News from the Scotland-Russia Forum
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2 April 2016
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Contents: SRF News, What's OnNotices

SRF News

Forthcoming events
The SRF are co-organisers / sponsors of two talks in May which we hope will interest you:
Friday 13 May:  Working on a Russian icebreaker in the Arctic
A talk by Colin Souness.    
Imagine living aboard a floating nuclear reactor, ploughing through two meter sea ice at a speed which most other conventional vessels would be proud of in open water... More details
This event has been organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society with support from the University of Edinburgh and the Scotland-Russia Forum.
7.30pm, Lecture theatre 183, Old College, South Bridge, University of Edinburgh, EH8 9YL.  Tickets will be available on the door - £8,  free to RSGS members, students and U18.
Thursday 26 May:  Secret histories in Edinburgh and Shrivenham – Soviet / Russian Military Studies and the Cold War
A talk led by Dr Steven Main, assisted by Catherine Booth, curator of the Erickson collection at the National Library of Scotland.
An NLS event in partnership with the Scotland-Russia Forum.

Following extensive backroom work, two Russian military history collections are now open to researchers.  The National Library of Scotland is proud to publicise the archive generously donated by Professor John Erickson, former prominent defence specialist and expert on the Red and Soviet Armies.  At the same time, Cranfield University is launching the Russian Military Studies Archive... More details
6-7pm, Board Room, National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW.  Free but booking essential.
SRF members wishing to reserve a place should contact us.The NLS have kindly agreed to keep 20 tickets for our members. Others can book on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.

Other news:

7 April: Чай н Чат - the SRF tea club
Chai n Chat continues to meet on the first Thursday of every month in the Summerhall Cafe, starting at 11am and often finishing (reluctantly) 2 hours or more later.  They are a friendly group, chat in Russian and English depending on who's there - and are always delighted to see new people.  They are planning a summer outing - watch this space for more information.  Contact (tel 0131 560 1486) if you'd like to know more - or (better) just turn up on Thursday morning.
"Try Russian" at the Language Show in March
We had a busy two days at the Show with a steady stream of visitors - and will be even busier following up over the next few weeks.  Visitors were offered a variety of leaflets and other information on opportunities to learn Russian at classes in Scotland or online, enjoyed the Russian taster session, and were also interested to try Russian chocolates, prianiki, kvas and other delicacies.  

It was an expensive (but worthwhile!) venture for the SRF, paid for largely from our savings, the proceeds from recent fundraising and a welcome donation from Ruslan Ltd.  In the Year of Russian Language and Literature it was disappointing that no support was forthcoming from official Russian sources - and galling to be surrounded by numerous language stands supported by their national organisations, not just French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Gaelic but also the Polish Consulate and the Japan Foundation.

Very many thanks to all those who helped at the stand: students and staff from the Universities of Glasgow and St Andrews, staff of supplementary schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow, translators and businesspeople, our sponsor Ruslan Ltd, Sputnik's Photo Library for the slideshow of Russian photographs, and all the organisations which sent us leaflets for display.  And a special thank you to the Russian Children's Choir and Russkaya Capella for a beautiful Maslennitsa recital at the Show. 
More information on the concert performance from the director, Svetlana Zvereva.
List of Russian courses + contact details of FE and childrens classes.

What's On

A listing of events from or about Russia and her neighbours.
Please don't forget to check and our Facebook page in between these bulletins for changes - the listings are updated all the time.

Church services:  details of Orthodox and Ukrainian services in Scotland 
26 March - 31 October: On the North Russian Front. Exhibition, Skaill House, Orkney
7 April: Chai n Chat. Edinburgh
11 April: Dina Iordanova. ‘Breaking Through Walls and Discourses: History for Losers’. St Andrews 
13 April – 30 May (tbc): Portrait of Pskov.  25 years of friendship. Perth
13 May:  Working on a Russian icebreaker in the Arctic. Edinburgh
26 May:  Secret histories in Edinburgh and Shrivenham – Soviet / Russian Military Studies and the Cold War. Edinburgh

Events outside Scotland
Various dates: Pushkin House events. London
Various dates: Ukrainian events in London
Various dates: GB-Russia Society lectures. London
Various dates: RBCC business networking events. London and Russia
Various dates: London organisations organising lectures in Russian: Arbuzz, Open Russia Club and Pryamaya Rech. London
Various dates: Dash Arts. London
17 March - 26 June: Russia and the Arts. National Portrait Gallery, London
16-17 April: 8th SCRSS Russian Language Seminar. London
11-15 July: Translate in the City: Literary Translation in Practice. London
14 July: Alim Qasimov Ensemble/Sirojiddin Juraev (classical masters of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan). Wigmore Hall, London


UK-Russian Year of Language and Literature 2016
The Russian Embassy has published a list of events in the UK this year on, though it is not clear which are part of an official programme.  The Year was announced in RBTH/Kompass with a different list in December (, concluding with the intriguing "The Big Book Prize committee is considering making a special award to 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling for awakening interest in reading".  [See also  "Russo-Scottish news" below, item on Scottish wizards]

Exciting new Russian course for primary schools from Early Start
Early Start have just launched a Russian course for younger pupils: details on  This is a short course which would offer Scottish schools an excellent opportunity to offer Russian as their "L3" (or as an extra L3), as the second non-native language under the new schools language programme is called.  The course is designed to be taught by non-specialists. We would be delighted to discuss and demonstrate this course with interested schools and will be publicising it more widely before the start of the new school year.

Lectureship in Russian at the University of St Andrews 
Full details:…/AU…/lectureship-in-russian-ac4786mr/
Deadline for applications 11th April 2016

Easter lunch at the Ukrainian Club
The AUGB is holding a lunch to celebrate the Ukrainian Easter on 1 May.  Tickets £12 (£10 concessions).  Contact to book a place.

Can you host a Ukrainian child in June?
The Ukrainian Embassy is looking for host families for a group of 20 children aged 9-15 whose parents were killed or injured in Eastern Ukraine.  They will be visiting Scotland 18-28 June.  More information here.

Books about Russia
A correspondent has asked us if anyone would like the books on the attached list - let us know if you are interested.

Student placements in Russia with Ecologia
Ecologia Youth Trust is a Scottish charity which does extremely valuable work at the Kitezh and Orion Children's Communities in Kaluga Oblast.  Volunteer placements are an excellent opportunity for students during their Study Abroad year and one which will certainly improve their Russian language skills.
3 month placements from Sept 2016 now available, other start dates possible too.  Details.

Lingtwins looking for Russian learners to test its new application
Lingtwins is looking for B1/B2/C1/C2 French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese and Russian language learners to test its new application over the Easter holidays. 
Lingtwins is a free language-learning application that helps university students practice speaking languages together. It complements formal university language courses by giving students an interactive outlet to apply their classroom learning.
More info: or contact Luke Sullivan at / 07754 941654.

Russo-Scottish news:
  • Will Sputnik News open its Edinburgh base in April?
There is no official announcement yet but the opening seems imminent.  Article in the Herald on 15 March.
  • Recent VIP visitors to Scotland
Alexei Kudrin addressed an audience at Edinburgh University on 30 March, organised by the Dashkova Centre.  His title was "The Russian Economy: Structural Problems and Perspectives on Economic Growth".  Several interesting graphs illustrated the dire position of the economy but the main structural problem highlighted, out of a huge list, was the demographic imbalance and the consequent need to raise the pension age (as in the UK). Which seemed to beg a lot of questions, not least political. 
Vladimir Pozner spoke in Glasgow on 7 March, invited by the Glasgow University Russian Speaking Society.  They have posted a video of the event on
  • Scottish wizards threaten the souls of Russian children
- in a bizarre new animated film supported by the Russian Ministry of Culture.  J K Rowling could sue?  Sunday Herald, 13 March.  Trailer (in Russian).
  • Fashion for Scottish pubs in the Urals and Siberia
Scottish pubs are challenging Irish ones, complete with kilts and of course lots of whisky without the "e" - according to the Siberian Times.
  • And Scotch whisky will soon be bottled in Moscow
Does that still count as Scotch?? Apparently it does. Details.
How can you support the Scotland-Russia Forum?
The SRF works to improve understanding of Russia and her neighbours in Scotland.  We are a voluntary organisation and an educational charity ( SC038728).

If you would like to support us please consider becoming a full member and playing a part in decisions on how best to implement our aims.

We also welcome donations and offers of help with our various activities.

Please find details on our website.
Tel. 0131 560 1486 or email to discuss.
Our mailing address is: The Scotland-Russia Forum, Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1PL
Tel: +44(0)131 560 1486

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