240th anniversary of National Mineral Resources University «Mining»!


G.V. Rudenko, associate professor, Ph.D.
National Mineral Resources University (Mining university), St. Petersburg

Key words: mining university, history, physical culture, professional training.

In 2013 National Mineral Resources University (Mining university) celebrates its 240th anniversary.

Mining University is one of the oldest in the world and first in Russia higher technical educational institution.

Today Mining University is the main innovation area of the Russian mineral resource sector. Over 16,000 Russian and foreign students learn here on nine faculties.

The success of the university was marked by dozens of government awards, hundreds of medals of the most prestigious international exhibitions, thousands of introduced invention patents.

Mining University has been providing the best academic education in all spheres of activity of the mineral resource sector of Russia for 240 years including: mining, geology, construction, metallurgy, land surveying and ecology. The university is implementing all levels of higher professional education in the areas of bachelor's and master's programmes, engineering specializations for Russia, 53 countries in Asia, Africa, the USA and Europe. Hundreds of its specialists have worked abroad in universities over the last decade.

The University, being equipped in accordance with the modern research standards, is the leading organization in a number of international, federal and inter-branch research programs. Mining University collaborates with the educational organizations of leading countries; it has academic and business communications both with Russian industrial leaders, such as Surgutneftegas, Norilsk Nickel, ALROSA, Kinef, Gazprom Dobycha Urengoy, SUEK Kuzbass, PhosAgro, and with well-known foreign companies, including De Beers, Carl Zeiss, Phoenix Geophysics.

Mining University possesses a network of specialized classes equipped with modern domestic and foreign facilities and devices. This contributes to improvement of the educational and methodoloical work, and to solving the main goal of the University – provision of two components of the educational process, personnel and scientific.

A significant contribution to ensuring the quality of one of these components - personnel - is being made by the physical education department of the Mining University, the history of which is receding into the remote past.

Physical education was first mentioned at Mining University in1804 when Mining School was renamed to Mining Cadet Corps. It was assigned “to teach music, dances and fencing”, along with other disciplines. Students learnt fencing under the supervision of experienced “feitmeisters”. Besides, two days a week were devoted to dances and marching. During winter students walked along nearby streets.

In summer students practiced in the area specially equipped for games. They played bat and threw a ball to a goal. The competitions in squadron and rapier were carried out in the Conference hall by the final examinations which became public since 1817. The winners were distinguished by weapons.

In 1843 Mining Cadet Corps was renamed to Institute of Mining Engineers Corps. Gymnastics was introduced, along with dances and fencing. “A special attention” was paid to military exercises.

The military discipline peculiar for the era of Nicolas I was applied. Since 1866 the institute transformed from an educational institution of a military type into the open mining engineering higher school. Since then the students are allowed to live outside the institute.

After the revolution in1917 sports and gymnastics groups started to be formed at higher schools initially by the Committee of general compulsory education, then by the Higher council of physical culture.

The student sports groups organized at Mining Institute in 1923 comprised 150 persons: five men’s and one women’s groups, 25 persons each.

Since that time, the rapid development of physical education and sport started at Mining Institute.

In 1929 the course of physical education was included in the curriculum of Leningrad Mining Institute, and the physical culture department was founded. Physical education course was included in the curricula of all departments. Amateur physical-culture groups in several sports were founded. Experienced specialists were employed.

In 1934 the first sports club was founded. Sports took an important place in the everyday life of students of Mining Institute. Groups in many sports were formed. A number of higher school and city records were established in the institute competitions.

The institute occupied leading positions in the Leningrad university championships in several sports (skiing, rowing, swimming, cycle racing, skating, etc.).

In 1936 Mining Institute won the 1st place and got a prize (a car) in the competitions arranged by the largest Commissariat “Narkomtiazhprom”. Since 1938 complex sports contests in the main sports were established at the institute. Those contests were annually attended by more than one thousand students.

The institute graduates have always had thorough physical training that was necessary for mining engineers and geologists. It was in the thirties and forties when military sports and military-patriotic education were in the centre of attention. The heads of the institute Osoaviachim A. Teterin, Sh. Kilkeev and A. Kremlev founded the following military sports groups: shooters, parachute jumpers, mountaineers, pilots, nurses, radio operators, skiers, auto and motorcycle drivers, equestrian, and others. The “Ready for labour and defence of the USSR” sports system was actively propagated and implemented among students.

The Osoaviachim groups did not have specialized shooting galleries, due to the large number of members, and young people trained in cellars, barns and wastelands where simple stands were equipped. Nevertheless, it did not hamper high sport achievements. The skill to handle a rifle, a bayonet, a machine gun, and grenades soon came in handy for many people in the real combats.

In 1940 students-athletes were included in ski squads operating during the Winter War on heavy-going regions.

Students of Mining Institute took part in the guerilla war and showed courage and true heroism during the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945. A number of students, postgraduate students and teachers received government awards; student-gymnast Vladimir Pchelintcev became a Hero of the Soviet Union.

The sports venues of Mining Institute were destroyed during the war. The sports club stopped working. The department staff went to the front. Physical education had been fulfilled on a small scale in the frames of military training only. After the war, in 1946, the physical culture department and the sport club resumed working in accordance with the order of Minister of Higher Education.

In the post-war fifties the physical culture department and the sport club intensified their activity. The game, wrestling, boxing and weightlifting halls were restored. A ski group was formed at the training base in the Kavgolovo village. Locker rooms for skiers and a storage room for ski equipment were arranged in a wooden barrack.

Some athletes of Mining Institute entered the USSR national teams. The country record breaker in swimming Vadim Bubok (student of the mining department) became a member of the USSR water polo national team and participated in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

In the sixties, 18 masters of sports of the USSR were training in boxing, wrestling, skiing, and athletics groups.

In 1972 first international master of sports Vladimir Mironyuk (European champion in boxing) appeared in the institute; in 1973 the mountaineering team of Mining Institute won the USSR championship and established records. In 1974 student Vladimir Kyllönen became a world sambo champion. In the eighties a number of the institute students succeeded in the international contests: Tatiana Ryabtseva (acrobatics), Oleg Kostromin (boxing) Vadim Glushanin (karate) and Sergey Khokhlov (decathlon) won national championships. In the nineties Mining Institute was famous due to world champion in boxing Alexander Zaitsev, European champion in underwater swimming Svetlana Ganja and European champion in taekwondo Igor Shuleyko.

Unfortunately, after the change of the social system the sports life in Mining Institute became worse. The skiing base in the Kavgolovo village and the sports club were closed; some experienced teachers quitted their job on the physical education department because of low salary. Great efforts of the institute rector and of the whole department team were taken to restore and to augment the past achievements. In the early 2000s new trainers came and new sports groups appeared. In 2005 the sports club was renewed. The university teams took part in 67 sport championships among the St. Petersburg universities, getting higher rates in the contest with 45 competitors: in 2007 our students took the third place, then they won the second place twice, and eventually they have had the best results during the last three years. In a short period of time (2005-2013) 8 world champions were trained in Mining University.

The achievements of the sports club are quite comparable with the results of researches of the physical education department. There are post-graduate courses at the department, where new researchers are being trained. The research directions include training of mining engineers, geologists, metallurgists, mine rescuers. These directions cover the whole range of professions in the mineral resources sector, and the professions mentioned above have been taught at the oldest technical higher school of Russia for the last 240 years.

Further development of physical culture at the National Mineral Resources University is to be carried out, keeping up with the times. Establishment of new sports clubs and sections, creative activity based on the experience and knowledge of the training and teaching staff of the physical education department is that motion vector which will surely bring success in sports and recreational activities in Mining University.


  1. Mining university today [Electronic source]: offic. website of Mining university. – St. Petersburg. – URL: www.spmi.ru/univer/univer-2692 (In Russian)


Corresponding author: Panfilio@spmi.ru