• In the early part of the reign of Alexander I (1801-1825), the emperor sought to reform Russia through the creation of new European-style institutions. The aim was to ensure that Russia’s great-power status would be retained through updating its institutions, in line with a reform impulse dating back to Peter the Great and before. Among the new institutions formed in the first few years of the nineteenth century were ministries, such as of education, based on the centralized French system, as well as new universities based on the German model of the research university. German universities, such as Göttingen, were marked by university autonomy and the creation of a public, although one that might be limited to professors and teachers, capable of judging the merits of its own research in an open way. Both the ministries and the universities sought to shape a public that could respond to their needs.
    This chapter argues that these new institutions led to a conflict between an idea of the public as consumers of knowledge provided by the ministries and an idea of the regional public as producers of knowledge, fostered by the new research universities.