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About Us

What We Do

The Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies (SCRSS) aims to promote knowledge of the culture, language and history of Russia and the former Soviet Union (FSU) through its activities and unique library and archive.

The SCRSS is a small, self-funding membership organisation with management vested in Annual General Meetings and bi-monthly meetings of its Council. The SCRSS Council is elected at the Annual General Meeting, together with the President and Vice Presidents. The President and members of the SCRSS Council are charity trustees.

The SCRSS is run entirely by volunteers. This governs our opening hours to visitors, which are subject to sufficient volunteer availability to welcome members and non-members into our building, in addition to library and other work taking place at the Society. See the Contact Us page for details of our current opening hours.

Rules of the Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies (latest version approved at the SCRSS AGM held on 21 May 2022)

Our History

The SCRSS was founded in 1924 as the Society for Cultural Relations between the Peoples of the British Commonwealth and the USSR, following the establishment of diplomatic relations between Great Britain and the new Soviet state. It has continued its work uninterrupted until the present day.

The Society's founding members were a group of key British and Soviet artists and intellectuals of the day, including EM Forster, Julian Huxley, Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Sybil Thorndyke, Alexei Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf and Konstantin Yuon. They sought to collect and diffuse information in both countries on developments in science, education, philosophy, art, literature, and social and economic life.

In the 1920s-30s the Society actively promoted British-Soviet relations on a non-political basis through meetings, lectures, film shows and exhibitions. The SCR Sections were formed - special interest groups such as Education, Theatre, Writers, Architects and Planners, and Legal. Now known as the Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR, it established many branches outside London. It also expanded its activities to include tours to the Soviet Union and visits to the UK by key Soviet cultural and public figures. During World War II, when Britain and the Soviet Union were allies in the fight against Nazism, the Society organised exhibitions and other fund-raising events to support the war effort.

From the 1960s-90s seminars, scholarships, professional and educational exchanges were a key feature of the Society's activities. These included the popular annual Easter Russian Language Seminar (1969-96), scholarships to study Russian at the Pushkin Institute of Russian Language in Moscow (1970s-80s), and exchanges of architects, actors and young artists (1980s).

In 1992, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Society changed its name to its current title. The Society adheres to its founding aims of promoting co-operation between the peoples of the UK, Russia and the FSU. It continues to preserve and provide access to its library and archive, it publishes a journal SCRSS Digest, and organises activities from lectures and exhibitions to seminars.

The Society became a registered charity in May 2004. Registered Charity No. 1104012.

The Society is also a founder member of the Soviet War Memorial Trust (originally the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund).

President and Vice Presidents

Professor Bill Bowring - President, Executive Committee
Dr Kate Hudson - Vice President
Professor David Lane - Vice President
Dr Rachel O'Higgins - Vice President
Professor Geoffrey Roberts - Vice President

SCRSS Council

Wendy Ansley
Bethany Aylward
Kate Clark
Michael Costello
Ralph Gibson - Honorary Secretary, Executive Committee
Jeremy Hicks
Andrew Jameson
Meirian Jump - Vice-Chair
Christine Lindey - Exhibitions Officer
Philip Matthews - Chair, Executive Committee
Jane Rosen - Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Archivist, Executive Committee
Charles Stewart
Diana Turner - Vice-Chair

Strategy 100

The SCRSS celebrates its centenary in 2024. In late 2019 we launched a five-year plan, Strategy 100, aimed at stabilising and strengthening the Society ahead of our centenary.

How to Support Us

Support Us

Donate Online via CAF
Cover of SCR Anniversary Report 1924-1944 (copyright SCRSS)

Related Links

SCRSS Archive


Cover of SCRSS exhibition brochure, 2010: Anglo-Soviet Cultural Exchanges 1941-1948 (copyright SCRSS)