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Mining School (today the G.V. Plekhanov St. Petersburg State Mining Institute) was founded in St. Petersburg

1 November 1773

On October 21 (November 1) 1773 in St. Petersburg by the order of Catherine II was founded the first in Russia and the second worldwide higher technical institution — the Mining School (today the G.V. Plekhanov St. Petersburg State Mining Institute (Technical University) for training specialists in mining operations, metallurgy and metalworking industries.

The immediate cause for the establishment of the St. Petersburg Mining Institute was an address of Perm ore industrialist Izmail Tasimov, who in 1771 appealed to the Berg Collegium for permission to develop state-owned copper mines and establish the Mining School on the same grounds as Cadet Corps and Academies were being established. To maintain the school industrialists promised to pay half of a quarter-copeck piece from the amount of money received from each pood of delivered ore. In this regard, the Berg Collegium worked out a proposal “On Foundation of the Mining School”, which was soon approved by the Senate and submitted to Catherine II as a report “On Foundation of the Mining School under the Berg Collegium”.

The Senate’s report read, that “… the current state of the Plant Board differs dramatically from the former one; when in the past it was established only for building the plants, today it should care for construction of the plants, their solidity, better performance and production of mining work, precise classification of metals based on their value and quality; thus it will be impossible without trained specialists and qualified factory managers…”.

To the report was attached a plan of the first higher educational institution establishment, which suggested to call “this institution the Mining Cadet Corps, where the youth will be prepared merely for the service in the Mining Corps”. The plan contained the following items: On Acceptance to the Corps; On the Number and Living Quarters of Cadets; On Upkeep of Cadets; On Clothes; On Compulsory Sciences for Mining Engineers (arithmetic and algebra, geometry and mine survey, mineralogy and metallurgy, drawing, chemistry, mechanics and hydraulics, physics); On Examinations; On Graduation of Cadets from the Corps; On Privately Studying Cadets.

On January 19 (31) 1804 the school was reorganized into the Mining Cadet Corps. To the project of A.N. Voronikhin was launched a construction of a complex of new buildings and by 1811 on the Neva embankment appeared a grand architectural ensemble, whose main entrance was decorated with a twelve-column classical portico and sculptures “Heracles suffocates Antaeus” and “The Rape of Proserpina” by S.S. Pimenov and V.I. Demut-Malinovsky. In March 1833 the Mining Cadet Corps was renamed the Institute of the Corps of Mining Engineers, and since 1866 it has been known as the Mining Institute.

In 1956 the mining institute was renamed after its former student G.V.  Plekhanov, founder of Marxism in Russia.

Among the university’s graduates were such prominent scholars as a geologist A.P. Karpinsky, metallurgist M.A. Pavlov, a crystallographer, mineralogist, and mathematician Ye.S. Feodorov, a geologist, geographer, and writer V.A. Obruchev and many others.

The G.V. Plekhanov Mining Institute is preparing specialists in geological, geophysical, mining, mine shaft construction, mining-electro mechanic, metallurgical and other fields. What is more, the Institute houses a Mining Museum with a unique collection of minerals and a library, which holds about 1,5 m storage units. The museum represents about 300 various meteorites, as well as the 450 kilos part of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite, fossils of ancient animals, who lived over 400 million years ago, a collection of unusual crystal forms, precious stones and gems.

Lit.: Иванов А. В. Воспоминания о Горном кадетском корпусе. 1815-1822 // Воспоминания бывших питомцев Горного института. СПб., 1873. С. 93-163; История создания и развития Санкт-Петербургского государственного горного института. СПб., 1998; Первое высшее техническое заведение России Санкт-Петербургский государственный горный институт (технический университет). СПб., 1997.

Национальный минерально-сырьевой университет «Горный»: сайт. Б. д. URL: http://www.spmi.ru/.

From the Presidential library materials:

Complete collection of laws of the Russian Empire, since 1649. T. 19: 1770-1774. № 14048. St. Petersburg., 1830. С. 837;

Minerals, land and vegetation resources // Territory of Russia: collection.