Ministero dei Beni delle Attivitą Culturali e del Turismo Direzione Generale Biblioteche e Istituti Culturali

Academy of St. Petersburg

Academy of St. PeterburgThe founding of the Academy of St. Petersburg (Academia Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitanae) in 1724-25 was the culmination of the long and hard work made by two great men of the time, the philosopher and scientist Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz and Peter I Emperor of Russia. Peter, in the very first years of his realm, decided to travel in Europe in order to earn knowledge in west science and culture. In the same time Peter began a correspondence regarding science in Russia with Leibniz, who wanted to promote instruction and scientific development in the country by opening libraries, museums, botanic gardens, schools and academies the most important of which was the one instituted in St. Petersburg. In a letter written in 1716 he drew a proposal to renew the instruction system in the Empire of Russia through the creation of three levels of instruction: schools, universities and academies.

The following year the emperor visited the Academy of Paris and participated in one of its
meeting. On the 22th January 1724, Peter approved a document to dispose a science academy in St. Petersburg based on the French model: a small group of scientists directly supported by the Emperor.
Peter died the 28th January 1725 before seeing the institution of his academy, therefore his widow signed the decree of foundation.

A committee made ​​up of teachers promulgated in 1803 a new charter that attributed greater administrative power to the Academy and its members.The French language was accepted, next to the Russian and Latin, as the language of the Academy; moreover French was included within the official languages of the Academy, that also changed its name from Academia Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitanae to Académie Impériale des Sciences, while the revue published by the Academy changed from"Nova Acta Academiae Scientiarum imperialis Petropolitanae" to "Mémoires de l'Académie Imperiale des Sciences de St. Pétersbourg".
The other big break came, of course, in 1917, when the Revolution and the subsequent civil war led to a decline of the Academy. Later, in 1925, the Soviet government moved the Academy in Moscow.

The Academy lost part of its prestige in 1917 with the Russian Revolution. In 1925 the Academy moved to Moscow.
The Academy of St. Petersburg has currently changed its name in Russian Academy of Sciences and it is no longer based in St. Petersburg.