Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Journey to Russia

Event report

We welcomed over 40 people to our Russia event. Speakers Luba Balagova, Martin Kimber and Anna Walden gave us a fascinating insight into this vast country and its culture.

Author and film-maker Luba spoke about the mountainous region of the Caucasus, where she is from, and explained how she launched the Russian-British Sochi International Film Festival to bring Britain and Russia closer through shared cultural experiences.

Martin showed some evocative photos of beautiful buildings, the beach and lush landscape of Sochi which he and other Cheltenham residents have experienced thanks to the town twinning partnership between Cheltenham and Sochi, which started in 1958. Although visits and contact dwindled somewhat during the 1990s, Luba’s Film Festival was the catalyst for renewed energy in the partnership and there is now a range of exciting initiatives happening, including an online learning partnership between Balcarras School and a school in Sochi, and more initiatives in the pipeline.

Anna gave us an introduction to the beautiful Russian language, including the alphabet and simple phrases.

We hope the event inspired those local to Cheltenham to attend some of the fantastic film, music and art events taking place at Chapel Arts in February. CIOL Gloucestershire members will attend a film screening and drinks reception on 12 February and anyone local is warmly invited to join us.

The Russian-British Sochi International Film Festival will be holding film events in other cities around Britain in February. Visit for more details.

Russia: an introduction to the largest and most varied country in the world

Journey to Russia with Gloucestershire Network!

 In this Zoom event Luba Balagova Kandour, who is from the Caucasus region, will introduce this vast country, in which over 100 different languages are spoken. The largest country in the world, it spans Europe and Asia, covers 11 time zones, and has coasts on the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans.

Luba, a filmmaker and author, will talk about her work in Russian literature and the Russian-British Sochi International Film Festival, which she founded and which will visit six UK locations including Cheltenham, Gloucestershire this February.

Martin Kimber, Member of Cheltenham Twinning Association, and Honorary President of the UK-Russian Federation Twin Town Foundation will talk about the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi and the exciting events and initiatives organised by the town twinning partnership between Sochi and Cheltenham.

Anna Walden, a translator, interpreter, and teacher working with Russian and Ukranian will give us a Russian language lesson, introducing the cyrillic alphabet and including useful phrases.

Luba Balagova is Founder and President of the Russian-British Sochi International Film Festival and Awards and the film company Sindika Film Productions with her partner Mohy Kandour (Mohy Quandour). As a filmmaker, scriptwriter, producer she has produced five multi award winning films, one short film and several documentaries. She is also and author and has written 11 published books and over 100 articles. Luba was born in Kabardino-Balkaria. Russia, She lives with her partner and their two sons in Berkshire, United Kingdom.

Martin Kimber, now retired after 38 years working in education, drama and youth and community work in London and Gloucestershire, set up the first youth exchanges between Cheltenham and Sochi in the 1990s. A longstanding member of Cheltenham twinning committee, he has visited Russia 5 times between 1965 and 2021, most recently in 2019 to Sochi to resuscitate the twinning connection, and then as part of his role as Honorary President of the UK-Russian Federation Twin Town Foundation, to a conference in Volgograd a few weeks ago.

Anna Walden is a translator, interpreter, and teacher, with seven years of experience working for various companies, covering the English, Russian, and Ukrainian languages. Anna specialises in medical interpreting as well as working with the police, immigration and also wedding venues. Last year Anna worked on a book with another translator to help with linguistic consultation and creative translation.

This online event is free to attend.

Please book your place via Eventbrite here.

January 27th, 2022 4:00 PM
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CIOL Gloucestershire Network