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Moscow Caledonian Club


Club History
Moscow Caledonian Club was founded in the end of 1994. Caley Clubs, of course, have long existed all over the world, but we have the honour to be the first such institution not only in modern Russia, but on the entire expanse of the former USSR (CIS plus Baltics) or, for that matter, the old Russian Empire. From the very start the Club is headed by President Vitaly Mironov whose dedicated leadership is appreciated by all who know him. We are based in the Russian capital, but have many members all over the country and beyond, including Scotland. Membership is open to all those truly interested in Scotland and her heritage as well as to descendants of Scots in Russia. Although our history is very young, in many respects we have led the way. Burns suppers and St. Andrew’s Day ceilidhs are a must, but there is a whole lot more!

In 1997 the Club launched the first Russo-Scottish Folk Festival and Russia's maiden Highland Games. Both were a huge success and became traditional in the years to come. One of the highlights was the debut of pipes and drums in Red Square! In 1998 there followed the Scottish Folk & Whisky Festival, sponsored by "The Famous Grouse" and "Whyte & Mackay", which brought together some fine musicians from both sides. Predictably, whisky-tasting proved a great attraction! In August of the same year our Club accomplished the first-ever Russian participation in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Central Band and Dancers of the Russian Navy stole the show and set the attendance record (a near sell-out even despite the wettest Scottish summer for years!).

In 1999 our new project took shape, the regular Seasons of Russian Culture in Scotland. In May, its first event was held in Lochaber with the support of the Highland Council. Russian folk music was played by the Grenada band. As a sequel, in 2000 the traditional Highland Festival featured the Moscow Chamber Orchestra "The Seasons", conducted by V. Bulakhov. Their tour was also arranged by our Club.

The study and commemoration of historical links between Russia and Scotland is another priority with us. In 1995 the Club assisted in unveiling the monument to Charles Gascoigne (1737-1806), originally director of the famous Carron Works, then reformer of Russian industry and founder of the Ukrainian city of Lugansk, where the ceremony took place. We have also designed and presented to Scotland memorial tablets to General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries (1635-1699), chief advisor of Tsar Peter the Great, and to Admiral Samuel Greig (1735-1788), commander of Russia’s Baltic Fleet; the first was erected in Aberdeen’s Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary, the second on the wall of Greig’s house in his native burgh of Inverkeithing. These men and their remarkable achievements belong to both Scotland and Russia, and we cherish their memory.

Extensive research on different aspects of our links is carried out by several Club members: Dr Dmitry Fedosov, Alexey Gromov-Colley, Vsevolod Sindeyev, Irene and Olga Leslies and others. Dr Fedosov has produced a preliminary list of hundreds of Scots in Russia and Russians in Scotland (The Caledonian Connection: Scotland-Russia Ties. Middle Ages to Early Twentieth Century. Aberdeen, 1996). He is currently translating into Russian the six surviving volumes of Patrick Gordon’s Diary, of which Volume I was published in 2000. Work is also under way on an anthology "Scottish Voices in Russian Poetry".

In a word, the Moscow Caledonian Club already has a formidable record. Our events are regularly announced and covered by Russian and British media, including major newspapers, radio stations and TV channels. In the 1990s a series of TV programs on Scotland was produced by Alexey Denisov and other Club members. We are proud to take Russo-Scottish links to new heights and to involve thousands (via the media, millions) of people in the exciting process of mutual acquaintance and appreciation.

EVENTS

1994, December. Moscow Caledonian Club founded.

1995-1997 Exchange of visits between MCC members and University of Aberdeen students.

1997

1-3 February. Russo-Scottish Folk Festival in Moscow. Participants: Grenada Folk Band, Kalinka Dancers, Vladimir Lazerson’s Band, Si Mhor, Bedlam Howe (Turriff) etc.

22 June. Moscow Highland Games held at Znamensky Stadium Participants:Russian athletes headed by Olympic and World shot put champion Svetlana Kryveleva, Bruce Sheppard and other Scottish athletes, Nairn Pipe Band, Dufftown Highland Dancers. Games opened by British Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood and filmed by BBC and Russian TV.

12 August. Memorial tablet to Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries presented to St.Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Aberdeen.

22 August. MCC takes part in Fyvie Folk Festival.

1998

20-29 June. II Festival of Scottish Culture and Highland Games in Moscow. Scottish guests included Grantown-on-Spey Pipe Band, Dufftown Cultural Group, craftsmen from Lochaber, Bedlam Howe and Daimh folk bands and Ronnie Browne - over 100 in all!

August . Russia’s debut at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Central Band of the Russian Navy conducted by Captain A. S. Danilchenko.

12 August. Memorial tablet to Admiral Samuel Greig unveiled in Inverkeithing by MCC and Fife Council.

30 November – 10 December. I Scottish Folk & Whisky Festival in Moscow. Sponsored by The Famous Grouse and Whyte & Mackay. Featured musicians from Elgin, Buckie, Fochabers etc.

1999

1-9 April. Scottish Folk Festival in Moscow featuring Brian Miller, Gordeanna McCulloch and Handsel.

25 May-5 June. I Season of Russian Culture in Scotland. Concerts by Moscow Family band in the Highlands, including Fort William, Nairn, Mallaig and Inverey.

17-25 July. III Festival of Scottish Culture and Games in Moscow. Russian athletes headed by European shot put champion Oleg Lyakhov. Folk bands included Si Mhor, Wolves & Sheep, Grenada and Beggar’s Row.

27 November-11 December. II Scottish Folk and Whisky Festival. Sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Concerts by Beggar’s Row.

2000

13-24 April. The Scottish Stepdance Company (Isle of Skye) in Moscow.

27 May-14 June. II Season of Russian Culture in Scotland. Part of International Highland Festival. Concerts by Grenada and Moscow Chamber Orchestra "The Seasons" in Inverness, Aviemore, Portree, Ullapool and Inverey.

1-17 July. IV Festival of Scottish Culture and Games in Moscow. Held, as usual, in Sokolniki district. Scots contingent included Dumbarton Pipe Band, The Hebrideans, Beggar’s Row and members of the Highland Council. Attended by nearly 40,000 people and broadcast by all main Russian TV channels with an audience of over 200 million.

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