The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Moscow State University

M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russian: Московский Государственный Университет имени М.В.Ломоносова, often abbreviated МГУ, MSU, MGU) is one of the largest and oldest universities in Russia, founded in 1755. As of 2004, the university has some 4,000 staff teaching 31,000 students and 7,000 postgraduates.


University history

The university was established on January 25 (January 12 old style), 1755 by a decree of Russian Empress Elizabeth. The actual studies began on April 26. January 25 is still celebrated as the Students' Day in Russia.

Originally allocated in the Principal Medicine Store on the Red Square, the university was transferred by Catherine the Great to the present Neoclassical building on the other side of the Mokhovaya Street.

In 1905 a social-democratic organization was created at the university, calling for the tsar to be overthrown and for Russia to be turned into a republic. The Tsarist government repeatedly began closing the university. In 1911, in a protest of the introduction of troops onto the campus and mistreatment of certain professors, 130 scientists and professors resigned en masse, including prominent ones such as Nikolay Dimitrievich Zelinskiy, Pyotr Nikolaevich Lebedev and Sergei Alekseevich Chaplygin. Thousands of students were expelled in 1911 as well.

After the Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917, the school opened up to allow the children of the proletariat and peasants, not just those of the more well-to-do petit bourgeois. In 1919, tuition fees were done away with, and a preparatory facility was created for children of the working class so that they would be able to pass the admission examinations. The university was renamed in 1940 in honor of its founder Mikhail Lomonosov.

MSU Main Tower
MSU Main Tower

Main building

Since 1953 the main departments are situated on Vorob'evy Gory (Sparrow Hills, Lenin Hills in 19351999). It was designed by architect Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev . In the post-war era, Stalin ordered seven huge tiered neoclassic towers built around the city. The MSU main building was by far the largest. It was also the tallest building in Europe at that time. The central tower being 240m and 36-stories high, was flanked by four huge wings of student and faculty accommodations. It is said to contain a total of 33 kilometers of corridors and 5000 rooms. The star on the top is large enough to provide a small room and a viewing platform; it weighs 12 tons. The building's facades are ornamented with giant clocks, barometers, and thermometers, statues, carved wheat sheaves and Soviet crests. It stands before a terrace featuring statues of male and female students gazing optimistically and confidently into the future. The building was largely constructed by prisoners, including German POWs. According to one legend, a desperate prisoner fashioned wings for himself from two boards and tried to soar off the top of the structure to freedom. The legend says he did not make it.


  • Department of Mechanics and Mathematics
  • Department of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Materials Science
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Fundamental Medicine
  • Department of Soil Science
  • Department of Geology
  • Department of Geography
  • Department of History
  • Department of Philology
  • Department of Foreign Languages
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Law
  • Department of Journalism
  • Department of Psychology
  • The Institute of Asian and African Studies
  • Department of Public Administration
  • Higher School of Business Administration
  • Department of Fine and Performing Arts
  • Department of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics
  • Moscow School of Economics
  • Department of Education

The Language Building
The Language Building


Famous alumni and faculty

See also

External links

Last updated: 05-06-2005 14:59:56