The Academy of Sciences was established in St. Petersburg by a decree of the Governing Senate on January 28 (February 8), 1724 following an order of Emperor Peter the Great. According to the 1747 Regulations, it was named "The Imperial Academy of Sciences and Arts in Saint Petersburg", in 1803, its name became "The Imperial Academy of Sciences"; in 1836, "The Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences"; in July 1917, "The Russian Academy of Sciences"; in July 1925, "The USSR Academy of Sciences"; and in December 1991, "The Russian Academy of Sciences" once again.
The establishment of the Academy of Sciences in Russia took place in the time when the science in its modern understanding was in the process of making. Reliable data about the nature, based on the experiment and mathematical methods, were accumulating rapidly. It was the time when life itself required a closer connection between science and practice.
The creation of the Academy of Sciences was an important element of a profound renewal of the country, started with Peter the Great's reforms. The need for development in science and education was caused by the demands of growing industries, transportation, trade, the increasing cultural level of the people, the quest for strengthening the Russian State and improving its geopolitical standing. It was impossible to solve these tasks, first of all economic ones, without research and development of natural riches of the country. At the same time, Peter the Great strove to involve Russia in the general process of European cultural development.
In Peter's view, the Russian academy of Sciences could not reproduce any of the West European academies. The academy was to become not just a research body but also an educational institution. A university and a gymnasium were established under the auspices of the academy, and its members were teaching in both institutions. The academy had to provide all kinds of scientific and engineering assistance to the State in its quest for strengthening and centralization.