Russia

 Gaelic

RU01
Norman & Walter Leslie 

RU02
Patrick Gordon

RU03A
Thomas the Rhymer & Lermontov

 

 RU03
Catherine's Scottish Doctors

RU04
Arctic Convoys I

RU05
Arctic Convoys II

Scotland and Russia have close connections, not least in their shared reverence of Saint Andrew! In the days before the discovery of the New World, and for a long time afterwards, Russia was often seen as a vast land of opportunity and adventure. It was therefore an appealing destination for vigorous and ambitious Scotsmen, and as was often the case it was in war that they made their most obvious early contributions to the Russian state. Scottish soldiers were noted in the Grand Duchy of Muscovy in the 1300s, but it was the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which saw Russia emerge as a major player in world affairs, expanding considerably in size, influence, and ambition.

Just as soldiers like Alexander Leslie thrived in Swedish service, many Scottish officers served Russia, and a number gained prominent rank: in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries fifteen Scots became Russian generals whilst James Bruce and George Ogilvie made it to Field Marshall! A Robert Bruce was St Petersburg's first military governor in the early 1700s. Such men were held in great esteem. Patrick Gordon (1635-99) from Aberdeenshire, in recognition of his services to the state, was granted permission to build the region's first Catholic church and school, something he could never have achieved in Scotland at the time. 

Nor was it only on land that Scottish soldiers performed well for Russia: the Imperial Navy - which flew an ensign which must have warmed a Scots heart (left) - was also well served by Scots, including Admiral Samuel Greig (1735-88) from Inverkeithing in Fife. His sons also held successful naval careers, and a grandson became the tsar's Minister of Finance. Scottish architects, doctors (such as James Wylie from Tulliallan), and diplomats could all be found close to the Russian court in this period.

Scotland's contribution to Russia's history was not just martial, of course. Merchants and industrialists played their part too. In 1815, Russia's first steamship (right) was the work of Charles Baird's company, a vast industrial empire based around St Petersburg which employed both Russian serfs and Scottish engineers. Baird was just one of the prominent Scottish industrialists working in nineteenth century Russia. Some Scots integrated into their communities, but others banded together in what one English writer in 1805 called a "Caledonian Phalanx"!

An Ruis


Tha ceanglaichean dlùth eadar Alba agus an Ruis, agus cha lugha sin na anns an spèis a th’ aca le chèile don Naomh Anndra! Anns na làithean mus deach an Saoghal Ùr a lorg agus airson ùine às a dhèidh, bha an Ruis air a faicinn gu tric mar dhùthaich mhòr làn chothroman is dhàn-thursan. Mar sin, b’ e ceann-uidhe tarraingeach a bh’ anns an Ruis do dh’Albannaich sgairteil is glòir-mhiannach agus mar a bha a’ tachairt gu tric, b’ ann ann an cogadh a chuir iad gu faicsinneach ri stàit na Ruis. Thugadh fa-near do shaighdearan Albannach ann an Diùcachd Mhòr
Mhuscovy sna 1300an, ach b’ ann san t-seachdamh agus san ochdamh linn deug a thàinig an Ruis am follais mar phrìomh dhùthaich ann an cùisean an t-saoghail, a’ leudachadh gu mòr ann am meud, cumhachd agus glòir-mhiann.

Dìreach mar a shoirbhich le saighdearan mar Alasdair Leslie ann an seirbheis na Suaine, bha mòran oifigearan Albannach ann an seirbheis na Ruis san d’ fhuair cuid aca gu ìre àrd: aig deireadh na seachdamh linn deug agus toiseach na h-ochdamh linn deug,  thàinig còignear Albannach deug gu bhith nan seanalairean san Ruis agus fhuair Seumas Brus agus Seòras MacGilleBhuidhe gu inbhe Mharasgal-cogaidh! B’ e fear Raibeart Brus a’ chiad riaghlaiche armailteach a bha air St Petersburg tràth sna 1700an. Bha spèis mhòr do a leithid sin de dh’fhir. Fhuair Pàdraig Gòrdain (1635-99) à Siorrachd Obar Dheathain, agus mar aithne do a sheirbheis don stàit, cead a’ chiad eaglais agus sgoil Chaitligeach a thogail san sgìre, rudeigin nach b’ urrainn dha a-riamh a choileanadh ann an Alba aig an àm sin.

Agus cha b’ ann a-mhàin air tìr a bha saighdearan Albannach a’ cur an gnìomh gu soirbheachail don Ruis: bha a’ Chabhlach Ìmpireil a bha a’ taisbeanadh bratach a bhlàthaicheadh cridhe nan Albannach (clì) air a frithealadh gu math le Albannaich, a’ gabhail a-steach an t-Àrd-mharaiche Somhairle Greig (1735-88) à Inbhir Chèitinn ann am Fìobha. Bha dreuchdan-beatha mara soirbheachail aig a mhic cuideachd agus thàinig ogha dha gu bhith na Mhinistear Ionmhais don tsàr. Dh’fhaodaist ailtirean, dotairean leithid Seumas Wylie à Tulach Almhaigh agus riochdairean dioplòmasach Albannach uile a lorg mu thimcheall cùirt na Ruis aig an àm.

Cha b’ ann dìreach armailteach a bha cuideachadh na h-Alba ann an eachdraidh na Ruis ge-tà. Bha pàirt chudromach aig na marsantaich agus luchd-gnìomhachais cuideachd. Ann an 1815, thàinig a’ chiad bàta-smùid san Ruis (deas) a-mach à companaidh Theàrlaich Baird, ìmpire mhòr gnìomhachais stèidhichte mun cuairt St Petersburg a bha a’ fastadh an dà chuid innleadairean Albannach agus seirbheisich Ruiseanach. Cha robh Baird ach mar aon den luchd-gnìomhachais Albannach le àrd-chliù a bha ag obair san Ruis anns an naoidheamh linn deug. Bha cuid de na h-Albannaich gam filleadh fhèin a-steach do na coimhearsnachdan aca, ach bha feadhainn eile a’ cumail còmhla ann an dòigh a chualas bho sgrìobhadair Sasannach ann an 1805 mar "Dlùth-fheachd Chailleannach”!