In analyzing the shortcomings of the so called ‘classical system’ that led to its actual destruction in the abandonment of the obligatory final examinations in Greek (1903), the author makes use of the representation of public opinion in the liberal journal Russian Wealth (Russkoe Bogatstvo). It is more or less well known that a formal approach to teaching as well as the compulsory character of the classical education, together with limitations on educational opportunities for talented youth caused the collapse of the classical gymnasium in pre-revolutionary Russia. But how, precisely, did this happen? The statistical material provided by N. F. Annenskii and the lively sketches by V. G. Korolenko, as well as the impartial detailed reports and eyewitness testimonies published by a popular periodical allow us to perceive the immediate causes of the catastrophe. Fatal for classical education in schools was hatred of the government, resulting in the teachers’ sympathy for weak school graduates. The latter passed the final exams with low results and flooded the universities in 1899. This was at the bottom of the students’ disturbances of 1901 and resulted in the triumphal fall of the educational edifice built in 1871 by count D. A. Tolstoy. Refs 29.