(Radio Scotland) To Russia With Love

During Leningrad's bitter 900-day siege there was little evidence of hope but for a small book compiled by the people of Coatbridge, offering messages of solidarity.

Little did they expect, a few years later, to receive the same in kind - a magnificent work now saved for posterity in Glasgow.

Clare English goes on an emotional journey, tracing the story of this remarkable correspondence.

  • In the week leading up to the Russian presidential election, four writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.


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    0120080225 Lesley Chamberlain recalls the ice age of the Cold War and how she was able to find solace at the Moscow Hippodrome.
    0220080226 Journalist Vanora Bennett delights in sharing compartments with complete strangers as she explores the idiosyncrasies of travelling by train in Russia.
    0320080227 Simon Sebag Montefiore reflects on possibly the greatest of all historical romances - that between Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin in 18th century St Petersburg.
    04 LAST20080228 Prof Simon Franklin embarks on a journey that begins with an attempt to secure a visa and leads, quite unexpectedly, to one of Russia's great icons.
     20081013 Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon life-long relationships with the enigmatic nation.
    1/5: Theatre director Declan Donnellan reflects on the unexpected discoveries he made while working in Russian theatre and with Russian artistes.
     20081014 To Russia with Love
    Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.
    2/5.
    Prof Simon Franklin embarks on a journey that begins with an attempt to secure a visa and leads, quite unexpectedly, to one of Russia's great icons.
     20081015 To Russia with Love
    Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.
    3/5.
    Journalist Vanora Bennett delights in sharing compartments with complete strangers as she explores the idiosyncrasies of travelling by train in Russia.
     20081016 To Russia with Love
    Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.
    4/5.
    Lesley Chamberlain recalls the ice age of the Cold War and how she was able to find solace at the Moscow Hippodrome.
     20081017 To Russia with Love
    Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.
    5/5.
    Simon Sebag Montefiore reflects on possibly the greatest of all historical romances - that between Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin in 18th century St Petersburg.
     19980731 Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears undertook a number of visits to the Soviet Union, either on gruelling concert tours or on holiday - they even spent Christmas in Moscow one year.
    These visits cemented their relationship with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
    Pears kept detailed diaries on their travels, and they paint a vivid picure of these two very different Russians - one outgoing, the other painfully shy and reserved - and of what it was like to be a musician under the random brutality of the Soviet system.
     2007122720080108 
     20080321 During Leningrad's 900-day siege, a book compiled by Scots sent a message of hope.
    Here those involved tell us about this remarkable act of unity.

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