Dorpat University

Originally founded in 1632 as a Swedish university in present-day Estonia, what became Dorpat University underwent several incarnations before being shuttered in 1710 as the result of defeat in the Great Northern War. The Baltic Germans of the Russian empire reopened it in 1802, and the Russification policies of the late 19th century renamed it Iurev University in 1898; today it is the University of Tartu.

German University

This category includes the universities at Leipzig, Berlin, Dresden, and Jena.

Imperial Alexander University in Finland

Queen Christina of Sweden founded the original university in Turku, when Finland was a part of the Swedish Empire. The Grand Duchy of Finland was subsequently integrated into the Russian empire in 1809, and Tsar Alexander I expanded it. After a fire in Turku, it was transferred to the capital in Helsingfors.

Imperial University of Warsaw

Though technically established in 1816 and initially named for the reigning tsar, Alexander I, the Polish uprising of 1830 prompted his heir, Nicholas I, to close it. Then his heir, Alexander II, reopened it in 1869. However, courses were taught in Russian, and this university had more limited self-governments than the others in the empire.

Kazan University

Chartered in 1804 by Alexander I, the Imperial Kazan University was the center for the study of Eastern languages, until that faculty was moved to St. Petersburg in 1855. Alexander Herzen called it the “caravanserai” for ideas traveling back and forth between Europe and Asia.

Kharkov University

Opened in 1805 on the initiative of local nobleman V. I. Karazin, Kharkov University became an important center of learning in Ukraine. The first curator of the Kharkov Educational District, Seweryn Potocki, was a member of the Polish nobility absorbed into the Russian following the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century.

Moscow University

Tsarevna Elizabeth I, under the guidance of the brilliant polymath Mikhail Lomonosov, decreed this, Russia’s first university, open on January 25, 1755.

New Russia University

Founded by Tsar Alexander I in 1871 as the Richelieu Lyceum, the primary institute of higher learning in the new city of Odessa, it became Novorossiisk University in 1865.

St. Petersburg University

Founded by Peter the Great, associated with the Academy of Sciences, adjacent to it on Vasilevskii Island.

St. Vladimir University

Founded in Kiev by Nicholas I, in 1834, when Sergei Uvarov was his Minister of Education. Essentially, this “replaced” the Imperial University of Vilnius, which had begun in 1579 as a Jesuit College and was the third oldest in Eastern Europe. After the Polish rebellion of 1830, though, it lost its charter.