instructions of the Synod, students of seminaries, of the Slavonic-Greek-Latin and other academies were enrolled in the university. They already knew the Latin and Slavonic languages, Greek and Roman literature, and arithmetic. The documents, kept in the archives of the Moscow Synodical Office, testify that the newly enrolled students "can be skilled both in the Latin language and also in knowledge of classical authors". Among them were sons of priests and future physicians Pyotr Veniaminov and Semyon Zybelin.


A total of 25 people arrived that year from the Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy and Krutitskaya, Novgorod, Pskov, Nizhni Novgorod, Smolensk, Troitsk and Belgorod seminaries. The remarkable fact is that the university authorities sent back two persons from the Belgorod seminary with a request to send instead of them "those interested and not under compulsion". Moreover, they indicated the persons, they wanted to see, namely, Fyodor Levitsky and Yegor Bulatnitsky. For the most part, all newcomers were orphans and were put on public subsistence. In 1760, there were altogether 30 students and 118 grammar-schoolboys.


After an oral examination they were enrolled in the university and entered a new life with other external forms. The powdered wig, sword, hat, green uniform with red collar, cuffs and liner became obligatory for them even during walks in the countryside, and at first seemed unusual for Muscovites. Once, a group of students was taken for the captured Swedes by townsfolk. Meanwhile, such attributes had a well thought-out nature. Thus, though a sword of a raznochinets student did not give him the privileges of a nobleman, it stressed the importance of education for the state. The construction of the university in the center of Moscow, in the Mokhovaya Street (1786-1793, architect Matvei Kazakov) served the same purpose.


Learning started bearing fruit gradually, and the students began to put the acquired knowledge into practice. For example, Pyotr Veniaminov taught the Greek language (instead of a sick lecturer for six months), Mikhail Permsky and then Dmitry Senkovsky (later on professor) taught history and geography, Pyotr Soymonov--the French language and mythology, and many of their schoolfellows--the Latin language. Anton Lyubinsky as the first student tutor announced his private lessons "in arithmetic and geometry" in the Moscow Gazette.


The demand for people with university education was growing. The university received requests from educational institutions and offices of state departments not only for qualified graduates, but also for students. Teaching, tutoring and other work were absolute recognition of their success and, in addition, offered an opportunity to improve the material standing of grammar-schoolboys and students as their poverty was well known. So, often noblemen's children differed little from raznochintsi. They had money only for poor subsistence. They had to earn money for clothes and textbooks themselves, and many of them succeeded in it.


Humanization of education was one of the ideas born by the age of Enlightenment. Lomonosov was also its supporter, which was reflected in his Regulations of the Moscow University and grammar schools, as well as of the Petersburg Academic Grammar School (1758). The author thought over all details of life of the students, including a system of penalties and incentives. The students, first of all, those getting public subsistence, were taken in ward. The government represented by supervisors and tutors took care of their food, clothes (including the sewing on of buttons), footwear, medical care, observing personal hygiene and books supply.


Besides, Lomonosov insisted on priority of moral pressure over physical measures, which was quite new for that epoch. In Russia, as in Western Europe, birchrods were a main type of punishment for lazy children at all times. It is known from the published documents that such punishment was not used often and only for the smallest schoolchildren. Moreover, such "extraordinary" punishment could be imposed only by the Conference (consultative collective body of the university). It should be noted that in 1765 it strictly disapproved the ferule punishment used by some foreign teachers in grammar schools.

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The probation of the best students abroad became part of education. Among the first were Tretyakov, Anichkov and Desnitsky. The family of the Demidov industrialists granted a great sum of money to the university, so that interest thereupon should be used to support talented Russian young people abroad. This tradition continued in the early 19th century too. The university graduates received diplomas, which included the learning time, testimonies of professors about their progress, behavior and ranks granting the right to personal nobility.


The half a century anniversary of the Moscow University was marked by important events, such as development of the first university charter in our country (1804), celebration of the university jubilee (1805), the university history written by the professor of experimental physics and rector (1805-1807) Pyotr Strakhov, corresponding member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1803. The students of that time also left to the succeeding generations recollections about their Alma Mater, which testify to high consciousness of those, who were educated within its walls, and an increased role of education in life.


In 1805, the Table of Ranks (law on rank correlation in Russian civil service) was supplemented with changes. In particular, students were conferred the 14th grade, i.e. they, like professors, were included in bureaucratic hierarchy, which was important both for students and their perception by society. Besides, four years later the decree on examinations granted the grades of Collegiate Assessor and Councillor of State with the right for personal or hereditary nobility respectively. The knowledge of applicants was assessed by a commission made up of university professors. It should be noted that requirements to the applicants were rather high and included knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, history, philosophy, etc. But, as experience showed, those who got home education could not pass exams. Thus, the road to the university became a vital necessity for a lot of young people.


By the early 19th century the studentship not only increased in numbers but also changed in quality as compared with the middle of the previous century. While in the first decades of the university activities its student contingent was formed from pupils of religious schools, later on it became a natural process--from specially established grammar schools and the Noble Boarding School (1779), and such a contingent already had certain training. While the 18th century students were mostly raznochintsi (children of the lower middle class, merchants, petty officials and former seminarists), 50 years later they made up not more than 40-50 percent. The fact is that by that time the noblemen, who sent their children to study, had changed, and in society as a whole there emerged ideas on the need of systematic education, its material and spiritual advantages over home and private education prevalent in Russia at that time.


Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the student life put forward non-class values, developing and confirming the importance of the human personality. The dream of the founder of the first Russian university Mikhail Lomonosov to open the road to higher education for all interested people came true. The following observation of one of the first students, the writer, honorary member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1841 Fyodor Lubyanovsky is illustrative in this respect: "Having started my studies in a seminary and completed... sciences at the university, I often looked into my own self...: not only could I go anywhere without help, but I could lead others."


In short, one may state that already in the 18th century the Moscow studentship acquired its distinctive features, such as a democratic structure, awareness of significance of education, respectful attitude to human personality, cautious patriarchal relations between the elder and the younger, connections kept for the whole life, kindness and confidence between students and professors.

Опубликовано 23 сентября 2021 года

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