Kiselev Schools

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kiselev Schools


rural parish schools in Russia, organized through the efforts of the minister of state property, P. D. Kiselev, in villages populated by state peasants.

Kiselev believed that the improvement of the peasant economy was indissolubly linked with the spread of primary education. A decree issued on June 27, 1842, called for the establishment of rural parish schools in state-owned villages on the basis of the 1828 statute on the organization of parish schools. The decree declared the goal of the Kiselev schools to be “the dissemination and strengthening among state peasants of moral and religious education and of basic knowledge necessary for the members of any estate.” The Instructions for the Administration of Rural Parish Schools in the Villages of State Peasants were issued in 1843. The curriculum of these schools consisted of religious training, reading and writing, and the four basic arithmetic skills. Supplementary instruction in church singing and the raising of fruits and vegetables was also offered. The schools admitted children, eight years of age or older, including girls, and instruction was given in the winter, when there was no work in the fields. They were built in the main village of each rural district and were maintained by additional taxes levied on the peasantry. Instruction was the responsibility of village priests.

The opening of Kiselev schools was at first welcomed by the peasants. Soon, however, the abuses of the administrators and clergy, as well as the organization of instruction, caused them to change their attitude. In 1866–67, with the removal of state peasants from the control of the Ministry of State Property, some of the schools came under the supervision of the zemstvos (district assemblies) and others under the Ministry of Public Education.


Zablotskii-Desiatovskii, A. P. Graf P.D. Kiselev i ego vremia, vols. 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1882.
Druzhinin, N. M. Gosudarstvennye krest’iane i reforma P.D. Kiseleva. vol. 2. Moscow, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.