During the reign of Alexander III there were many changes in the sphere of education.
In 1882 Pobedonostsev and D.A.Tolstoy's protégé Delyanov replaced the liberal baron A.N.Nicolai at the post of the minister of education. From the year of 1884 parish schools passed under the jurisdiction of the Synod. The number of such schools increased constantly: from 4,5 thousand in 1882 to 32 thousand in 1894. In 1891 free official schools, created by the initiative of peasant associations, got under the influence of the Synod too. The main task of these schools was upbringing in the spirit of Orthodoxy; but in general they helped to raise the educational level of the population.
Secondary education developed much more slowly. From the 60s to the middle of the 90s the number of students in man's secondary educational institutions increased 6 times more and reached 150 thousand. In woman's grammar schools, eparchial schools and institutes studied 75 thousand people.
With the view of changing of the social structure of schools I.P. Delyanov in 1887 published the famous circular about "cooks' children" that prohibited lowest estates to enter secondary institutions.
In the field of higher education the policy of the government was directed to formation of a loyal, well-intentioned and reliable intelligentsia, state scientific and bureaucratic cadres. After elimination in 1884 of university autonomy the uniform for students appeared again (1885), that made their surveillance easier. In 1886 the period of military service was increased up to one year for persons with higher education. Tuition fees were raised too.
Strong anxiety of the government was caused by the woman's higher education. In 1882 the woman's medical education (the higher woman's medical courses) was liquidated, in 1886 the reception of women at the higher courses was abolished at all. Development of the system of libraries and reading rooms played a great role in the expansion of education. In 1894 there were 862 public libraries and more than 3000 regional libraries.
Publishing despite of the punitive censorial policy developed too. In total in 1894 there were 1315 printing houses, were issued 804 periodicals, were published more than 10 000 books.
The 80s - the beginning of the 90s were marked by the brilliant achievements of Russian scientists. The biggest Russian mathematical school of St-Petersburg of P.L. Chebyshev achieved outstanding successes. Among its students were A.A.Markov (1856-1922), the author of research in the field of the theory of numbers, the probability theory and the mathematical analysis, A.M.Lyapunov (1857-1918) who became famous by his works in the field of differential equations. S.V.Kovalevskaya, the outstanding mathematician (1850-1891), was the first woman who became the Professor and Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences.
In the field of aeronautics A.F.Mozhaisky's experiments (1825-1890) had a huge value. In 1881 he managed to construct, test and patent the first plane.
The Russian electrical engineer M.O.Dolivo-Dobrovolsky (1862-1919) solved the problem of transfer of electric power by wires and also developed the system of three-phase current (1891).
V.V.Dokuchayev (1846-1903) after long research published the work "Russian chernozem" (1883), the classical work of the new scientific direction - soil science.
Successful research in the field of physical chemistry was carried out by N.N.Beketov (1827-1911). His pupils V.V. Markovnikov (1838-1904) and А.М. Zaitsev continued to develop the theory of chemical structure.The significant contribution in development of astronomy was brought by F.A.Bredikhin (1831-1904), who created the theory of comet forms and the theory of the origin of star showers, and his pupil A.A.Belopolsky (1854-1934).In contrast to natural sciences, social studies were under constant pressure of the authorities. At the same time in the field of social studies the sharp struggle of ideas and currents found its reflection. In philosophy wide dissemination got positivism (G.N.Vyrubov, E.V. dе Roberti, M.Troitsky). From the beginning of the 80s marxism became a part of Russian philosophy. An outstanding role in propagation of marxism in Russia was played by G.V.Plekhanov. The end of XIX century was the beginning of decline of Slavophilism. Here became famous such outstanding religious philosophers as N.F.Fedorov (1828-1903) and V.S. Soloviyev (1853-1900).
A great contribution in the world science was made by historical works of V.I.Gere (1837-1919) and his pupils (P.G.Vinogradov and N.I.Kareyev), and also works on the history of Byzantium by V.G.Vasiliyevsky (1833-1899).
In the 80s and the beginning of the 90s here successfully worked many philologists, linguists and literary critics. Works of literature and folklore by A.N.Veselovsky (1838-1906) had a world value too.
In the 80s and the beginning of the 90s literature, despite severe governmental reprisal, including arrests and exile of writers, remained the leading sphere in the cultural life of the country. Main themes of works of Russian writers were accusation of the existing regime and reflection of people's life. In literature came L.N.Tolstoy, A.P.Chekhov, V.G.Korolenko, D.N Mamin-Sibiryak, G.I.Uspensky, А.М. Gorky, A.A.Fet, A.N.Maikov, J.P.Polonsky, D.S.Merezhkovsky, Z.N.Gippius.
A great role in the spiritual life of the Russian society was played by theatre. Alongside with the main drama theatres of the country, the Small and Alexandrinsky ones, appeared a number of provincial theatres (in Kiev, Odessa, Saratov, Kazan, Irkutsk, etc.).
Development of musical culture in the 80s - the first half of the 90s is inextricably related with P.I.Chaikovsky. There was a pleiad of new talented composers (S.I.Taneyev, A.K.Lyadov, A.K.Glazunov, A.S.Arensky, V.S.Kalinnikov).
In the fine art the main role was played by the creativity of artists. Their activity grows. The 15th exhibitions in 1886 took place in fourteen cities. In total there were 48 exhibitions. The real event of the cultural life of Russia was the pictures of I.E.Repin "Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan" (1885) and V.I.Surikov's "Boyarninia Morozova" (1881-1887) shown at these exhibitions.
The significant contribution to the Russian art was made by the sculptors A.M.Opekushin (Monuments to A.S.Pushkin, K.M.Ber, M.U.Lermontov), M.O.Mikeshin (projects of monuments to Catherine II and Bogdan Khmelnitsky), M.M.Antokolsky (series of sculptural historical portraits).
In 1892 P.M.Tretiakov's gift of his richest art collection to Moscow had a great value for popularization of the Russian national art.
In architecture was formed the Russian national style, which was most brightly shown in the look of buildings of the Municipal Duma in Moscow (D.N.Chichagov, 1890-1892), the Trading lines (nowadays GUM, A.N.Pamerantsev, 1892), houses of Igumnov on Yakimanka street in Moscow (N.Pozdeyev, 1892). In construction of apartment houses in large cities prevailed the Renaissance and the baroque, distinguished by richnes of forms and decorations.