The relevance of the study is determined by an examination of the processes of reforming the education system in the Russian Empire between 1726 and 1917, which was carried out with the aim of modernizing the society and overcoming universal illiteracy. It is the degree of development of the education system that ensures the level of literacy, education of the population, forms certain personality qualities, which contributes to the state’s economic development and social growth. In this context, issues related to organizing education for the peoples of the Russian Empire, which was implemented within the framework of the doctrine of State integrity of a multinational State, deserve special attention in a multi-ethnic state, historically formed not by migrants but by local residents. Only Russia has such experience, and it needs to be studied. Subject of study. Reform of the education system from 1726 to 1917. The purpose of the study. Study of the experience of the Russian Empire in organizing educational activities aimed at forming interethnic harmony, preserving the integrity of a multinational state. Research tasks. Identification and description of periods of educational reform in the Russian Empire. Research methods. In solving specific research problems, comparative historical, biographical, synchronous, and diachronic methods were used. Sources of information. The implementation of the research tasks required a comprehensive identification of both archival and published sources: in the Russian State Historical Archive (RGIA), in the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF). In the Russian State Library (RGB), the authors reviewed the holdings of the Ministry of Education and its Departments, verbatim reports of the State Duma, personal funds of the Ministers of Education (V.G. Glazov, Peter M. von Kaufmann, I.I. Tolstoy, A.N. Schwartz). In the scientific archive of the Russian Academy of Education (RAO), documents were revealed in the collection of historical documents and the legacy of prominent teachers, public figures V.P. Vakhterov, N.V. Chekhov and others. Results of the study. The materials revealed and described are introduced into scientific circulation in a systematic way for the first time. They help restore the stages of formation 6 of the education system in the Russian Empire and the results of its reform. The systematization of these diverse sources, complementing and clarifying each other, made it possible to restore a fairly solid picture of the formation of public education in the Russian Empire. The sources described contain valuable material for studying the development of education in the pre-revolutionary period, reveal the experience of the state in the formation of interethnic harmony, preserving the integrity of a multinational state. Findings of the study. The need to improve the literacy and education of the population of the state determines the economic, political, socio-cultural development of a multinational society. The effectiveness of modernization is more dependent on, and determined by, reforms in education, in the formation of a certain type of personality, which must be considered in a historical context. The study was conducted in 2021 by the employees of the Research Center for National Education Problems of the RANEPA Federal Institute for the Development of Education (FIRO).
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