Military Gymnasiums

Military Gymnasiums


boarding schools in pre-revolutionary Russia that prepared children of the propertied classes and of the intelligentsia for special military educational establishments.

Gymnasiums were formed in the 1860’s, out of the schools of cadets, and were under the administration of the Ministry of War. In 1863 the first school of cadets was transformed into a military Gymnasium in St. Petersburg, and subsequently, by petition of other cities and zemstvos (elected district councils), local military Gymnasiums were opened. Compared with the schools of cadets, military Gymnasiums offered a broader education (Russian, foreign languages, mathematics, history, cosmography, natural history, physics, and other subjects; overall twice as many class-hours), and a less strict military regime. However, they did not offer special courses that would entitle graduates to a junior officer’s rank. The military Gymnasium was at first a six-year institution; after 1873 the program was seven years. From 1869 to 1879 an average of 5,400 students attended each year; a large part of them were in the boarding school on government funds. In 1880 there were about 30 military Gymnasiums and Progymnasiums (schools offering a partial program) in Russia.

From a military standpoint, the military Gymnasiums had some shortcomings: they did not provide enough physical and overall military training (in applied military fields); there-fore, in 1882 the military Gymnasiums were reorganized back into schools of cadets.


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