St Petersburg’s English Assembly (the English Club) is the oldest public society in Russia, founded in March 1770. It ceased its existence after the revolution, in 1918, but was revived in the spring of 1998. In keeping with historical tradition, the Club’s activities are aimed to professional circles – politicians, state officials, businessmen, leading scientists and people in the arts. There are more than fifty members of the Club at the present time, representing all levels of the St Petersburg elite. Its motto is ‘Concordia at laetitia’ – ‘Concord and joy’.
As the Club prepares to mark its eighteenth anniversary, a new Chairman of the administration was elected, on this occasion Georgy Vilinbakhov, Deputy Director of the Hermitage Museum and Chief Herald of the Russian Federation. He has contributed greatly over the years to the recreation of the Club and the development of its symbols and rituals. To mark the 250th anniversary of the Hermitage in 2015 the English Club presented the museum with a print by Adolphe Charlemagne, Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. Illustration to Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace (St Petersburg, 1887). Dr Vilinbakhov was instrumental in identifying and acquiring the print.