20 ноября 1905 Альфонс Шанявский завещал Городской думе капитал и дом для основания Народного университета

The best people of Russia realized the necessity of scientific development and education for people. Major-General Alfonse Shanyavsky was one of them. Owner of gold mines, Shanyavsky not only theoretically understood the necessity of public education, but donated a part of his large income to educational establishments. On November 20, 1905, he drew up and signed his will granting money and his house in Arbat Street to the State Duma for founding a public university there. In 1908 his will was followed: in October classes started at two departments – the four-year one of popular science meant for those filling in their secondary education gaps, and three-year academic department, where the students were taught under university programs. Having changed several buildings, the university finally acquired a house of its own. The respective building was constructed in Miussky Square by architect Ivanov-Shitz. Its premises housed 11,000 students. It is a pity that the educational establishment could not enjoy having its own premises for a long time, as the university was closed in late 1918. The Academic Department was affiliated with Moscow State University, while the one of popular science became a part of the Sverdlov Communist University. The University of Communist Party owned the building built for Shanyavsky’s educational establishment until 1991. Now, it is the building of the Russian State University for Humanities.