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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 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 a number of Honorary Officers, including the President. The President and members of the SCRSS Council are charity trustees.

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 and Russia. It continues to preserve and provide access to its library and archive, it publishes a journal SCRSS Digest, and organises activities from film shows and lectures to exhibitions and 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).

Honorary Officers

Professor Bill Bowring - President
Robert Chandler - Vice President
Dr Kate Hudson - Vice President
Dr David Lane - Vice President
Dr Rachel O'Higgins - Vice President

SCRSS Council

Philip Matthews - Chair, Executive Committee
Kate Clark - Vice Chair, Executive Committee
Charles Stewart - Vice Chair, Executive Committee
Ralph Gibson - Honorary Secretary, Executive Committee
Jean Turner - Honorary Treasurer, Executive Committee
Christine Lindey - Exhibitions Officer, Executive Committee
Andrew Jameson - Executive Committee
Len Weiss - Executive Committee
Bethany Aylward
Mel Bach - Honorary Librarian
Christine Barnard
Michael Costello
Jeremy Hicks
Jane Rosen
Diana Turner

Strategy 100

The SCRSS will celebrate its centenary in 2024. In late 2019 we launched a five-year plan, Strategy 100, aimed at stabilising and strengthening the Society ahead of that date. See our SCRSS Appeal video for more information.

How to Support Us


Support Us

Donate Online

SCRSS Appeal Video


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)