During Nikolay's epoch, education and culture were under a great pressure. Censorship raged: the new censorship charter of 1826 nicknamed by the contemporaries "pig-iron", contained 230 prohibitive articles and was directed to the suppression of any manifestation of freethinking. In 1828 the new, softened censorship charter which, however, gave to censorship police functions, was accepted: censors should report to the police about all forbidden products and their authors.
First of all the education was put under governmental control. The charter of educational institutions of 1828 strengthened the principle of estatement in education: peasants were not admitted higher than to district schools. The continuity between the lowest, average and the higher school was suspende. At the same time the need in the development of literacy was constantly growing. Since 30s years various departments opened their elementary schools, and by 50s years, there were already about 30 thousand of them.
During the strengthening of the reaction, the minister of national education became the author of the theory of "official national character", S.S.Uvarov (1833-1849). He proposed to base the education of youth on the three "true Russian guarding" principles: orthodoxy, autocracy, national character". The theory of Uvarov pleased Nikolay I because it promised to relieve Russia from shocks due to the original order of things prevailing there.
In 1835, universities received a new charter, which deprived their autonomy by putting their dependence in the hands of educational districts. Curriculums were reduced, and the tuition fee essentially increased. After 1848, it was forbidden for secular professors to teach philosophy, and the number of students was strictly limited. At the same time, answering to the growing need of the society in experts, significant attention was given to the development of the technical education.
Alongside with the growth of the level of literacy of the population of the country, publishing developed. At the beginning of 50s were printed more than 1 thousand books, book trade extended, the quantity of periodicals reached 230 titles in 1850. The literacy magazines were very popular among the readers.
In the Russian literature various art directions coexisted: romanticism and realism.
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1837) ended the formation of a new direction: realism in the Russian literature. He possesses the merit of the creation of the modern literary language based on living colloquial figurative speech. The greatest creation of his genius was the novel in verses "Eugeny Onegin" (1823-1831).
Few days after A.S.Pushkin's death (the 29th of January 1837), the poem 'Death of the Poet' brought popularity to Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov (1814-1841). By 1837 he was already the author of more than 300 rhymes, 20 poems, 6 dramas, but almost nothing had been published.
In 1831-1832 the Russian public got acquainted with "Evenings on Khutor near Dukanka" and immediately recognized their author, Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852), one of the greatest writers.
The centers of theatrical life during 20-50s were the Maly theatre in Moscow and the Alexandriysky theatre in St. Petersburg (since 1832). The theatrical repertoire gradually extended. On the scene appeared remarkable actors V.A.Karatygin, P.M.Sadovsky, E.Martynov.
M.I.Glinki's works (1804-1857) began the classical period in the Russian music: romances, symphonic works and operas.
K.P.Bryullov (1799-1852) and A.A.Ivanov (1806-1858) were the largest representatives of the academic school of painting. New ideas were brought by P.A.Fedotov into genre art (1815-1852).
In 1841 and 1850 on the Anichkov bridge in St. Petersburg, the sculptor I.A.Klodt established its well-known groups "Tamers of horses". He made also the monument of I.A Krylov in The Summer Garden (1855). In 1834 at the Palace square of St. Petersburg, the column under the project of A.Montferand was erected. V.A.Orlovsky, the author of the sculpture that topped the column, created also monuments at the honor of Kutuzov and Barklai De Tolli at the Kazan's cathedral.
In St. Petersburg the Russian empire style (the general Staff, the Alexandriysky theatre) continued to dominate; in Moscow, the Big Kremlin palace (K.A.Ton), the Tver Triumphal arch (O.I.Bove) were constructed.
The big role in the development of science was played by scientific universities and scientific organizations (the Society of Russian history and antiquities, the Archeographic commission, the Russian archeological society, the Russian geographical society, the Mathematical society etc.). In many cities agricultural societies were created.
In 1826, N.I.Lobachevsky stated the doctrine about the non-Euclidean geometry which value was appreciated already after his death.
The great mathematics were M.V.Ostrogradsky, P.L.Chebyshev. In 1839, in Pukov, near St. Petersburg, V.Y.Struve based the first Russian astronomical observatory.
The major discoveries were done by the employees of the Kazan University - Kittar (chemical technology), N.N.Zinin (synthesis of aniline).
In 1832, the engineer P.L.Shilling invented the electromagnetic telegraph, but his experiments did not receive any practical application. In 1834 professor B.S.Yakobi developed the design of the electric motor, and in 1837 he discovered the galvanoplastic.
N.I.Pirogov put new ideas in medicine forward. Within the Crimean war he began the military-field surgery.
The greatest event in the historical science and public life became the public lectures of the professor of Moscow University T. N.Granovsky (1843-1846, 1851), filled with the idea of generality of the historical way of development of Russia and the West. During the 40s the activity of the Historian S.M.Soloviov increased in popularity. Since 1851 started coming out his "History of Russia from most ancient times".