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British Consul General Keith Allan kicked off a series of Scottish events in St Petersburg, including the traditional 'Days of Scotland' festival.
Consul General Keith Allan kicked off two weeks of Scottish events in St Petersburg by hosting a traditional Burns Supper at the Residence. This is a special annual event when people gather to celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s famous poet Robert Burns. In addition to reciting Scottish poetry, it was also an opportunity to eat haggis and enjoy some fine Scottish whisky.
Robert Burns is well known in Russia. A 1924 translation of Burns sold over 600,000 copies. He became a people’s poet and a special commemorative stamp was produced in 1956. The Consulate General then hosted a ‘Days of Scotland’ reception opening the Days of Scotland traditional annual festival in St Petersburg. The highlight of the evening was Aleksandra Zaryankina, a Russian soprano who sang traditional Scottish songs.
The ‘Days of Scotland’ festival was organised jointly by the St Petersburg Association for International Cooperation and the St Petersburg Forum (Paisley, Scotland) together with the St Petersburg Committee for External Relations, the National Library of Russia and other institutions, and was supported by the British Consulate-General in St Petersburg. As part of the Days of Scotland, “Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots” book fair was held at the National Library of Russia, a quiz “Do You Know Scotland?” was held among the students of St Petersburg schools, and a Burns Supper was held at the Ambassador Hotel. A delegation from Scotland, namely representatives of the St Petersburg Forum, including its founders Elizabeth and Tom Clark, Reid Kerr’s College and Robert Burns World Federation, attended festival events. The Consul-General attended a Burns Supper at the Astoria Hotel, which was organised by the Caledonian Society of St Petersburg with the support of sponsors including the UK company Mace, and the Russian company SPb Renovation.