In March 1869, student unrest shook the university again but on a smaller scale.By 1869, 2,588 students had graduated from the university.By 1894, 9,212 students had graduated from the university.Among the renowned scholars of the second half of the 19th century, affiliated with the university were mathematician Pafnuty Chebyshev, physicist Heinrich Lenz, chemists Dmitri Mendeleev and Aleksandr Butlerov, embryologist Alexander Kovalevsky, physiologist Ivan Sechenov and pedologist Vasily Dokuchaev. S.), on the campus of the university, Alexander Popov publicly demonstrated transmission of radio waves for the first time in history. S.), there were 2,099 students enrolled in the Faculty of Law, 1,149 students in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, 212 students in the Faculty of Oriental Languages and 171 students in the Faculty of History and Philology.During 1861–1862, there was student unrest in the university, and it was temporarily closed twice during the year.The students were denied freedom of assembly and placed under police surveillance, and public lectures were forbidden. After the unrest, in 1865, only 524 students remained.However, Pyotr Pletnyov was reappointed Rector and ultimately became the longest-serving rector of Saint Petersburg University (1840–1861).
In 1849, after the Spring of Nations, the Senate of the Russian Empire decreed that the Rector should be appointed by the Minister of National Enlightenment rather than elected by the Assembly of the university.In 1830, Tsar Nicholas returned the entire building of the Twelve Collegia back to the university, and courses resumed there.In 1835, a new Charter of the Imperial Universities of Russia was approved.It is disputed by the university administration whether Saint Petersburg State University or Moscow State University is the oldest higher education institution in Russia.While the latter was established in 1755, the former, which has been in continuous operation since 1819, claims to be the successor of the university established along with the Academic Gymnasium and the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences on January 24, 1724, by a decree of Peter the Great.
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In 1880, the Ministry of National Enlightenment forbade students to marry and married persons could not be admitted.