University Statutes

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

University Statutes


in Russia, legislative acts determining the organizational structure and administrative procedures of universities.

The first university statute in Russia was the Plan for the Founding of Moscow University, which was approved on Jan. 12 (23), 1755. In accordance with the statute, the university was to be under the jurisdiction of the Senate and was to be administered by curators appointed by the monarch. The curators were to be advised by a collegium of professors. All disciplinary matters were to be handled by a university court.

The decision to open universities in Vil’na (now Vil’nius), Kazan, and Kharkov created the need for a general university statute. The first such statute, which established the autonomy of universities, was promulgated on Nov. 5 (17), 1804. At the head of each university was a council of professors, which elected the rector, named professors to chairs, determined the course of studies, and acted as the academic council and university court of highest instance. Each university was the center of a school district (uchebnyi okrug); the universities directed the work of primary and secondary educational institutions and fulfilled the functions of censors.

During the reign of Nicholas I, the universities lost their autonomy. On July 26 (Aug. 7), 1835, a new university statute was promulgated in accordance with which the management of the universities passed to the superintendents of the school districts, which were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Education. New rectors had to be approved by the tsar, and new professors by the superintendent of the given school district. The council of professors in each university was deprived of its independence in matters of teaching and scholarship.

During the 1860’s, when many bourgeois reforms were introduced, the autonomy of the universities was restored. The University Statute of June 18 (30), 1863, reestablished the elective character of all professorships and administrative positions and restored the rights of the council of professors and the university court. As a result of the government’s increasingly reactionary nature in the 1880’s, however, a new university statute was promulgated on Aug. 23 (Sept. 4), 1884, depriving the universities of their autonomy. At the beginning of the Revolution of 1905–07, autonomy was reestablished by the Provisional Rules of Aug. 27, 1905, but the rules virtually lost their force after the coup d’etat of June 3, 1907. The University Statute of 1884 remained in effect until February 1917.

In the Soviet period, universities have been regulated by the Statute on Higher Educational Institutions in the USSR.


Poln. sobr. zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii [Sobranie 1], vol. 28. St. Petersburg, 1830. Numbers 21497–21500.
Ibid.: Sobranie 2, vol. 10. St. Petersburg, 1866. Number 8337.
Ibid.: Sobranie 2, vol. 38. St. Petersburg, 1866. Number 39752.
Ibid.: Sobranie 3, vol. 4. St. Petersburg, 1887. Number 2404.
Rozhdestvenskii, S. V. Istoricheskii obzor deiatel’nosti Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia, 1802–1902. St. Petersburg, 1902.
Eimontova, R. G. “Universitetskaia reforma 1863 g.” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 70. Moscow, 1961.
Shchetlinina, G. I. Universitety v Rossii i ustav 1884 g. Moscow, 1976.


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