Background. A noticeable impact of the Crimean war (1853–1856) on the development of Russia in the second half of the 19th century demands attentive studying of the events and processes occurred, including in the provinces. This issue is insufficiently studied in Russian historiography in general and in Volga-Ural region in particular. The aim of our study is to examine the views of educators on behalf of the pre-reform educated society regarding the war and its disasters that befell thefamilies of Black Sea mariners.
Materials and methods. The research problems were solved through studying 1) documents of Kazan educational district from the National Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan about collecting donations at educational institutions, 2) memoirs of contemporaries. The methodology was based on the theory of modernization. The indicator of this process in Russia was the movement of the Russian society, including the provincial one, along the path of elaboration of advanced norms of community life and morality, new forms of social charity and solidarity, growth of national self-awareness and civic maturity. According to the principle of historicism, manifestations of charity, patriotism, modernization are considered in the specific conditions occurred in Russia on the eve of Great Reforms. The methods of source study, historiography and content analysis, adopted in Russian science, were used.
Results. The study of the participation of professors, teachers, other employees of educational institutions in common assistance to seamen and their families was conducted taking into account their social status and financial situation, the level of educational institutions and the territorial location of Volga and Ural provinces. It has been shown that this help was a part of the wide patriotic movement which promoted the public rise in the country in general and the forthcoming transformations.
Conclusions. Traditions of the Orthodox mercy and State paternalism were demanded in the society at the threshold of a decisive modernization leap. They played a positive role not only in supporting the military efforts of and the provincial society supported the government course of the new Emperor Alexander II, including his reformist intentions.
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