By the end of the 19th century, higher education was the norm for Russian professional bureaucracy. The system of higher education of the Russian Empire at the times of Nicolas II consisted of 11 universities and a number of higher humanitarian and technical institutions, which gave their graduates a right to get a certain rank in civil service. There were also different military schools preparing officers for guards, army and navy. Higher educational institutions gave to their graduates from non-privileged groups an opportunity to become members of the state apparatus of the Russian Empire. In a context where the nobility as the ruling estate was losing its monopoly on power, the right to receive education in closed educational institutions remained one of its few privileges. The paper describes the phenomenon of elite education in the Russian Empire and concentrates on three of the most prestigious educational institutions: the Alexander Lyceum, the School of Jurisprudence, and the Page Corps. To enter one of those institutions, a person had to be of noble origin and to belong to the military and bureaucratic elite of the Russian Empire. Their pupils at a young age received education, which encompassed the characteristics of both a gymnasium and a university, in a socially exclusive sphere, acquiring not only academic knowledge but also some customs and values of the ruling class of the Empire. Such an education opened to the graduates an opportunity of a brilliant career in the most prestigious institutions of the state apparatus of the Russian Empire and the Guards regiments of the Russian army.
Key words: privileged education, elite educational institutions of the Russian Empire, the Imperial Alexander Lyceum, the Imperial School of Jurisprudence, the Page Corps of His Imperial Majesty.