Dashkova Centre

About us

The Centre’s mission is to advance knowledge in the field of Russian language studies and to foster a broader understanding of Russia through research, academic training and knowledge exchange.

The Centre has the following areas of activity:

Research and Knowledge Exchange

  • Academic diplomacy
  • Cultural showcase

The Centre's objectives are to:

  • advance research in the area of Russian language in its cultural and social contexts
  • produce a world-class cadre of researchers at postgraduate and postdoctoral levels
  • provide a hub for intellectual exchanges through research fellowships, conferences, lectures, workshops and publications
  • engage in academic diplomacy, serve as a focal point for Russia-related academic activities in partnership with University departments, Edinburgh Global
  • project and other stakeholders, locally, nationally and internationally
  • advise Scottish, UK and EU bodies on issues related to Russian studies
  • serve as a focus for Russia-Scotland cultural exchange, produce a platform for successful outreach to the wider community in Scotland

Our resources include a library of Russian books, Russian databases, multi-channel satellite television and conference facilities.

Ekaterina Dashkova in Edinburgh

Princess Ekaterina Dashkova

The Centre is named after Princess Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova, one of the leading figures of the Russian enlightenment, who lived in Edinburgh from 1776 to 1779 while her son attended the University. While in Edinburgh, Princess Dashkova lived at the Palace of Holyrood House and was close friends with several of Scotland’s brightest enlightenment thinkers, including William Robertson, Adam Smith, Hugh Blair and Adam Ferguson.

On returning to Russia, she was appointed Director of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, thus becoming the first woman in the world to lead a national science academy. She also founded the Imperial Academy of the Russian Language. In 1783, she awarded William Robertson, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, with the honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology in her capacity as Director of the Imperial Academy of Sciences.

Her legacy includes thousands of pages of notes, letters, and manuscripts. As an academic, Princess Dashkova is best known for editing the Academic Dictionary of the Russian language, a pioneering work in Russian lexicology of the 18th century.

More about Dashkova