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Tomsk State University is one of the oldest universities in Russia, the first higher educational establishment in the immense area from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean. It was established in 1878 and opened in 1888.
The idea to open the first university in Siberia occurred to the progressive minds in Russia back in 1803, but it was not until the late nineteenth century that it became realistic.
Tomsk was one of the seven cities in Siberia that aspired to the high honour of hosting a university. Eventually, it won. On 28 (16) May in 1878 Emperor Alexander II passed the Decree of the State Council of the Russian Empire permitting the establishment of the Imperial Siberian University in Tomsk. This was the day that put an end to the 75-year-old struggle for a university in Tomsk and marked the beginning of its history: the construction, opening and further development of the ninth higher educational establishment in Russia and the first in Siberia. The construction of the main building of Tomsk Imperial University as well as the first dormitory was made possible thanks to private donations, which in fact, amounted to half of the budget. It is important to mention that simultaneously with the construction, a library was being assembled as well as the materials for some laboratories, museums, the botanical garden with its greenhouse and the herbarium.

This year Tomsk State University has celebrated its 130th birthday, and it is one of the leaeding Russian centre of education, science and culture

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