The Caledonian Club in Moscow

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When you are far from home, wherever you are, that old pining for home comes back once in a while. Is it possible to have this longing, though, if it was your great-grandfather who came to a foreign land long before you were born and settled there? If you are of Scottish descent, the answer is definitely yes.

Descendants of Scotts all over the world form unions known as Caledonian Clubs to celebrate their heritage. In the early 1990s, a documentary was shown on the Russian TV about the part of Scottish history that especially relates to Russia. The film captured the attention of Vitaly Mironov, who became interested in meeting the people who made it. This is how, in 1994, the Moscow Caledonian club was born, with Vitaly Mironov as its President, and the historian Dmitry Fedosov, Ph.D, who was consultant for the film, as its Chairman.

It’s coat of arms has two St. Andrew crosses, St. Andrew being a patron saint in both Russia and Scotland. It’s on St. Andrew days (from November 30 to December 13) that the Club holds special events to mark another year.

The event that introduced the Moscow Caledonian Club to me was an acoustic concert by a trio of renowned British musicians – Ivan Drever, Frank Mcguire and Richard Young. I must tell you that the music sent my heart straight to the highlands…

Selection_243I asked Dmitry Fedosov to tell me more about the Club. With its twenty years of history, Dmitry has countless stories to tell. There were many Scotts in Russia even before the Revolution (for example, the Lermontovs, famous due to the poet Mikhail Lermontov). Today, most Scottish descendants from all over Russia have ties with the Moscow Caledonian Club. Having an open membership, the Club welcomes anyone who has an interest in Scotland, its culture and its history.

Dmitry doesn’t have any Scottish ancestors, but he’s Scottish to the core. Why is that?, I wonder. He shows me an old detailed map of Scotland. “My father gave this to me when I was eight, and, examining the map, I was lost in Scotland for life”.

The club sees its mission in cultural exchange by organizing concerts, lectures and other events in Russia, Scotland, Canada, Greece, Italy and Libya. They organized the Scottish traditional Highland Games in Moscow in 1997; and it was with the club’s active participation that the Kremlyovskaya Zorya military orchestra festival was organized in Red Square in 2007.

Being the inspired historian that he is, Dmitry has written a number of books on Scotland, and is working on the translation of the diaries of the General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries.

This magazine page wouldn’t suffice to list all of the Moscow Caledonian club activities (and neither would the next page do) – but its doors are wide open to anyone whose hearts are in the highlands…

You can contact The Caledonian Club Moscow by writing to the author on:

elena.k.borodina@gmail.com