The all-male university served as a key institution in Tsar Nicholas I’s project of civilizing Russia’s subjects. By usurping the universities’ institutional autonomy granted by Tsar Alexander I, and erecting systems of surveillance and discipline, the autocracy of Nicholas I attempted to educate and transform unruly boys into obedient, pious and proper men. The Nicholaevan system thus was never uniformly repressive. Instead, the Tsar enlisted officials and institutions to participate in the project of creating respectable men — imbued with the administrative ideal of masculinity — to serve the regime as teachers, doctors, administrators, and soldiers after graduation. In these civilian and military posts they were expected to spread autocratic values into the far corners of the Empire.
KeywordsPolite Society Institutional Autonomy European History Military Post Multiple Allegiance
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