The article analyzes the legal framework regulating the status of Old Believers in the sphere of public education during the period of religious tolerance (1905─1907). The research is based on a wide range of historical sources, such as legislative acts, statistics, periodical press and unpublished record-keeping materials taken from state archive funds (the Russian State Historical Archive, the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, the State Archive of Perm Krai, the State Archive of Sverdlovsk region). Many of the sources are introduced into academic discourse for the first time. The author analyzes the legislative provisions that legalized Old Believers’ right to education: Decree and His Majesty's Approved Ordinance of the Committee of Ministers «On Strengthening of the Religious Tolerance Principle» (1905), Decree «On formation and activity of Old Believers’ and sectarian communities» (1906), and Decree «On religious instruction teaching to Old Believers’ and sectarians’ children» (1911). Attention is given to Old Believers’ rights in the sphere of education obtained as a result of the liberalization of the state religious policy: the ability to establish schools to teach their children, the right to teach religious courses based on approved education programs and textbooks in accordance with the Old Believers’ religious doctrine at schools for their children and at common schools, the right to be trained and prepared to be teachers, and the removal of a ban for the Old Belief teachers to work at common schools. The author analyzes the specificity of implementation of the mentioned decrees in the Ural region and reveals the restriction of Old Believers’ rights despite close connection of the decrees with general school legislation (preventing Old Belief teachers from working at schools, refusals to establish Old Belief schools, requirement of compulsory educational qualification for religious instruction teachers, etc.).
Key words: Old Belief, schools of Old Believers, public education, freedom of worship, the Ural history in the early 20th century.