Find Russian Culture in London

by KathleenDuffy

Whether a native Russian or an interested Anglophile, London is home to a number of organisations catering for those who are fascinated by Russian culture.

London is a cultural melting-pot and its diverse population has made significant contributions to the life and vitality of the UK’s capital city. Over the last few years Londoners have witnessed an influx of Russians into the city as Russian immigration has steadily increased since glasnost. Similarly, the British are visiting Russia and discovering for themselves this intriguing country that was, and to an extent still is, shrouded in mystery.

As a result, there is an increasing interest in Russian life and culture in our capital city – but where to find it?
Here are four suggestions which will get the keen Russophile started on what will no doubt become a lifelong journey.

Maslenitsa - Annual Russian Festival in Trafalgar Square

The annual Maslenitsa festival is held every spring in London.  You'll find lots of events celebrating Russian culture all  across the capital, but the most eagerly anticipated get-together takes place for one afternoon in Trafalgar Square.  Here you can wander amongst the crowds soaking up the atmosphere, listening to all genres of Russian music and dance, and sampling Russian food and drink.

Maslanitsa; Shrovetide
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These celebrations are  based on Maslenitsa, or the annual Russian Sun Festival. Maslenitsa welcomes the spring, the sun, hope for the future and the melting away of the severe Russian winter.  Despite our more benevolent climate, the London version of Maslenitsa loses none of its basic love of life.

For a really entertaining and lively taster of Russian cultural life, this is the place to be. Maslenitsa is a wonderful opportunity to experience a little bit of Russian life in the heart of London .

Find out more about Maslenitsa in London by going to the official website.

Pushkin House, Bloomsbury Square, London WC1

 

Named after the illustrious Russian writer, Alexander Pushkin, Pushkin House works hard to preserve Russian culture in London.

The house is an attractive building in Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, where regular events take place, including films, poetry readings, lectures, variety evenings and art exhibitions, to name but a few. On the ground floor there is a cosy reference library and a beautiful staircase leads up to the lecture rooms on the first floor.

Pushkin House also plays host to lectures given by the Pushkin Club and the GB-Russia Society as well as the Russian Language Centre.

It really is a very welcoming place – a quiet sanctuary in leafy Bloomsbury.

You can find out about events at Pushkin House on their website.

Academia Rossica

 

Academia Rossica  is a registered charity whose purpose is to unite Russia and the English-speaking world by organising cultural events  in London. The Russian Film Festival and the  Russian Publishers’ stand at the London Book Fair are just a few of the variety of events and projects they are responsible for. 

They are keen to encourage writers and translators and offer an annual prize for the best literary translation from Russian into English.

If you like reading about Russian art, literature and culture in general, they have an excellent journal called Rossica, which is well worth signing up for.  It's a high quality yet accessible  publication featuring articles on Russian culture, both past and present.

You can find out about Academia Rossica and their journal, Rossica here.

London Meetup Groups – Find Russian Groups

 

Meetup Groups are a relatively recent phenomenon but they have taken off like wildfire in most western capitals.

This umbrella organisation uses the internet to allow those with particular interests to meet like-minded people. They get together regularly to take part in activities relevant to their cultural leanings. This could involve travel to places of interest, meetings in pubs or restaurants, visits to the theatre, cinema and galleries. The choices are endless.

Meetup Groups are a good way to expand your network of activities and make instant new friends which could otherwise be particularly difficult in a big city. By using the Meetup search engine you can find plenty of groups with an interest in Russia, including Russian language classes, a Russian bridge club and even ballroom dancing with a Russian instructor!

Check out the Meetup Groups website.

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A Glaring Omission!

This is just a very small sample of the growing number of outlets there are for you to explore Russian culture in London. 

I haven't mentioned the vast amount of Russian bars and clubs that have opened over the last few years.   But then - some things are more fun to discover on your own! 

Cheers!

Copyright: Kathleen Duffy

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Updated: 02/23/2014, KathleenDuffy
 
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