Возврат на главную страницу Возврат на главную страницу Возврат на главную страницу Возврат на главную страницу Возврат на главную страницу
Entries / Free Economic Society

Free Economic Society

Categories / Science. Education/Learned Societies

FREE ECONOMIC SOCIETY, the Imperial Free Economic Society for the Encouragement of Farming and Housebuilding in Russia, the oldest Russian scientific society. It was founded in 1765 by large landowners striving for higher agricultural efficiency; Empress Catherine II encouraged the undertaking. The society collected information on corn trade, timber industry, bee farming, cattle breeding, cotton growing, soil conditions, etc. It published over 280 volumes of Proceedings between 1766 and 1915, appendices thereto, and periodicals such as Lesnoy Zhurnal, Zemsky Ezhegodnik, and Pchelovodny Listok, as well as the findings of the first statistical and geographical studies in Russia. It also arranged agricultural fairs, public lectures, etc. The society consisted of three departments from 1859: agriculture, agricultural techniques and mechanics, and agricultural statistics and political economy, the departments were subsequently renamed. It had Okhtinskaya Farm as a test field and owned a part of Petrovsky Island in 1801-36. The society's library numbered over 200,000 volumes in the late 19th century and now forms a part of the Russian National Library. The society included a Literacy Committee, Museum of National Industry, and Museum of Models and Machines, as well as mineral, soil, botanical, and zoological collections, A. T. Bolotov, G. R. Derzhavin, N. S. Mordvinov, K. D. Kavelin, D. I. Mendeleev, A. M. Butlerov, A. N. Beketov, V. V. Dokuchaev, P. P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky, Y. E. Yanson, M. M. Kovalevsky, et al. participating in its activities at various times. Opposed to the government, representatives of the liberal democratic trend of the Russian economic thought grouped around the society from 1860s, which resulted in sanctions against the society in 1890s with a number of committees closed, public meetings were discontinued in 1900, and the society activities placed under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture and State Properties. The building held the meetings of the Petersburg Council of Workers' Deputies in autumn of 1905. The society was closed in 1915, its council continued to operate though. It resumed its activities after the February Revolution of 1917 but was finally dissolved in 1919. The society was first situated on Palace Square where the Main Staff are now located, moving to 33 Zabalkansky Avenue (today, Moskovsky Avenue) in 1844, the building constructed in 1806-10 and reconstructed by an unknown architect in 1836. The building now accommodates a part of the University of Culture and Arts, the wing was occupied by Plekhanov's House from 1928.

References: Кулябко-Корецкий Н. Г. Краткий исторический очерк деятельности Имп. Вольного экономического общества со времени его основания. СПб., 1897; Ковалевский М. К стопятидесятилетнему юбилею Вольного экономического общества // Вестн. Европы. 1915. Дек. С. 389-399; Орешкин В. В. Вольное экономическое общество в России, 1765-1917: Ист.-экон. очерк. М., 1963; Яковкина Н. И. Вольное экономическое общество в Санкт-Петербурге // Петербургские чтения-96. СПб., 1996. С. 90-92; Библиографический справочник Трудов ВЭО, 1765-2000: В 4 т. М., 2000.

O. N. Ansberg.

Beketov Andrey Nikolaevich
Bolotov Andrey Timofeevich
Butlerov Alexander Mikhailovich
Catherine II, Empress
Derzhavin Gavriil Romanovich
Dokuchaev Vasily Vasilievich
Kavelin Konstantin Dmitrievich
Kovalevsky Maxim Maximovich
Mendeleev Dmitry Ivanovich
Mordvinov Nikolay Semenovich, Count
Semenov-Tyan-Shansky Veniamin Petrovich
Yanson Yuly Eduardovich

Dvortsovaya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Moskovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 33

Ковалевский М. М. К 150-летнему юбилею Императорского Вольного экономического общества // Вестн. Европы, 1915
Орешкин В. В. Вольное экономическое общество в России, 1765-1917: Ист.-экон. очерк. М., 1963
Кулябко-Корецкий Н. Г. Краткий исторический очерк деятельности Имп. Вольного экономического общества со времени его основания. СПб., 1897
Библиографический справочник Трудов ВЭО, 1765 - 2000: В 4 т. М.
Яковкина Н. И. Вольное экономическое общество в Санкт-Петербурге // Петербургские чтения-96. СПб., 1996

The subject Index
General Staff Building
February Revolution of 1917
House of Plekhanov, department of Russian Science Library
Literacy Committee


Beketov A.N., (1825-1902), botanist, morphologist

BEKETOV Andrey Nikolaevich (1825-1902), botanist, morphologist, Corresponding Member (1891) and Honorary Member (1895) of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Grandfather of A.A. Blok

Bobrinsky A. A. (1852-1927), public figure

BOBRINSKY Alexey Alexandrovich (1852, St. Petersburg 1927) Count, statesman and public figure, major land-owner, businessman, archaeologist, historian, senator (1896), Arch-Hoffmeister (1916). He was a son of Count Alexander A. Bobrinsky

Dokuchaev Central Museum of Soil Science

DOKUCHAEV CENTRAL MUSEUM OF SOIL SCIENCE (6 Birzhevoy Passage) is the first ever museum of soil science. The museum was established in 1902 on the initiative of V. V. Dokuchaev as the Soil Museum of the Free Economic Society

House of Plekhanov, department of Russian Science Library

HOUSE OF PLEKHANOV (33/1 Forth Krasnoarmeiskaya Street), a sector of the Department of Manuscripts of the Russian Science Library. It was formed in 1928 as Department No

Kochubey V.P. (1768-1834), statesman

KOCHUBEY Viktor Pavlovich (1768-1834), Prince (1831), statesman, Chancellor for Internal Affairs (1834), Honorary Member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1818). Maternal nephew of Prince A. A. Bezborodko, riding on his coattails

Kulibin I.P., (1735-1818), mechanic and inventor

KULIBIN Ivan Petrovich (1735-1818), self-taught mechanic and inventor. In 1764-67, he created a watch with a complicated mechanism in the shape of an egg. After presenting the watch to Empress Catherine II in 1769 (the watch is now part of the State

Libraries (entry)

LIBRARIES. The first library of St. Petersburg was founded in 1714 by the decree of Tsar Peter the Great as His Majesty’s Library; later on, it formed the basis of the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Literacy Committee

LITERACY COMMITTEE, St. Petersburg, founded in 1861 on the initiative of S. S. Lashkarev as a part of the Free Economic Society in order to contribute to encourage an increase in education

Mordvinov N.S. (1754-1845), Admiral, statesman

MORDVINOV Nikolay Semenovich (1754-1845, St. Petersburg), statesman and military figure, economist, admiral (1797), honorary member of Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1826) and Russian Academy (1818). The son of S.I

Moskovsky Avenue

MOSKOVSKY AVENUE (in 1918-50 - Mezhdunarodny Avenue, in 1950-56 - Stalina Avenue, after I.V. Stalin), from Sennaya Square to Pobedy Square, one of the main thoroughfares of St

Obolensky V. A. (1869-1950), public figure

OBOLENSKY Vladimir Andreevich (1869, St. Petersburg - 1950) Prince, public and political figure, memoirist. On graduating from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of St

Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies

PETERSBURG SOVIET OF WORKERS' DEPUTIES, formed on 13 October 1905 during the General Strike of October 1905. The founding sitting of the Soviet, with the participation of 40 delegates from factories and plants from all over the capital

Revolution of 1905-07

REVOLUTION OF 1905-07. The first people's bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia. Caused by socioeconomic contradictions and the country's political development following the reforms of 1860s-70s

Shuvalov Family

SHUVALOV FAMILY, nobles and counts (since 1746), known since the 16th century. I.I. Shuvalov was a favourite of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna's. His brothers were Alexander Ivanovich Shuvalov (1710-71), a Count (1746), statesman

Sidorov M. K. (1823-1887), explorer of the Russian North, public figure

SIDOROV Mikhail Konstantinovich (1823-1887), entrepreneur, public figure, first-guild merchant. He was a student at Arkhangelskaya Gymnasium but failed to finish the course of studies