by Yevgeniya SYSOEVA, Cand. Sc. (History), Lomonosov Moscow State University
In the 18th century Russia faced formation of a New Time culture, which fundamentally differed from medieval culture. The human individual was gradually liberating from the oppression of ascetism and destruction becoming a subject of history. The value of creative activities and the role of education and science increased essentially in social progress. The views of the great scientist and encyclopedist, member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1745 Mikhail Lomonosov, whose 300th birth anniversary we mark this year, were forming just under such conditions.
The idea of a decisive importance of sciences and education for the country's development dominated in the minds of educated countrymen at that time. The desire to democratize the education system and, above all, eliminate social class restrictions became one of the trends in their practical activity. Lomonosov tried to put this idea into life by establishing a Moscow University (1755) and intending to afford an opportunity for education to representatives of all social classes. According to him, "the student is more valued, when he knows much, and it does not matter who his parents are." However, in the conditions of monarchy such idea could not be realized, even in the form of enlightened absolutism, as only noblemen and raznochintsi (not highborn intellectuals) could get higher education not serfs.
While working out the Regulations for a grammar school at Moscow University in 1755, Lomonosov added to it the following provision: serfs can be enrolled, if a landlord "wishes anyone of his people to be taught iberal sciences at the grammar school or university, if he sees a special interest in him... and renounces his right and power, which he had over him before". But there existed a kind of a trial period for such people, "if he turns to be unfit (unapt to learn.--Auth.), he should be returned to his landl ... Читать далее