Ulianov, Ilia

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ul’ianov, Il’ia Nikolaevich


Born July 19 (31), 1831, in Astrakhan; died Jan. 12 (24), 1886, in Simbirsk. Figure in Russian public education; pedagogue of democratic orientation. Father of V. I. Lenin.

The son of a petit bourgeois, Ul’ianov graduated from the faculty of physics and mathematics of the University of Kazan in 1854. In the 1850’s and 1860’s, he taught mathematics and physics at the Penza Institute of the Nobility and then at a Gymnasium and girls’ academy in Nizhny Novgorod. While teaching in Penza, he conducted meteorological observations, on the basis of which he wrote the scientific works “On the Use of Meteorological Observations and Certain Conclusions From Them for Penza” and “On Storms and Lightning Rods.” In 1869 he became an inspector (director’s assistant) of the public schools of Simbirsk Province, and from 1874 to 1886 he served as director of the schools. In 1882 he was awarded the order of St. Vladimir Third Class, which carried with it the right of hereditary nobility.

Ul’ianov was a broadly educated man. His pedagogical views were formed under the influence of the revolutionary and democratic ideas of N. G. Chernyshevskii and N. A. Dobroliubov. He had great organizational and pedagogical abilities, and he made important contributions to the theory and practice of elementary education. He advocated equal education for all; boys and girls, Russians and non-Russians, rich and poor. In 1871 he opened in Simbirsk the first Chuvash school, which later became the Chuvash Teachers’ Seminary; he also founded the first national schools in Simbirsk Province for the Mordovian population and the first secular schools in the province for the Tatars.

According to Ul’ianov, the three principal functions of a school were to help students formulate correct views on the surrounding world by teaching them basic scientific principles; to assist students in acquiring the practical knowledge and skills necessary in life; and to develop and improve the students’ natural abilities by training them in correct thinking, the exact expression of their ideas, and the capacity to control their desires and to develop a thirst for knowledge.

Ul’ianov stressed the importance of developing through education good work skills and a respectful attitude to work. He organized and led teachers’ congresses, and he instituted many innovations in the field of pedagogical education. His pedagogical articles and his official reports on public education in Simbirsk Province are of great interest. Ul’ianov exerted an important influence on the character and beliefs of each of his children, who all became revolutionaries. His work in the field of education objectively helped to awaken political consciousness in the peasants and to encourage them to struggle for their liberation.

The pedagogical institute in Ulianovsk is named for Ul’ianov.


V. I. Lenin: Biografiia, 5th ed. Moscow, 1972.
Ul’ianova, M. I. Otets V. I. Lenina I. N. Ul’ianov (1831-1886), Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
“Materialy k biografii I. N. Ul’ianova.” Istoricheskii arkhiv, 1958, no. 2.
Alpatov, N. I. Pedagogicheskaia deiatel’nost’ I. N. Ul’ianova, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1956.
Ivanskii, A. I. /. N. Ul’ianov: Po vospominaniiam sovremennikov i dokumenty, Moscow, 1963.
Ivanskii, A. I. Netprekrasnei naznachen’ia... : Dokumental’noe poveslvovanie ob 1. N. Ul’ianove. Moscow, 1976.
Kondakov, A. I. Direktor narodnykh uchilishch I. N. Ul’ianov, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1964.
Pedagog i prosvetitel’ I. N. Ul’ianov (collection). Saratov, 1965.
Izvesten vsei Rossii: I. N. Ul’ianov (collection). Saratov, 1974.
Sem’ia Ul’ianovykh (collection). 5th ed. Saratov, 1966.
Grigor’ev, N. Otets: Dokumental’naia povest’ ob I. N. Ul’ianove. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.