Kharkiv University is the first university in Russian-ruled Ukrainian territory. It was founded in 1805 on the initiative of V. Karazyn, and with the financial support of the local nobility, burghers, and the municipal council. The university enjoyed a broad autonomy: its highest governing body was the Professorial Council, which elected the rector and all professors. Count S. Potocki was appointed curator of the university, and the firs rector was the philologist I. Rizhsky. During the first decade the faculty consisted mostly of foreign scholars, the majority of whom were German.
During the 19th century the university consisted of four faculties: physics-mathematics, history-philology, law, and medicine. The university was provided with a surgical laboratory and clinic; art, astronomy, physics, technology, zoology, and mineralogy cabinets; a botanical garden; a library; and a printing press.
The first periodicals in eastern Ukraine were published by cultural circles closely connected with the university In the 1830s in number of professors and students of Kharkiv University formed a literary group known as the Kharkiv Romantic School. Kharkiv University became an important cultural force in Ukraine. It introduced Western ideas and trends and recognized the cultural significance of Ukrainian folklore.
In^spite of political interference, studies in Ukrainian history, literature, and language continued to expand. The Kharkiv Historical-Philological Society published a wealth of materials in these fields.
Trie Revolution of 1905 led to on easing of government controls and a quickening of the development of national consciousness.
Before 1917 the more notable professors of Kharkiv University were the philologists I. Sreznevsky, N. and P. Lav-rovsky, O. Potebnia, and S. Kulbakin; the historians D. Bohalii and V. Buzeskul; the' economist V. Levytsky; the mathematicians A. Liapunov and T. Osy-povsky; the physicists M. Pylchykov and D. Rozhansky; the chemists N. Beketov, V. Tymofieiev, and O. Danylevsky; the botanists V. Palladin and A. Krasnov; and the geologists N. Borysiak and I. Levakavsky.
During the revolutionary period of 1917-20 the predominantly Russian faculty reorganized the linguistic and cultural rights of the Ukrainian people but resisted the idea of political independence.
In 1993 eight research institutes were brought under the university and large funds were provided to stimulate research. In 1936 the university was named after the Russian writer M. Gorky.
Today Kharkiv National University has 11 faculties: mechanics-mathematics, physics, physics-technology, radio-physics, chemistry, biology, geology-geography, economics, history, philology, and foreign languages. It also has a graduate school, evening school, and correspondence courses. There are 4 research institutes, dozens of laboratories, an astronomical observatory, a botanical garden, 4 museums, a central library, and 50 departmental libraries.