Founding Charter of Emperor Oleksandr I on founding Kharkiv Imperial University in 1804

Founder of Kharkiv University, scientist and enlightener Vasyl Nazarovych Karazin (1773-1842)

Vasyl Nazarovych Karazin (1773-1842) was a prominent Ukrainian scientist and enlightener, an active member of Kharkiv Cultural Movement (second half of the 18th – first third of the 19th century) started by a sophisticated Ukrainian philosopher and poet Hryhirii Skovoroda and his followers.

Karazin began his active public activity with a series of bold reform projects in Russia during the early period of Emperor Oleksandr I’s rule. He was one of the initiators of establishing the first Ministry of Public Education in the then Europe. At his initiative in 1803 there was established Kharkiv University, which was the third in the Russian Empire. 1819-1820 Karazin was Vice-President of Free Society of Russian Language and Literature Admirers, edited Sorevnovatel Prosvieshchieniia i Blahotvoreniia (Champion of Enlightenment and Charity) Journal.

Vasyl Karazin produces a series of profound research papers in various fields of knowledge, but of particular interest were his inventions and discoveries in Food Processing, Meteorology and Chemistry. He also had original ideas in the use of electricity and imitation diamonds production.

One of the most educated men in the Russia of the first half of the 19th century, he is known as a universalist, an author of a series of democratic notions. He made a significant contribution to the propagation of progressive ideas in Ukraine. His contemporaries and offspring ranked his activity in Ukraine with that of Mykhail Lomonosov in Russia and Benjamin Franklin in the USA. Since 1999 Kharkiv National University is named after Vasyl Nazarovych Karazin.