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Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Charity No. 1148802

Patron: His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent GCVO

Honorary President: Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Alan Hosking OBE FBA FRHistS

Honorary Vice Presidents: The Rt Revd & Rt Hon. Lord Williams of Oystermouth PC FBA FRSL FLSW; Emeritus Professor Philip Hanson OBE; Sir Roderic Lyne KBE CMG; The Rt Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG PC QC; The Rt Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG PC FRSA FRSE; The Rt Hon. Baroness Williams of Crosby PC CH

Talks Organisers: Lincoln Pigman and Daragh McDowell email: daragh.mcdowell@nullgmail.com

“Advancing the education of the public in all aspects of the Russian Federation, the republics of the former Soviet Union, the USSR and Tsarist Russia.”

Background and details of The Great Britain-Russia Society

Founded by H.M. Government in 1959 as The GB-USSR Association and, as re-named in 1992, The Britain-Russia & British East-West Centre, were a Non-Governmental organisation (NGO) generously funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) with the object of promoting contacts and understanding between the citizens of the USSR and the United Kingdom, in a spirit of friendship, frankness and objectivity.

With well-appointed, albeit rented, premises in Grosvenor Place, the organisation had a full-time Director, a Secretary, research staff, a library, and a membership and meetings section open to the public. Among the six Honorary Presidents between 1959 and 2002, three were former Prime Ministers; Clement Attlee, Harold Macmillan and Harold Wilson.

In March 2002, the FCO ended its funding of the British-Russia, British East-West Centres because the USSR had split into its component Republics, and the economy was no longer perceived as a Socialist-Communist Command economy. Most importantly, the Cold War appeared to be over.

The Membership and Meetings Section was re-launched in September 2002 as The Great Britain-Russia Society. It is run and funded entirely by its members. We are a separate legal entity, but we adhere to the ethos of our predecessor organisations.

Our membership is around the 300 mark, and we welcome as members (or as guests or non-members) anyone who is interested is any aspect of the Russian Federation and the republics of the former Soviet Union. Amongst our members are former British Ambassadors, FCO officials, University Professors and other academics, and many other people who have studied, and at some level continue, perhaps informally, to study Russia’s history, language, literature or culture. We welcome Russians and other nationalities from the former USSR, and from other countries; anyone with an interest in one or more of the many aspects of Russia, and international relations in general. Many of our members have at least some knowledge of the Russian language, but that is not in any way a necessary condition.

The Aims of the Society

The aims of the Society are to keep its members informed about the historical background, culture, the economic, foreign policy, political, social conditions and trends in the Russian Federation and in all the former republics of the USSR through a programme of around 15 topical, relevant and highly informative lectures a year from leading British and international experts. The membership year is divided into three sessions (September-December, January-April & May-July) – and the programme of talks for each session can be viewed by clicking on PROGRAMME in the blue panel to the left of this page. Virtually all talks are preceded by an informal drinks reception from 6.30 pm to 7.00pm. Talks begin usually at 7.00pm, last for 45 to 60 minutes and are followed by a question and answer session of up to half an hour. Meetings usually end by 8.30pm.

For the most part, our 15 or so talks each year are held at one or another of these three London venues: Pushkin House (5a Bloomsbury Square (front entrance on Bloomsbury Way) WC1A 2TA); The Open Russia Club (67 Wimpole Street, W1G 8AP); and The UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies (16 Taviton Street, WC1H 0BW). The particular venue for each talk is shown on the Programme page, together with directions (including nearest tube stations).

There are usually at least two social events a year, and members receive three issues each year of the Society’s journal, East-West Review – a high-quality illustrated publication, usually of 48 pages, which is stocked by the British Library and other prestigious national and university libraries in the UK and Éire.

We welcome all new members who will abide by the Constitution of the Society, a copy of which can be made available to any paid-up member. Bring some friends as guests and persuade them to become members.


With a Standing Order Mandate annual UK membership costs, payable every July 15th, are £17 (individual) and £20 (joint two-person membership). Without a Mandate, subscriptions cost £20 (individual) and £23 (joint).

The overseas rate for Individual Membership is £27 for ‘Europe’ (includes all of Russia), £30 for World Zone 1 and £33 for World Zone 2. Zones are as defined by the UK Royal Mail.

Members are free to cancel their Standing Orders at any time if they feel that the Society is no longer offering them what they want.
Commercial/professional membership is £100. Small academic corporate memberships start from £20. All annual membership payments are due on July 15th. Late joiners subscription fees are reduced in the initial year by £5 for each copy of the Journal missed.

If possible, please pay by Standing Order (it saves us time, and it saves you money). To download a Membership Application Form, click on JOIN in the blue panel on the left of this page and follow the further link. Thank you.

The most recent Chairman’s Annual Report, outlining the full range of the Society’s current activities, is available for download here:

Registered Charity Number 1148802; Company Number 8143145;
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