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The SCRSS organises a regular programme of lectures, film shows, exhibitions, seminars and other events at its premises in London. The Society is also involved in educational and commemorative events associated with the Soviet War Memorial in London. Events are open to both SCRSS members and non-members, unless otherwise stated.

Please note: dogs are not permitted on SCRSS premises, with the exception of guide dogs.

Venue and Tickets

Most events take place at the SCRSS. Evening events normally start at 7pm, with tea and coffee served from 6.30pm.

Lecture and film tickets cost £3.00 (members) and £5.00 (non-members), unless otherwise stated. For all other events, please see individual listings below.

2014 Events Diary

January July
February August
March September
April October
May November
June December
  March 2015


Thursday 16, Friday 17, Saturday 18 January, 2pm - 6pm
Photo Exhibition: Soviet Times:Russian Times

Photographs from the archives of Russian news agency RIA Novosti explore Russian history from the time of the 1917 revolution to the era of the first president of post-Soviet Russia, Boris Yeltsin. Previously on show at Imperial War Museum North (Manchester) and the Guildhall Art Gallery (London). Exhibits are for sale at very reasonable prices.

The SCRSS loan library will be open until 5.30pm on each exhibition day. Open to the public. Admission free.

Monday 27 January, 9.30am
Event: Holocaust Memorial Day at the Soviet War Memorial

Commemoration organised by the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund (SMTF) and Southwark Council. Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet (Red) Army in 1945. For more information on this event, contact

9.30am: Gather at Amigo Hall, St George's Cathedral, Lambeth Road, London SE1.
10am: Southwark Council commemoration on this year's HMD theme Journeys, with keynote speaker The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP. Hosted by the Mayor of Southwark.
11am (approx): Process to Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park
11.10am (approx): Act of Remembrance at Southwark Council's Holocaust Memorial Tree and the Soviet War Memorial, led by SMTF Chair, including the laying of wreaths.

The Soviet War Memorial is located in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Lambeth Road, Southwark, London SE1 6HZ (adjacent to the Imperial War Museum).

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Friday 21 February, 7pm
Lecture: John Riley on Alfred Schnittke in the Cinema and Concert Hall

Schnittke scored dozens of films, including many animations. Apart from providing a valuable source of income, his work on some of these films osmosed into his concert works. John Riley looks at the relationship between the two, with music and film examples.

John Riley is a writer, teacher, curator and broadcaster, specialising in film and music, particularly from Russia and the Soviet Union. He has given lectures for clients including the IWM, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Academy of Music, the British Film Institute and the National Portrait Gallery. In addition, he has given papers at academic conferences across the UK, as well as in Europe and the USA. Alongside the books Dmitri Shostakovich: a Life in Film and Discover Film Music, he has written for OUP, CUP, Routledge, BFI, Methuen, Ashgate and others. He has curated for the BFI, the Barbican and the BBC, and writes for The Independent, The Times, Sight and Sound and others.

The SCRSS loan library will be open from 5pm-6.45pm prior to the talk. Normal entrance fees apply (members £3.00 / non-members £5.00).

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Friday 21 March, 7pm
Lecture: Dr Pat Simpson on Tales from the 'Russian Room' at Down House, Kent

Charles Darwin's home at Downe in Kent, a memorial museum now owned by English Heritage, has an interesting secret. For a brief time between circa 1961 and 1964 it had a 'Russian Room'. In this room were displayed commemorative paintings, monumental sculpture busts and photographic albums all sent to Britain by Professor Aleksandr Kots and his wife Nadezhda Ladygina-Kots, the directors of the Soviet Darwin Museum in Moscow. The period coincided with Khrushchev's 'Thaw', the decline of Trofim Lysenko's power over Soviet bio-science, and the tentative resumption of Anglo-Soviet cultural and scientific relations. This talk examines some aspects of the strategic motivations for the gifts, their display and the eventual closure of the 'Russian Room'.

Dr Pat Simpson studied Russian art and literature at the University of Essex, and is now Reader in Social History of Art at the University of Hertfordshire. Her long-term research project, entitled 'Sex and Socialist Realism', explores constructs of the ideal national body of the so-called New Person in the Stalinist era, focusing particularly on the impact of shifting concepts of eugenics and Darwinism on visual representations of the ideal Soviet body. Dr Simpson's book Sex and Eugenics: Corpus Delecti (2008) won a 'book of the year' award from the Australian and New Zealand Art Association in 2009. Dr Simpson received a British Academy Small Grant 2011-12, for a spin-off project entitled: 'Art and Evolutionary Biopolitics: The Moscow Darwin Museum in the 1920s-1930s'.

The SCRSS loan library will be open from 5pm-6.45pm prior to the talk. Normal entrance fees apply (members £3.00 / non-members £5.00).

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Tuesday 8 April, 7pm
Event: Kazakh Writer Dulat Isabekov Presents the English Translation of his Book The Little Pearl

Dulat Isabekov has dozens of novellas to his name, as well as some forty short stories and the novel The Revolt. He has also written over twenty works for the stage. His works have been published and re-published in Kazakhstan, Russia and worldwide. His play The Transit Passenger will be performed for the first time in London at The Giant Olive Theatre, Kentish Town, London, from 7-12 April 2014. This event at the SCRSS has been organised by the Kazakh Arts Academy and is sponsored by the Aitmatov Academy.

Admission free. Pre-booking recommended.

Saturday 12 April, 6pm - 9pm
Event: Yuri's Night - Marking the Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's Spaceflight

Join in the worldwide celebration of one of the great achievements of humanity and enjoy food, drink, the Poyekhali photo exhibition (previously shown at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011) and more!

Normal entrance fees apply (members £3.00 / non-members £5.00)
Register your interest now by email and you'll receive full details as soon as available.

Saturday 26 - Sunday 27 April, 10am - 4.30pm daily
Event: 7th SCRSS Russian Language Seminar

Brush up your Russian! Our intensive two-day Russian language seminar in London gives advanced-level students and teachers the opportunity to hear talks in Russian by senior lecturers from the University of St Petersburg. Talks cover a range of themes on Russian language, literature, culture and society. Course fees for 2014 remain competitive: one day £50 (members) / £60 (non-members); two days £90 (members) / £100 (non-members). Full details and application form.

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Friday 2 May - Sunday 11 May
Exhibition: The Inauguration of the Russian Season, Prelude - Carriage Vanishing Point (Villa Design Group)

The exhibition at the SCRSS initiates Villa Design Group's year-long architectural competition for a pavilion to house a library dedicated to the re-writing of missing sections of Nikolai Gogol's novel Dead Souls (1842) and other texts destroyed before his death. In Prelude, a new set of objects will set the stage for the competition to become public - underscoring the internal machinations often necessary to break ground. The interior design of the pavilion will be realised through a theatre production of Gogol's The Gamblers at the Edinburgh Art Festival in August 2014, and the pavilion built in October 2014.

There will be performances at the SCRSS on Saturday 3 May and Saturday 10 May, 2 - 4pm. Please contact for further information.

Open to the public. Admission free.

Friday 9 May, 11am
Event: Victory Day at the Soviet War Memorial, London

Act of Remembrance at the Soviet War Memorial, organised by the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund (SMTF), to mark the 69th anniversary of the Allied Victory over Fascism.

Standard bearers should arrive by 10.15am and report to the Parade Marshal. Other participants, in particular wreath-layers, should be present at the Memorial by 10.45am. Wreath-layers should report to the SMTF Honorary Secretary on arrival. Seating is limited and intended primarily for veterans and older participants.

Open to the public. Free admission. Email to confirm attendance and/or confirm that you wish to lay a wreath. The Soviet War Memorial is located in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, next to the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1.

Saturday 17 May, 11am-2.30pm
Event: SCRSS Annual General Meeting

11am: Doors open.
11am-12.30pm: Light refreshments. SCRSS loan library open. Tours of the SCRSS library and archive - TBC.
12.30pm - 2.30pm: Annual General Meeting

Note: This event is open to SCRSS members only.

Saturday 24 May, 9.30am - 6pm
Event: 'British-Soviet Friendship and Cultural Exchange - Promotion, Partnership and Propaganda
' Conference

Please note:The conference is organised by Dr Emily Lygo, Senior Lecturer in Russian, University of Exeter, The Queen's Building, The Queen's Drive, Exeter EX4 4QH, Tel: 01392 724311. Booking is through the University of Exeter (not the SCRSS) and closes on 19 May. Registration fee £20.00 including refreshments.

Conference Programme:

9.30am: Registration, coffee, and welcome

10.00am: Panel 1: Anglo-Soviet Cultural Exchange in Music and Literature

Dr Pauline Fairclough (Bristol University): 'Anglo-Soviet Musical Exchanges and the Early Cold War'
Ms Louise Wiggins (Bristol University): 'Alan Bush and the Promotion of Musical Exchange with the USSR'
Dr Emily Lygo (University of Exeter): 'The SCR Writers' Group in the Post-War Period'

11.30am: Panel 2: Soviet Culture in Britain: Exchange and Influence

Dr Matthew Taunton (UEA): 'Writing the Moscow Trials: Anglo-Soviet Debates about Jurisprudence'
Professor Stephen Ward (Oxford Brookes University): 'Planning and Architecture Links with the USSR in the Khrushchev Thaw Period'
Ms Sonja Grossmann (Universities of Tubingen and Munich): 'Soviet "friendship societies" in Britain between Propaganda and Cultural Exchange'

1pm: Lunch

2.30pm: Panel 3: Soviet Culture in Britain: Visual Arts and Artefacts

Mr John Riley (independent scholar, ex-BFI): 'Communism, Aristocrats, Table-tennis and Voles: the Film Society's Promotion of Soviet Film in 1920s London'
Dr Patricia Simpson (University of Hertfordshire): 'Tales from the "Russian Room" at Down House, Kent, 1956-1964'
Dr Alison McClean (University of Bristol): 'Painting the Town Red: The SCR and the Visual Arts in Britain in the 1930s'

4pm: Tea

4.30pm: Panel 4: Soviet Literature and Culture in Print

Dr Elena Zemskova and Dr Elena Ostrovskaia (Higher School of Economics, Moscow): 'The Journal International Literature (English version), 1932-43'
Mr Andrew Jameson, (ex- University of Lancaster): 'The Development of the Anglo-Soviet Journal'
Dr Ekaterina Rogatchevskaia (British Library): 'The British Library Resources on Anglo-Russian Relations'

6pm: Closing remarks

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Friday 20 June, 7pm
Lecture: Professor Bill Bowring on Russia and the European Convention on Human Rights - Following the UK's Example?

Bill Bowring is Professor of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he teaches Human Rights, Public International Law and Minority Rights. He is also a practising barrister specialising in human rights, representing applicants against Russia, Georgia and Latvia, at the European Court of Human Rights, and is founder and Chair of the International Steering Committee of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC). His latest book is Law, Rights and Ideology in Russia: Landmarks in the Destiny of a Great Power (Routledge 2013). He advises the Council of Europe, EU, OSCE and UN on human rights and minority rights. He was a founding member of the Bar Human Rights Committee, and is currently a member of its Executive Committee. He is International Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and President of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH). He has been working regularly in Russia since 1983.

Normal entrance fees apply (members £3.00 / non-members £5.00)

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Saturday 5 July, 2pm - 6pm
Event: SCRSS 90th Anniversary Celebration

The Society's 90th anniversary celebration includes formal speeches, special guests, a new SCRSS exhibition, library tours, refreshments and a celebratory toast! We'll be making use of our garden, as well as our ground floor events space.

2pm: Doors open
2.30: Library tour (half-hour)
3pm: Speeches
4.30: Library tour (half-hour)
6pm: Close

This special event is for SCRSS members and invited guests only. SCRSS members will receive an invitation for the event with the summer issue of the SCRSS Digest.

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Saturday 4 October, 2.30 - 4.30pm
Lecture: Dr Timothy Bowers on Alan Bush and Nationalism in Music

Alan Bush (1900-1995) was a leading British 20th-century composer and taught at the Royal Academy of Music for over fifty years. Dr Bowers discusses Alan Bush's view of 'Nationalism' in music, and his music in relation to it, drawing on comparisons with the work of some of his contemporaries. Bush was also a vice-president of the SCR (now the SCRSS) and, as part of our 90th anniversary, the Society is delighted to host this special event in co-operation with the Alan Bush Trust, which seeks to increase awareness of and performance of his music. Among other members of the Alan Bush Trust, Alan Bush’s daughter, Dr Rachel O'Higgins, will attend. A CD of the composer's works, including Africa, Symphony No 2 ‘Nottingham’ and Fantasia on Soviet Themes, will be on sale.

Dr Timothy Bowers is Alan Bush Lecturer and Undergraduate Tutor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He studied with Alan Bush from 1973-78 and is a graduate of the Academy, University of London and York University. After leaving the Academy, he continued his studies privately with Professor David Blake, while pursuing a multi-faceted career which included composition, arranging, performance and teaching. He completed his DPhil in composition in 1988 under the supervision of Dr David Kershaw. He has taught at the Academy since 1979.

Normal entrance fees apply (members £3.00 / non-members £5.00). Pre-booking recommended.

Monday 27 October, 6.30pm
Event: London-St Petersburg: City and People Photo Exhibition Launch

Launch of the SCRSS's joint photographic project with the St Petersburg Association for International Cooperation - see details below. The launch event is open to SCRSS members and attendees of the conference The Role of Public Diplomacy in Fostering Russian-British Relations.

30 October - Friday 30 January 2015
Exhibition: London-St Petersburg: City and People Photo Exhibition

The exhibition is a joint photographic project between the SCRSS and the St Petersburg Association for International Cooperation

The exhibition includes 24 photographic portraits of residents of our two cities from a range of social and professional backgrounds. Each person was asked “What does Britain mean to you?” and “What does Russia mean to you?”. Their answers provide a fascinating insight into how ordinary citizens view each other!

The exhibition is open at the SCRSS on weekdays during normal office hours and SCRSS events. For weekday visits, we recommend that you contact the SCRSS beforehand to make an appointment.

Tuesday 28 October, 9.30am - 6pm
Event: 'The Role of Public Diplomacy in Fostering Russian-British Relations
' Conference
A one-day conference, organised jointly by the SCRSS and the St Petersburg Association for International Cooperation, that aims to highlight the importance of public diplomacy in the development of relations between Russia and the UK, and discuss the role of British and Russian NGOs, cultural and educational institutions, and the media in this process. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. Fee: £20 per person. Booking and payment deadline: 30 September. Venue: Rossotrudnichestvo, 37 Kensington High Street, London W8 5ED. For full details and to book, please email the SCRSS.

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Saturday 8 November, 10am - 5pm
Event: 3rd SCRSS Russian History Seminar

This year's seminar explores different aspects of Russian culture and experience in the period under Khrushchev known as The Thaw (circa 1953-64). In the USSR this was a time of de-Stalinisation, relaxation of censorship and opening up of contacts with the outside world. The seminar is aimed at everyone with an interest in Russian and Soviet history. Fee: £50 (£40 for SCRSS members), including buffet lunch and tea / coffee. Full seminar details and how to apply.

Sunday 9 November, 12.30pm
Event: Remembrance Sunday at the Soviet War Memorial, London

Act of Remembrance at the Soviet War Memorial, organised by the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund (SMTF). The ceremony marks the UK’s day of remembrance for its war dead from all conflicts, and reflects on the joint sacrifices made by British and Soviet allies in the defeat of fascism in World War II. Please gather in front of the Imperial War Museum by 12.15pm. From there participants will walk the short distance to the Memorial in the adjacent park. All participants are welcome. However, if you intend to lay a wreath or to bring the standard of your organisation, please email in advance of the day to give your details.

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Saturday 6 December, 4pm - 6pm
Event: SCRSS Party and Fundraiser

A fun and fundraising event to mark the end of the SCRSS's 90th anniversary year. Come along to see our new photo exhibition featuring St Petersburg and local London residents, browse Russian -themed gifts and souvenirs, try your luck with our raffle, and enjoy refreshments, including a glass of vodka, in the company of fellow members, staff and special guests. And help the Society to raise much-needed funds for our continuing work and library collections.

Normal entrance fees apply (members £3.00 / non-members £5.00).

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March 2015

Friday 27 March 2015, 7pm
Lecture: Michael Jones on After Hitler

Historian Dr Michael Jones discusses his new book After Hitler about on the last ten days of World War Two in Europe. After Hitler covers the near breakdown in relations between the US and Britain on one side, and Russia on the other, in May 1945. However, it also looks at how that crisis was resolved and unity prevailed, at least in the short term. After Hitler is published by John Murray on 15 January 2015.

Dr Jones is author of Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin (2011) and Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed (2010).

This is a joint SCRSS - Soviet Memorial Trust Fund event.

Normal entrance fees apply (members £3.00 / non-members £5.00).

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SCRSS exhibition poster - Soviet Modernist Art and Design 1917 - 1991(copyright SCRSS)


Related Links

Soviet War Memorial