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The Imperial Military Academy of the General Staff was opened

8 December 1832

On November 26 (December 8), 1832 in St. Petersburg there was opened the Imperial Military Academy “to educate officers for the service in the General Staff” and “for better education of the army”. After the death of the emperor Nikolai I it was named after him.

The Academy project was designed by the adjutant-general baron A.A. Jomini as a part of the military education institutions’ reform started on the initiative of Nikolai I in 1826 in order to provide Russia with professional military personnel able to become a support for the throne. Initially it was intended just to improve the system of military training in the current educational institutions. A series of wars during Nikolai reign however demonstrated the need to create a higher military school that would fulfill not only educational functions but also scientific ones. Thus the idea came to organize a military academy where a wide range of military and related disciplines would be taught.

The Academy at once took the central place in the system of military education in Russia. Among the professors were the eminent military theorists and historians: A.K. Baiov, N.S. Golitsyn, M.I. Dragomirov, G.A. Leer, D.F. Maslovsky, N.V. Medem, D.A. Milyutin, A.Z. Myshlaevsky, A.K. Puzyrevsky and others. They devoted much attention to the strategy, tactics and military history.

As the new institution was intended to supply the army with the higher officers, there were made high demands of those entering the Academy. The Academy accepted the officers from all arms of the service not younger than 18 years old and having ranks not higher than a captain of the army or a staff-captain of the guard or artillery, and the sappers experienced in real service. The Academy graduates having successfully accomplished a two year course of theoretic and practical training on the main or geodesic faculty were early promoted to a higher rank and obtained the right to serve in the General Staff. From 1894 the majority of the graduates were sent to serve in the active army in order to introduce the military knowledge to soldiers. Those wishing to serve in the General Staff from that time on had to take a supplementary course.

Those who had completed the whole course usually held later the highest command posts. Among the graduates were N.N. Obruchaev, F.F. Radetsky, M.D. Skobelev, N.G. Stoletov, A. V. Kolchak, A.I. Denikin, P.N. Vrangel, M.D. Bonch-Bruevich, I.I. Vazetis, S.S. Kamenev, B.M. Shaposhnikov, V.N. Egoriev, A.K. Klimovich, A.I. Kork, A.E. Snesarev, etc. From 1832 to 1918 the Academy had educated 4 532 officers of the Russian army and a few tens of officers of the Bulgarian and Serbian armies.

In the beginning of 1918 the Imperial Nikolai military academy was evacuated to Kazan where its personnel joined the admiral A.V. Kolchak army.

In 1921 the Academy ceased to exist and was reestablished in 1936 already in Moscow.

The buildings which earlier belonged to the General Staff Academy are now occupied by the Military University of Communication.

Lit.: Глиноецкий Н. П. Исторический очерк Николаевской академии Генерального штаба. СПб., 1882; Каменев А. И. История подготовки офицерских кадров в России. М., 1990. То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:

From the Presidential library materials:

Глиноецкий Н. П. История Русского генерального штаба. Т. 2. СПб., 1894. Гл. 14—15.

Микулин И. А. Замечания по стратегическим темам дополнительного курса Николаевской академии Генерального штаба в 1889 году: М. И. Драгомирова, А. Н. Куропаткина, А. К. Пузыревского, Д. А. Никельна, М. А. Газенкампфа, П. К. Гудим-Левковича, Н. Н. Сухотина, К. Н. Дурона, П. О. Щербова-Нефедовича, Л. Д. Евреинова, В. А. Сухомлинова, П. А. Плеве, Б. С. Шимановского, А. Ф. Редигера, В. Д. Суровцева, Н. П. Михневича, А. И. Макшеева, А. М. Золотарева, Н. Ф. Крузенштерна. СПб., 1909;

Милютин Д. А. Курс военной географии и военной статистики, преподаваемый в императорской Военной Академии Генерального Штаба подполковником Милютиным. Кавказский край. СПб., 1846;

Положение о Николаевской академии Генерального штаба. СПб., 1880.