Uvarov, Sergey Semyonovich°

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UVAROV, SERGEY SEMYONOVICH ° (1786–1855), minister of education in Russia (1833–49), and president of the Academy of Sciences. In 1846 he was granted the title of count. Uvarov originated the political slogan Pravoslaviye, Samoderzhaviye, Narodnost ("Orthodoxy [i.e., of the Eastern Church], Autocracy, Nationhood"), a slogan which was accepted by the Russian "Slavophiles," who adopted it as the catchword of their program. As the minister of education, along with his other duties, Uvarov concerned himself with Jewish education, considering it part of the Jewish problem in general. In a memorandum to Czar *Nicholas i, he noted that many governments who had tried for generations to solve the Jewish problem through persecution and coercion had finally abandoned these methods for an approach based on wielding influence by reason. He concluded that it was incumbent upon the Russian government to adopt the latter method, and stated that nations could not be exterminated, especially a nation which during its modern history "stood at Mount Golgotha." The Jews were to be "reformed" and through education brought closer to the general population. In order to achieve this, Uvarov proposed the establishment of a network of Jewish government schools at various levels, in the *Pale of Settlement, to be maintained by the special taxes paid by the Jews. In 1841 he invited Max *Lilienthal to act as adviser and director of the program. Uvarov and Lilienthal planned to invite 200 teachers from abroad to assist them in their endeavors and also called upon Jewish scholars and intellectuals abroad (including I.M. *Jost, L. *Philippson, A. *Geiger, I.N. *Mannheimer, S.D. *Luzzatto, and others) to come to Russia to participate in the fulfillment of the program. In 1842 a "Committee of Rabbis" (or "Committee for the Education of the Jews") was convened in order to give an official cachet to the project; its members were R. Mendel *Schneersohn of Lubavich, R. Isaac b. Ḥayyim *Volozhiner, Y.Y. Halperin, a banker of Berdichev, and Bezalel *Stern, the director of the Jewish school in Odessa.

In 1844 the bill providing for the establishment of Jewish government schools was ratified. With certain amendments which were made during the 1870s, it remained in force until the end of the czarist regime. Uvarov considered that the Talmud was the source of all evil, and a corrupting influence on the Jews, and he attempted to minimize this by reducing the hours given to its instruction. He did not entirely prohibit the study of the Talmud so as not to turn the Jews against his educational endeavors. Uvarov sought to gain the sympathy of Moses *Montefiore and I.A. *Cremieux, and although he invited them to attend the above conference they did not do so. In 1846 Montefiore visited Russia and met Uvarov. Uvarov was anxious to prove to Montefiore that he intended only to promote the welfare of the Jews and he complained to Montefiore about the religious fanaticism and ignorance of the Jews of Russia. Uvarov's attitude toward contemporary Hebrew literature was, however, favorable, and the maskilim in Russia welcomed his program.


Dubnow, Hist Russ, index; Klausner, Sifrut, 2–4 (1952–532), Russian index in each volume; M.G. Morgulis, Voprosy yevreyskoy zhizni (1889); P.S. Marek, Ocherki po istorii prosveshcheniya yevreyev v Rosii (1909).

[Baruch Shohetman]