Moscow State University Marks Its 255th Anniversary
Moscow University that subsequently became Russia's largest higher educational establishment and one of the centres in world scholarship was opened 255 years ago, Voice of Russia reports.
On the 7th of May 1755, Professor Nikolai Popovsky who delivered the first lecture to 30 students said: "There is no idea that cannot be expressed in the Russian language". This was a bold thought because at the time, Latin was the academic language in the country. However, Professor Popovsky was far-sighted.
After a few centuries Russian has become not only the language of great discoveries but also one of the five official languages of the United Nations. To this end, Moscow University has made an outstanding contribution by training a large number of renowned scientists and public figures.
Unlike the European universities, the first Russian university was secular. It had no theological faculty and was not subjected to the Church's censorship. Undoubtedly, such subjects as the Law of God occupied a significant place in the curriculum but at the same time, they were up-bringing rather than educative. Later, the great Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev was just to note the following: "Knowledge without up-bringing is a sword in the hands of a mad".
The opening of Moscow University laid the foundation for promoting independent scientific ideas, says the director of the Russian History Institute, a graduate from Moscow State University, Andrei Sakharov.
"It was an important event from the standpoint of the development of a civil society," says Andrei Sakharov. "The university is a place where one can acquire knowledge, independence, freedom and scientific skills. Freedom and independence are sprouts of civil conscience and Russia's civil society," Andrei Sakharov said.
From the very beginning, the university education was democratic. When the founder of the university, Mikhail Lomonosov was alive, 30 students and 100 pupils of the university's high school were maintained by the treasury. They were talented young people from various social classes.
At present, Moscow University consists of 9 scientific research institutes, 40 faculties and 300 departments, where almost 50 thousand students and post-graduate students study. It has concluded agreements on cooperation with over 60 foreign centres and universities. Over 15 thousand foreign students have graduated from the university since it started admitting foreigners in 1946. Over 2 thousand students and post graduate students from many countries study at Moscow State University annually.