How Volodya Ulyanov studied at the gymnasium

In 1879, a new student was admitted to the Simbirsk classical gymnasium - Volodya Ulyanov, the son of the director of public schools in the Simbirsk province, Ilya Nikolaevich Ulyanov. Perhaps modern schoolchildren will be interested to know - how did the leader of the world proletariat study, and what subjects did he study?

In order to enter the gymnasium, it was required to pass entrance tests, therefore, a year before this event, Volodya began to study with tutors. It was prepared by teachers V.A. Kalashnikov, I.N. Nikolaev, and V.P. Prushakevich. As a student, Ilyich turned out to be capable, therefore, he passed the entrance exams successfully.

How did the lessons of first-graders in the gymnasium of that time differ from those in a modern school? They studied 28 hours a week, moreover, the main subject was Latin - 8 lessons were assigned to it. 5 hours each were devoted to mathematics and physics, 4 hours each in Russian and French. Three lessons a week were allocated for writing, 2 hours each - for the Law of God and geography. Volodya finished the first grade excellently and even received his first award - a book and a certificate of honor "For good behavior and success."

In the second grade, a new subject was added - German. He also did not cause difficulties for Volodya, he also finished the second grade with excellent marks, again receiving a certificate of honor.

From the third grade, high school students began to study history and ancient Greek. And after the fourth grade, geography was excluded from the program. And in the third and fourth grades, Ulyanov was also an excellent student. His first fours appeared only in the fifth grade - in French and Greek. However, the very next year Volodya corrected these marks to fives, and the testimonial states that he “does very well in all subjects and behaves approximately”.

The last two years in the gymnasium were very difficult for the Ulyanov family. First, his father, Ilya Nikolaevich, dies, and just before the release of Vladimir Ulyanov from the gymnasium, his elder brother Alexander was executed, accused of preparing an attempt on the life of Emperor Alexander III.

Despite these tragic events, the gymnasium student Ulyanov successfully completed his studies. In the final certificate, he had only one four - logically. It is interesting that the headmaster of the gymnasium Fyodor Mikhailovich Kerensky, the father of the future head of the Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky, taught this subject.

You can, of course, blame Fyodor Mikhailovich for "spoiling" the certificate of the son of his former boss, but as subsequent events showed, Kerensky was a man of principle, he did not follow anyone's lead. When Vladimir Ulyanov graduated from the gymnasium, the question arose - is it necessary to award a gold medal to the brother of a state criminal?

In addition, for the admission of a graduate of a gymnasium to a higher educational institution, a positive characteristic was required. It is not difficult to guess what doubts tormented the headmaster of the gymnasium. But Kerensky Sr. did not flinch: he gave a good description, and on the petition for the award of a medal, he wrote with his own hand a resolution: "You cannot refuse to give a medal."

All this helped Ulyanov to enter the law faculty of Kazan University, but he did not study there for long, a few months later he was expelled for participating in student riots. But he did not remain without higher education, in 1891 he passed exams for the course of the law faculty at St. Petersburg University as an external student.