Feofanov Alexander

The Reproduction of the Elite and the Gymnasium of the Imperial Academy of Sciences

Feofanov Alexander (2018) "The Reproduction of the Elite and the Gymnasium of the Imperial Academy of Sciences ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2018, vol. 83, pp. 59-67 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201883.59-67


This article studies education as a social lift with career and educational paths of alumni of the Academic Gymnasium as an example; the aim of the study is to clarify to what extent they enriched the educated elite of the Russian Empire. The question of the reproduction of the elite of the Russian Empire of the 18th century is closely connected with the study of intergenerational social mobility. This problem is dealt with in the article on the example of changes in the social composition and career strategies of students of the Academic Gymnasium. In all, ca. 2000 people are known who entered the Gymnasium of the Academy of Sciences from 1726 to 1765. 424 of them were of noble origin, which is 21% of the total number of the students. The number children of generals (1‒5 grades in the Table of Ranks) and the highest nobility in the total number of noblemen was 72 people (17% of the established number of students of noble origin). The probability of joining the elite of the Russian Empire from the ordinary gentry was six times smaller than that of the children of members of the elite when it concerns the first five classes of the Table of Ranks, and seven times smaller in the fi rst three ranks. The chances of non-noble people to get into the elite were no more than a fraction of the percentage, and sometimes it was the activities in the fi eld of science and arts that opened up opportunities for career growth. The author of the article comes to the conclusion that for the poor and not particularly noble representatives of the gentry the Academic Gymnasium was the fi rst step in the way to obtain the highest ranks in the Russian Empire. The education obtained in the Gymnasium, the knowledge of languages and the acquisition of general culture undoubtedly served as an important if not the key factor in socialisation and came to be a prerequisite for a successful career.


education, elite, generals, nobility, career advancement, social status, Gymnasium of the Imperial Academy of Sciences


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Information about the author

Feofanov Alexander

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University; 23b Novokuznetskaya st., Moscow 115184, Russian Federation; Associate Professor of the department of History of Russia;
ORCID: 0000-0001-7180-0927;
Email: aleksandr-feofanov@yandex.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.