100 Years of Russian Studies at the University of Glasgow

Published: 15 September 2017

Russian Consul-General gifts special collectors' edition of historic Tsar Book of Ivan the Terrible to the University

100 years ago the Department of Russian Studies opened at the University of Glasgow and today is the beginning of celebrations and events to mark this anniversary.

Within months of the first Russian class at the University of Glasgow, Russia was plunged into the Russian Revolution – events that were to change the face of world history.

Instead of sealing the fate of the new department, the internal turmoil within Russia had little impact on the University’s newest department at that time. This was because of the strength of the trading links between Scotland and Russia– links which underlay the foundation of Russian Studies.

Today, in another step back into history, the Russian Consul General, Andrey A. Pritsepov, will present a special collectors’ edition of the 16th century Illustrated Chronicles of the Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible – also known as the “Tsar Book” - to the University of Glasgow’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli.

Consul General of Russia Andrey A.Pritsepov said: “I am delighted to present this special collectors’ edition of the Illustrated Chronicles of Ivan the Terrible to the University of Glasgow on this honourable occasion when we together celebrate the centenary of Russian Studies and pay tribute to the remarkable people whose devotion and professionalism made it happen.

“I am confident that the Chronicles of Ivan the Terrible, being a literary monument in their own right, would not only find place of pride in University’s famous Slavonic collection, but also contribute to an enhanced understanding of the multifaceted cultural legacy of Russia and promote knowledge sharing between our peoples.”

Professor Muscatelli said: “We are deeply honoured to be presented with the Tsar Book by the Russian Consul General to mark the centenary of Russian Studies at the University.

“The 100th anniversary celebrations feature a packed and varied programme of events from a virtual exhibition of Russia’s first Gulag at the University’s Hunterian Museum to a rock concert organised by Glasgow’s Russian community.

“The celebrations mark the strong links between Russia and Scotland which are the foundation of Russian Studies at the University.”

The Hunterian Museum will host its first-ever virtual exhibition, based on research by Dr Andrea Gullotta – a lecturer in Russian – into the first Gulag in Russia, the Solovki Prison Camp. The exhibition, “Beauty in Hell: Culture in the Gulag”, explores the cultural output of those held prisoners in the camp.

An academic conference, “100 Years of Russian Studies at the University of Glasgow – Teaching, Research, Memory”, will celebrate the centenary of Russian Studies over three days from today until Sunday (September 15-17). It will include a rare public lecture by Lyudmila Ulitskaya, one of the most prominent Russian writers of our time. Her lecture is entitled “From the Phenomenon of the ‘Serf-Artist’ to Russian Avant-Garde: Interrelation between Power and Artist in Russia”.

The conference will also showcase the Library’s rare Slavonic manuscripts – one of the most important such collections in the West.

The original Illustrated Chronicle of Ivan the Terrible is the largest compilation of historical information ever assembled in medieval Russia. It covers the period from the creation of the world to the year 1567. 

The set of manuscripts was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible specifically for his royal library. The compilation consists of 10 volumes, containing about 10 thousand sheets of rag paper. 

The volumes are grouped in a relatively chronological order and include four major areas: Biblical History, History of Rome, History of Byzantium and Russian history.

Media Enquires For more information contact Aine Allardyce in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on 0141 330 7126 or email aine.allardyce@glasgow.ac.uk

First published: 15 September 2017