Corporation of St. Petersburg University and the bureaucracy of the 19th-20th centuries

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Relevance. The place of St. Petersburg University of the imperial period in Russian history was not determined solely by scientific, educational and enlightening functions. From the material of many studies, one can see that the University played an important role both as a center of the struggle for the autonomy of higher education and as a place of attraction for revolutionary students. However, one of the unobvious aspects of the University’s activity was left without proper research attention, namely, its participation in the preparation of the bureaucracy. Method or methodology. In order to partially fill the existing void, we applied the method of statistical analysis and prosopography to show how the basic characteristics of the bureaucracy had being changed. We also used the probability sampling method to study the part of the faculty’s staff that entered the civil service (ministries and the State Council). Results. Due to this approach, we managed to educe the fact, that the quantitative and qualitative growth of Russian bureaucracy directly affected the structure of higher education, influencing both student and professorial corporations. This process led to an increase in the number of teachers and students, determined the specifics of teaching (the rapid development of the law faculty), and the level of academic requirements for teachers. Moreover, the University not only raised future bureaucrats, but also the University’s professors and privat-docents themselves actively participated in the work of higher public authorities. Conclusions. Selectively examining the biographies of the teachers-bureaucrats, we came to the conclusion that most of them did not have to choose between public service and science and were able to combine both crafts.


Bureaucracy, higher school, students, st. petersburg university

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