Season’s Greetings

Dear friends,

Christmas is a time to celebrate special people in our lives and we would like to thank you
for being part of the CamRuSS community.

Thank you for supporting our charity through this year offering your advice, expertise, and time, enabling us to run community events, develop new programmes, help Ukrainian refugees, and stay strong and united.

We wish that 2023 will bring peace, happiness and love to you and your family.

Our warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Ваш/Yours, CamRuSS

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English Language Course Graduation Day for Ukrainian Students

On Saturday, 17 December 2022 a Graduation Day of the Ukrainian students of free English language classes run by our small local charity, The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society (CamRuSS), with support from the South Cambridgeshire District Council, took place at St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church in Cambridge.

CamRuSS volunteers launched this project in April this year – when the first Ukrainians fleeing the war started arriving in Cambridge. Over 30 volunteers, who came from Norway, Canada, USA, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, as well as native British, were involved. During April-July CamRuSS delivered English classes to 90 students, which were supported by over 20 teachers and assistants.

From September Tanya Yurasova and her colleague Alla Viktorova have been managing the second ESOL course for Ukrainians launched with the support of South Cambridgeshire District Council. Over 90 students aged between 18 to 70 years old, all from diverse backgrounds – a 70-year-old university teacher from Kharkiv and an 18-year-old university student from Kyiv, a doctor, an architect, a bookkeeper and even a choir conductor – have been learning English in Cambridge to help them cope more easily with life in the UK.

To support Ukrainians further, CamRuSS held fortnightly information sessions on vital topics, such as education in the UK, banking and finance, driving and cycling, access to the NHS, job search and careers, access to benefits and food banks. A telephone support service in Russian and English was run by 18 volunteers.

“I am very grateful to CamRuSS for the precious help they provide to people who come from Ukraine. It is hard to imagine how we would have been able to cope with everyday issues that are part of normal life to a local resident”, says one of the Ukrainians who has recently moved to Cambridge.

Cambridgeshire residents and organisations came together to offer their expertise and help. St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church and Jesus College generously provided venues for the classes in central Cambridge over a period of three months. They became refuge hubs for new arrivals. Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, Cambridge Sustainable Food and Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign shared information on accessing free food and daily essentials in Cambridge. The National Careers Service offered advice on the job market in the UK, The Scott Polar Research Institute offered free tours of its Museum, Churchill College Chapel hosted two fundraising events.

Tanya Yurasova, a licensed Cambridge tourist guide, offered free guided tours of Cambridge to Ukrainians and their hosts from early spring. Mark Thompson kindly allowed Ukrainian students of English access to his specialist online language course to encourage independent learning and help them improve their English skills needed for professional employment.

CamRuSS worked with Jesus College, enabling them to employ Ukrainians as support staff. To acknowledge this generous effort, the Master of Jesus College, Sonita Alleyne, hosted a dinner for the CamRuSS volunteers in September 2022. The College chef developed a special menu for this memorable occasion.

The Ukrainian crisis brought together people from different countries and cultural backgrounds living in the UK– where humanism and empathy are at the core of the country’s multicultural identity. “In my experience of living almost 20 years in the UK, this is an unprecedented case of people coming together in their joint effort to help new community members”, says Ksenia Afonina, CamRuSS Chair of Trustees.

We are grateful to Cambridge News, who published our press release on 14 December 2022. You may view the article here.

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Looking for a Home for Ukraine sponsor for my distant relatives from Kyiv

Looking for a sponsor for my distant relatives from Kyiv as my living conditions and family circumstances do not allow me to accommodate them. They applied for a visa a week ago, the timing of arrival depends on how quickly they will get the visa.

Ninochka is 60 years old, she is a general practitioner. She is caring, attentive and meticulous, she is ready to advise free of charge newcomers and long-term settlers on health issues and just to talk and listen to people – she is very good at it, she does not speak English, but speaks both Russian and Ukranian and hopes to become a useful member of the community.

Her husband Sasha is 65, he is a retired power engineer but still works. He is a keen cyclist, very energetic, happy to help with odd handy man jobs around the house and has great sense of humor. The couple has a healthy life style and no bad habits.

We will provide them with everything they need, we are ready to pay extra to top up the bills in addition to sponsorship, which is now £500 per a household. I will consider all options and also take the responsibility if things do not work out. In that case I will host them temporarily and will look for another sponsor. To prevent that happening I will get involved in the process prior to arrival to make sure I find a good personality and house match. If there are opportunities for a shorter period than 6 months, this may also work.
All they need is warm-hearted people and a warm house. They will be grateful for it and I will make sure that the sponsor is happy too.

Thank you all in advance and please send any offers or suggestions to me at Please spread the word outside the community as it is my next step and I appreciate any help on this matter.

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Remembrance Day 11 November 2022

Dear veterans,

Every November we join with you in remembering and honouring all those who lost their lives in military conflicts, and especially your comrades who fell in the Second World War. We are grateful to you, and to everyone whose courage and sacrifice contributed to victory. We wish you good health, and hope that friendship, understanding and love will overcome conflict, and bring peace for us all.

With warm regards,

Your friends
at The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society.

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Vacancies with Ede & Ravenscroft

Cambridge-based company Ede & Ravenscroft Ltd, which offers a range of products and services for graduation ceremonies and has operations in Waterbeach and Littleport, can offer the following vacancies to Ukrainian guests:

Warehouse Operatives

Photographic Editors

Production Operatives – Laboratory

Production Operatives – Framing

Multi-Skilled Machinists (Sewing)

If interested, please email Vitor Gomes:


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Ludmila Perlova presents an Art exhibition BAUHAUS101+ – Saturday-Monday, 24-26 July, 12:30-18:30 (BST)

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This exhibition was initially planned to take place in December 2020 but due to the coronavirus restrictions it was postponed and is now taking place on 24-26 July 2021.

 An art exhibition dedicated to the 101st anniversary of the world-famous Staatliches Bauhaus – a German Art and Design School founded in 1919 in Weimar by architect Walter Gropius (the creator of Impington Village College buildings).

The exhibition features works of art and design inspired by the achievements of some distinguished artists who influenced Bauhaus style, such as Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. The exhibits illustrate the continuing influence of Bauhaus ideas on modern art and design.

WHEN: Saturday-Monday, 24-26 July 2021, 12:30-18:30

WHERE: Impington Village College, New Road, Impington, Cambridge CB24 9LX


For any questions, please email Ludmila Perlova at

About Ludmila Perlova

Ludmila Perlova is a professional interior and furniture designer. She received a thorough art education including at a children’s art school, followed by a secondary art school affiliated with the Leningrad Academy of Arts and, finally, the Estonian Academy of Arts. She has been teaching art to children and adults for the last 13 years. Although her personal interests lie in portraiture and figurative art, Ludmila teaches various techniques, including painting with oil, acrylics, watercolours and pastels, drawing, graphics and sculpture as well as collage, wool and mixed media.

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Stanley Ballard (1923 – 2021) Memorial Page

James Pitts (1924 – 2017) and Stanley Ballard (1923 – 2021) at the Soviet War Memorial in London on 9 May 2014

We learnt about the departure of another dear member of our community – a veteran of the Second World War Stanley Ballard (1923 – 2021) who visited us in Cambridge a couple of times in the last years. In 2015 Stan took part in the “Evening of History and Memories” where he shared memories of his war experiences and gave interviews to local students as part of The Arctic Convoys filming project in 2017. Stan, who turned 98 on 21 June, passed away in a care home in Surrey on Monday, 28 June.

Stan was born in Pimlico, Westminster. On 21 June 1941, he joined the Royal Navy and became a leading seaman in the submarine detection service (ASDICS) onboard HMS Southdown Destroyer in 1941 and later HMS Cotton in 1943, which took part in the Arctic convoys. He was part of the convoy to Iceland and then to Russia in 1945.
Stan was a man of great wit and artistic talent. He enjoyed singing and was a lead voice at all veterans’ gatherings, where “The Way We Were” was one of his favourites. He loved poetry and left us with some memorable and moving pieces, such as these:

In life, some of us go through hell and come back for a brand new start

Full of love from the zest of love we have to really start

But people being people, with hearts full of love

And love is something that comes from the heart and brain

So you have to re-start the motor and revive it once again

If you are really lucky and get a second start

Make sure you make most of it, love so full in your heart

There are people in this world today who know not what love is

They are most unfortunate; they know not what love is

There are many forms of love in this life that we live

Of personal things, but the best by far is love for one another

If you have not known this love than life is not complete

What tells us what makes this love we keep within our heart

This love, warm and so full of life, it makes us ten feet tall.

If you have not this love life is incomplete

This life of ours is so short, every precious day we should count

I have seen so many things in this long life I cannot believe

With your background of love instilled in you son, by a family so full of love

And you and I must say “Thank God” for another day…

(an abstract from “The Black Vase” dedicated to his son. September 2007)


Our Heaven

Should I find a heaven that I could choose

I would leave this world behind me

Though good friends I would lose.

I would take with me your loving heart

Your eyes, your lips so true

And though all the years without a fear

We would have our dreams come true.

And though this Heaven lays beyond my schemes

Take cheer and guard your heart

For we will make one of our dreams

If you will play your part.

For it is surely in our means

So let us make a start.


Stan was featured in our VE-75 presentation (page 6).

You can find Stan singing (from 38:50 to 40:20) in the closing scene in The Last Witness film project created for HMS Belfast by Tim Lewin.

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Peter Zinovieff (1933 – 2021) Memorial Page

Peter Zinovieff in 2013 (by Jakob Polacsek)

Another CamRuSS friend whom we lost was Peter Zinovieff (1933 – 2021) who passed away on Thursday, 24 June at his home in Cambridge.
Peter was born in 1933 to Leo Zinovieff and Sofka, Russian aristocrats, who met in London after their families had emigrated to escape the Russian revolution. He earned a doctorate in geology at Oxford University.

Peter was a British engineer and inventor, most notable for his Electronic Music Studios (EMS) company, that made the famous VCS3 synthesizer in the late 1960s used by many early progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd, The Who, White Noise, and Krautrock groups as well as artists like Todd Rundgren and David Bowie. Dr Zinovieff, geologist, librettist and adventurer in sound and music, was the first person to own a ‘computer’ at home long before the modern PC or Mac. He helped to design and build the acclaimed VCS and Synthi series, which have now become the stuff of legend and the dream of collectors.

Peter was a very energetic person who eagerly jumped into any new project, be it geological research, creating the first synthesiser, composing electronic music, cooking his Russian nanny’s recipes or gardening.

CamRuSS has welcomed Dr Zinovieff twice: in June 2015 we held the talk “My Russian Roots & Childhood Memories” where Peter talked about his unusual upbringing by his grandparents during World War II (his lineage traces back to Catherine the Great and Yury Dolgorouky, the founder of Moscow), while his daughter Sofka presented her book “The Red Princess” about Peter’s mother Sofka, née Princess Sophia Dolgorouky; another talk, called “Another World of Music” was held more recently, in January 2019.

You may read Peter’s obituary in The Guardian, The Times, and The Telegraph.

Peter will be greatly missed. At these sad times, our thoughts are with Peter’s family.

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John Barber (1944-2021) Memorial Page

John Barber (January 2017)

With great sadness we inform you of the death of CamRuSS Honorary Adviser and long-standing supporter of CamRuSS, John Barber (1944 – 2021) on Saturday, 26 June at his home in Cambridge.

A distinguished scholar in Russian history and politics, he shared a passion for every aspect of Russian culture, from its language – which he mastered to perfection – to its culinary traditions.

A man of many talents, he loved music and song which he practised with CUMS, King’s Voices and latterly the St Botolph’s choir. John was an active contributor in Russian poetry classes and was a member of Parkrun for several years, among other endeavours.

John joined CamRuSS in the first years of its conception as an informal voluntary group and supported its development and growth throughout the years. He delivered talks, helped with organising lectures and film festivals and became one of the key organisers behind the ‘Elena Marttila: Art and Endurance in the Siege of Leningrad’ exhibition and series of events exploring the history and culture of the period in 2017, which he opened with his seminal talk “The Hungry Winter of 1941-42”. His last lecture for CamRuSS was in September 2020 “Operation Barbarossa: The Turning Point of WWII”.

He was a man of big heart and sharp wit. Erudite and diplomatic, he was at the core of our community and will be greatly missed by us all.

Our thoughts are with John’s family.

The family asks for any donations to be made to the Arthur Rank Hospice or Wood Green Animals Charity via Peasgood and Skeates.

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Upcoming publication of Teffi, Other Worlds: Peasants, Pilgrims, Spirits, Saints (Pushkin Press, 2021)


Teffi, Other Worlds: Peasants, Pilgrims, Spirits, Saints (Pushkin Press, 2021)

Teffi, Other Worlds: Peasants, Pilgrims, Spirits, Saints (Pushkin Press, 2021) translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Sara Jolly, Nicolas Slater and others, will be published on 26 August 2021.

Please read Robert Chandler’s introduction to the book, and two extracts from the latest collection of stories by Teffi published by the Moscow Times. 

Here is a video of the discussion of this publication with Robert Chandler and Taisia Kitaiskaia.

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