Kasso, Lev

Kasso, Lev Aristidovich


Born June 8 (20), 1865, in Paris; died Nov. 26 (Dec. 9) 1914, in St. Petersburg. Russian minister of education from 1911 to 1914.

Kasso, a nobleman by birth from the province of Bessarabia, was a wealthy landowner. He was educated abroad, in Paris, Heidelberg, and Berlin. A lawyer by profession, he wrote books on civil law. In 1892, Kasso became a lecturer at the University of Derpat (Tartu). In 1895 he became professor at the University of Kharkov; and in 1899, at Moscow University. From 1908 to 1910 he was the director of an imperial lyceum. Kasso was appointed the chief administrator of the Ministry of Education in September 1910 and the minister of education in February 1911. While holding the latter post, he followed an extremely reactionary policy. He ruthlessly suppressed the student movement, prohibited student unions and meetings, fired progressive professors, blocked the opening of new universities, and intensified after-school surveillance of students. In 1912 he expelled all the women students from the Higher Medical Courses in St. Petersburg.

Kasso’s pogrom-like policy led to protests by wide circles of the public and was denounced by the Bolshevik deputies to the Fourth Imperial Duma. V. I. Lenin characterized Kasso’s department as “a ministry of police espionage, a ministry that derides youth and jeers at the people’s thirst for knowledge” (Poln sobr. sock, 5th ed., vol. 23, p. 135).