After reminding attempts at reorganizing universities in tsarist Russia in the 19the century, the authoress focuses on the role of Tadeusz Zielinski, Polish professor of classics at the University of Petersburg, in discussions on the universities' reform after the 1905 revolution. On August 1906, in the columns of the official organ of the Ministry of Public Education he published an article entitled 'Universitetskii wopros w 1906 godu' (University Affair in 1906), in which he presented his own conception concerning the necessary changes. First of all, his idea was characterized by the realism. Zielinski was absolutely aware of the political and social realities, and very often warned against putting forward too fastidious demands that the Government could not and was not willing to realize. In his opinion, one should not only accept that the universities have to stay under state's control to a certain degree, but also fight for the ideas that would be most important for the academy - for example, strife for a complete liberty of action in setting up the rules concerning learning and teaching. This was the second, distinctive feature of his conception - the only aim of all changes must be welfare of the university, its permanent development and most favourable performing functions the university was created for. The university's main task is to serve learning and teaching through striding over such obstacles as, for example, casual and political aims, and the conception of its organization must allow for such point of view only. Such outlook upon the role and tasks of the university was presented by professor Zielinski till the end of his life. His statements from the 1930s show that the autonomy of the university and its break with politics turned out to be a kind of organizational foundation of the higher education.