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The 10 Best Events of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014
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The 10 Best Events of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014

Picture of Theodora Clarke
Updated: 9 February 2017
The UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 has kicked off with a huge programme of more than 250 events spanning the arts, sports and sciences. The bilateral year is an important landmark in the history of cultural engagement between Russia and Britain. The official line-up celebrates the diverse cultural heritage of the two countries and the year has the potential to be great platform for cultural dialogue.
Courtesy of MacDougall’s
Image Courtesy of MacDougall’s

Russian Art Week

30 May – 6 June 2014

This major week of Russian cultural events is an annual highlight of the art calendar. The major auction houses of Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and MacDougall’s all join together to present a series of Russian sales in London. A related programme of exhibitions, talks, concerts and Russian events will also take place across the capital.

Various locations across London. For more information, please visit the fair’s website.

Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
Image Courtesy of Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio

Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra Concert

22 February 2014, Birmingham and 24 February 2014, London

Russia’s rich musical history will also be showcased this year. Two concerts by the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra conducted by the acclaimed Vladimir Fedoseyev will take place in Birmingham and London. The Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra is one of Russia’s oldest surviving orchestras and, founded in 1932, it served as the official orchestra of the Soviet radio network. Under Vladimir Fedoseyev’s leadership the orchestra developed into one of Russia’s foremost contemporary cultural institutions. During the performances in the UK, eminent violinist Vadim Repin will be accompanying the orchestra.

Birmingham: Symphony Hall, 32 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EA, UK

London: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1, UK

Image Courtesy of Ensemble Productions

Maslenitsa Festival at Trafalgar Square

24 February – 2 March 2014

Maslenitsa is a week-long festival with Christian and Pagan roots to celebrate the end of the long Russian winters and the arrival of spring. On its Christian side, it is also the last week before Lent and is traditionally a time when Orthodox Christians are forbidden to consume meat. The most traditional fare for this time is bliny, or Russian pancakes, which are made up of ingredients allowed by Orthodox tradition: butter, milk and eggs. The fourth annual festival to be held in London, this family-friendly celebration gives everyone the opportunity to sample the delights of Russian food, music and culture.

Trafalgar Square, London, UK

Slovo festival
Image Courtesy of Academia Rossica

The SLOVO 5th Russian Literature Festival

8 – 23 March 2014

The SLOVO Russian Literature Festival will be returning to London for the fifth time and for the first time will be expanding to Cambridge and Edinburgh. From theatre performances to poetry readings and from lectures to film screenings, this is a fantastic opportunity for those who have an interest in Russian literature to hear from leading contemporary Russian writers, poets and experts such as Mikhail Shishkin, Boris Akunin and Zakhar Prilepin about current literary and social issues. Russia is world renowned for its rich history of literature and it is these literary links that have historically been the strongest ties between Britain and Russia. The Russian Literature Festival is a celebration of these ties with a view to strengthening them for the future.

Various locations in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh

Russia ballet icons
Image courtesy of Dancing Times

The Russian Ballet Icons Gala: The Story of Russian Ballet

9 March 2014

Featuring performances from internationally renowned dancers from the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, The Russian Ballet Icons Gala will be a retrospective with excerpts from some of the greatest figures coming out of Russian ballet and performances from leading contemporary choreographers. These performances will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the English National Ballet. This project will be an insightful overview of Russia’s rich history of ballet and an unmissable evening for those with an interest in the subject.

London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2, UK

Image Courtesy of Belka Productions

A Dashing Fellow – Stage Play

22 April – 17 May 2014

First adapted for the British stage by director Oleg Mirochnikov, A Dashing Fellow is a seamless blend of the two stories, A Dashing Fellow and A Nursery Tale written by Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov. The two tales were written during Nabokov’s time in Berlin after having fled Russia during the time of the 1917 October Revolution. A Dashing Fellow is sure to bring to life Nabokov’s lavish world of dream and nightmare and is a perfect introduction for those who wish to acquaint themselves with 20th century Russian modernist literature.

New Diorama Theatre, 15 – 16 Triton Street, London NW1, UK. For more information, please visit New Diorama’s website.

Kazimir Malevich Dynamic Suprematism 1915 or 1916 / Image Courtesy of Tate

A Retrospective on Kazimir Malevich at the Tate Modern

17 July – 26 October 2014

The Tate Modern’s retrospective on Kazimir Malevich, a progressive and influential figure in 20th century modern art, is set to open this summer and has been lauded as a re-examination of the painter, printmaker and art theoretician’s career. As the first major exhibition of the artist in the UK, this is a tribute to the Russian avant-garde movement with Malevich as the primary focus, but the exhibition will also feature works by Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko. The retrospective will provide an analysis of all phases of Malevich’s career and a contemplation of his style of geometric abstraction, which he coined as Suprematism.

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1, UK

Russia Space Quest
SOKOL space suit / Image courtesy of The Science Museum

Russia’s Space Quest at the Science Museum

October 2014

In the first Russian space exhibition of its size to be held outside of Russia, curators Natalia Sidlina and Doug Millard will be staging an exhaustive analysis of Russia’s contribution to our understanding of the universe. To express this, alongside the more expected Space Age artefacts, Russian avant-garde artists inspired by space travel, state propaganda posters and works by the cosmonauts themselves will also be shown. The exhibition aims to look beyond the achievements of scientists and cosmonauts and examine the idea that space exploration also became a source of inspiration and creativity for philosophers and artists. Russia’s Space Quest aims to show the viewing public that the era of the Space Race was as much to do with creativity and art as it was to do with the unmalleable certainties of engineering and science.

Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, London SW7, UK

Russian Avant-Garde Theatre Design: War, Revolution and Design 1913-33

October 2014

The Bakhrushin collection is still unfamiliar to the British public and this forthcoming exhibition will be the first time that its avant-garde material will be the focus of a dedicated museum exhibition. The subject of 20th century Russian stage design has yet to be explored in all its manifestations. The primary aim of the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition is to provide a sense of the rich variety, experimental energy and interdisciplinary nature of Russian stage design during the modernist era.

Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7, UK

Russian Film Festival
Image Courtesy of Academia Rossica

The 8th Russian Film Festival

November 2014

The Russian Film Festival will play a vital role in showcasing the best from Russia’s contemporary film scene. This year’s programme will be incredibly varied ranging from dramas and documentaries to light-hearted comedies. This year the festival will also be expanding it horizons beyond London and will be collaborating with a number of leading UK universities with a view to bringing a selection of screenings and directors to the respective cities. There will also be a number of open-air screenings of some of the best known Russian films of the 20th century in London this summer. Right from Russian silent films through to some Soviet blockbusters, this will be great way to celebrate Russia’s cinematographic landscape in the UK-Russia Year of Culture.

Various locations across London. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

By Theodora Clarke

For a full list of events, visit: To download your free copy of the preview magazine to the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 visit here.