CamRuSS was founded in 1999 by a small but tough bunch of Russian-speaking ladies, namely, Marina Burrell, Natasha Perry, Nina Pavlovskaya and Natasha McBride.
The story goes that once, on a bleak midwinter day, the above-mentioned ladies felt particularly nostalgic and patriotic; they got together for a drink in a pub, as one does, and had a sudden spark of inspiration – they decided to found a Russian-Speaking Society in the midst of Fenlands, to promote Russian culture and to strengthen mutual understanding between the nations.
The idea caught on immediately, and has led to unpredictable consequences. Over the years, CamRuSS has united people of many ethnicities and different walks of life, and has held a great number of fantastic events, from a picnic in an airfield (with real Russian planes) to a twilight ghost walk (with real Cambridge ghosts!), from a Russo-Scottish dance night to a Spanish-Russian chess tournament, from pancake feasts to mushroom hunts.
Among many guests of the Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society, there have been Evgeniy Borisovich Pasternak (the son of the poet and the publisher of his works), best-selling writer and historian Orlando Figes, BBC producer and journalist Bridget Kendall, former Soviet dissident and human-rights activist Vladimir Bukovsky, poet Dmitriy Prigov, BBC presenter Seva Novgorodtsev, expert on the history of KGB Chris Andrew, singers and song-writers Sergey and Tatiana Nikitiny, former British Ambassador in Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, as well as a male choir from St.Petersburg “Valaam”, to name but a few.
Presidents of CamRuSS: Marina Burrell (the foundress, 1999-2002), Tatiana Yurasova (2002-2010), Ksenia Afonina (from 2011)