Russian Conference 2016

Fifth Moffat Russian Conference 2016 

During the conference there will be an exhibition on display panels

outside Moffat Town Hall

In the Firmament of Russian Poetry


            Vasily Zhukovsky (1783- 1852)

            Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837)

            Mikhail Lermontov  (1814-1841)

            Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873)

            Afanasy Fet (1820- 1892)

            Maximilian Voloshin (1877-1932)

            Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966)

            Osip Mandelstam (1891–1938)

            Nikolay Gumilyev (1886–1921)

            MarinaTsvetaeva (1892–1941)

            Boris Pasternak (1890–1960)

            Iosif (Joseph) Brodsky (1940-1996)

Posters based on works by the Moscow artist Ludmila Semyatitskaya. (Torn paper technique)

Curator – Tatiana Feoktistova


15.30–17.00      Poetry analysis workshops

19.00–22.00     Events at the Old Well Theatre, Moffat.
19.00–20.00     Performance of Grand Duke Nick's Night Out.
                         A new play by Peter Roberts. Staged by Upper Annandale Dramatic Society (UADS)
                         based at the Old Well Theatre, Moffat.
20.00–20.30     Interval. Meeting with members of the cast.
20.30–22.30     Screening of film Keep My Words Forever: In Memory of Osip Mandelstam
                         Written and Directed by Roma Liberov. Introduced by Roma Liberov. In Russian with
                         English subtitles. Runtime 1h 25m. Discussion with Roma Liberov.


09.30–10.30         Conference Opening - Session 1

Andrei Pritsepov: Consul General of the Russian Federation in Scotland
Vadim Duda: Director General, State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow
Evgeny Reznichenko: Executive Director, Institute of Translation, Moscow
Professor Richard Demarco: Chairman, Moffat Book Events
The Lord Johnstone: Patron, Moffat Russian Conferences
Dmitri Bak: Director, State Museum of Language, Moscow.

A minute’s silence for Ekaterina Genieva and Marilyn Elliott

10.30–11.00          Coffee Break

11.00–12.00          Opening of Mandelstam exhibition at the Moffat House Hotel

The Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, presents: Mandelstam exhibition 'Those who live for eternity are rare...' Pen and ink line drawings by Elena Shipitsova. Curator – Tatiana Feoktistova.

12.00–13.00          Barber’s hands: The writer and power: yesterday, today and tomorrow - Session 2

Pavel Nerler:        Outcast or 'nomenclature' poet?: The fate of Mandelstam
Dmitri Bak:           Traits of Mandelstam’s poetry in the early lyrics of Arseny Tarkovsky: poems of the 1920s

13.00–14.00         Lunch

14.00–15.00         Scottish poets and 'the powers that be' - Session 3

Alan Riach:          Hugh MacDiarmid
Calum Rodger:    Ian Hamilton Finlay

15.00–15.45         Fear and the Muse Kept Watch - Session 4

Andy McSmith:  The Russian Masters—from Akhmatova and Pasternak to Shostakovich and Eisenstein—under Stalin

15.45–16.15         Tea Break

16.15–17.45         'I had never heard of Ossian’s epic tales':  Encounters with the British world - Session 5

Janet Treloar: Portraits of Anna Akhmatova
Henry Hardy: The Guest from the Future: artistic treatments of the meetings between Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin.
Pavel Nerler: Under the patronage of Isaiah Berlin and Joseph Brodsky (Osip Mandelstam conference    in London, June 1991).


The evening's entertainment will be provided by accordionist Paul Chamberlain and will feature music from both Russia and Scotland.


09.30–11.00          Safe Conducts: Poetic Pathways - Session 7

Fiona Björling: The Language of Inspiration. A reading of Boris Pasternak's Охранная Грамота  (A Safe Conduct), 2.7.
Alexandra Smith: Who Owns Pushkin?:  Tsvetaeva's cycle 'Poems to Pushkin' as a Critique of the Public Consumption of Private Life.
Michael Basker: Gumilyev (topic to be defined)

11.00-11.30           Coffee Break

11.30–12.30         A Yearning for World Culture: The context of Russian and European Poetry and Art - session 8

Oleg Lekmanov: Osip Mandelstam’s errors and 'errors'.
Maxim Amelin: 'I drink to. . .'. Comments to four amphibrachic toasts 'Friends' by Pyotr Viazemsky [<1862>], 'I drink to the wartime asters. . .' by Osip Mandelstam (1931), 'Toast' by Nikolai Tikhonov (1939), 'Response to Mandelstam' by Georgi Shengeli (1948)..

12.30–13.30           Lunch Break

13.30–15.30          Don’t Tempt Yourself with Foreign Tongue - Session 9

Pavel Nerler: Mandelstam global: Mandelstam’s poetry translated into foreign languages
Andrew Reynolds: Analysis of a poem, or poems, by Mandelstam, showing how various translations over the years might reflect – or fail to reflect – changes in the reception of Mandelstam both in the West and in Russia.
Michael Basker: Gumilyev’s poems in English
Peter France: Russian poetry in English (topic to be defined)
Grigory Cheredov: Poets of the Silver Age translated into European languages.

15.30–16.00           Tea Break

16.00–17.30           The Grand Duke Nicholas - Session 10

Irina Marisina: 'Honoured visitor of the British Museum': From the history of the Grand Duke Nicholas’ travels in England and Scotland, 1816–1817.
Maxim Amelin: Anna Bunina, the first Russian poet to visit Britain, 1815–1817 (assistance from Nicholas – a letter to Sir Walter Scott – sermons by Hugh Blair)
Oleg Lekmanov: Russia under Nicholas I in the early poems of Osip Mandelstam.

17.30–18.00           Valedictory

19.30–20.30          Recital by Kirstin Sharpin  (soprano) and Peter Cowdrey (piano). 

Settings by Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Cowdrey of poems by Akhmatova, Gumilyev, Mandelstam, Pasternak and Tsvetaeva. At the Old Well Theatre, Moffat.

If you have any questions about packages or booking please contact


Moffat offers accommodation of all types; delegates are urged to contact providers directly via

Conference Packages

Full Conference
package  £85

The entire Friday to Sunday programme

Sat Package
Sessions 1,2,3,4,5,6 and dinner

Sat Afternoon £15

Sessions 3,4,5 and 6

Conference Dinner
Includes musical entertainment

Sun Package £40

Sessions 7,8,9 and 10


Sun Afternoon and Concert Package
Sessions 9, 10 and Valedictory plus evening concert


Dr Pavel Nerler

Mandelstam scholar and specialist in the study of forced migrations. Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Professor Dmitri Bak

Literary critic and philologist. Director, State Museum of Literature, Moscow

Professor Oleg Lekmanov

Laboratory of Cross-Cultural History of Literature, National Research University, Moscow  

Maxim Amelin

Poet, essayist, translator, publisher Winner of the 2013 Alexander Solzhenitsyn award.

Dr Irina Marisina

Research Institute of Theory and History of Fine Arts, Russian Academy of Arts, St Petersburg

Professor Alan Riach

Professor of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow

Dr Calum Rodger

Author of PhD thesis on the subject of Ian Hamilton Finlay

Professor Andrew Reynolds

Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin

Professor Andrew Kahn

Professor of Russian Literature and Fellow of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford

Dr Henry Hardy

Editor of the works of Sir Isaiah Berlin. Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford

Dr Alexandra Smith

Reader in Russian, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh

Professor Fiona Björling

Specialist in Russian literature, Professor Emerita, University of Lund, Sweden

Professor Peter France

Specialist in modern Russian poetry and literary translation. Professor Emeritus and Honorary Fellow, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh

Professor Michael Basker

Specialist in Russian 19th- and 20th-century poetry. University of Bristol.

Andy McSmith

Freelance journalist. Author of Fear and the Muse Kept Watch (2015)

Grigory Cheredov

Linguist, translator. Editor-in-chief (Publishing Department, All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow; Book Centre Rudomino Publishers, Moscow).