The team at Pushkin House is made up of a small group of staff and is assisted by volunteers, external partners and other helpers. Together, we are dedicated to bringing an eclectic array of cultural events to the House, supporting the development of Anglo-Russian relations and promoting Russian culture in the heart of London. The work of Pushkin House is overseen by a Board of Trustees.


Clem Cecil (Executive Director)

Clem is a Russian-speaking specialist in language, literature and architectural preservation, with many years’ experience working in, and with, Russia, initially as correspondent for The Times, then as co-founder of the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society.  She has co-edited four books on Moscow, St Petersburg and Samara. From 2012 to 2016 she was the director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage and SAVE Europe’s Heritage.


Alina Gainard (Senior Operations Manager)

Alina’s job is to ensure the effective and safe day-to-day operation of Pushkin House. She is also responsible for coordinating and managing all Pushkin House events Pushkin House, as well as managing the House’s commercial hire at very competitive rates. Should you be hosting your event at Pushkin House, she is here to produce promotional material, stay on top of ticket sales and to discuss and solve any other problems or practicalities in advance. Alina also manages our Book Shop.


Borimir Totev (Development Officer)

Borimir’s educational background is in international relations with a specialisation on post-Soviet politics. He is experienced in community organising, delivering projects funded by the Mayor of London. At Pushkin House, he manages the Learn + Participate education programme, looks after the network of Friends, Muses and Patrons, as well as Young Pushkins. Borimir also creates the PH Podcast.


Yulia Danilchenko (Marketing Coordinator)

Yulia holds a Masters degree in Organisational Management and has a background in the film distribution industry, working with film companies and local cinemas across Russia. As part of her previous work experience she has been responsible for partners relationship management and internal and external events organisation. After moving to London she joined several international film festivals as a volunteer. At Pushkin House, she’s part of the event and marketing team and looks after communication with English and Russian media, spreading the word about our work.

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Rafy Hay (Events Manager & Volunteering Coordinator)

Rafy joined Pushkin House in January 2018. He evaluates event proposals with the Executive Director, and liaises with speakers at upcoming events to discuss the content and marketing of talks, screenings and performances. He also runs the volunteering section, managing (currently) 153 enthusiastic assistants at events and exhibition openings. Rafy edits the Pushkin House blog, and occasionally videos for our YouTube channel as well. Previously he interned at Kino Klassika, a Russian film charity, and he edited the UCL student magazine during his BA in Russian and History.


Yulia Hladio (Accountant)

Yulia is responsible for day-to-day management of Pushkin House finances. This is her dog, Domino.


Katherine Hall (HR Consultant)

Katherine is a former charity communications manager turned HR adviser. She has a postgraduate CIPD qualification and is particularly interested in bringing HR to small organisations. She is working with Pushkin House to improve job design, implement performance management and develop management skills.


Alexander Karpeyev (Music Curator)

Alexander helps organise the classical music aspect of our cultural programme. He is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and City University London, where in 2014 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis on performance practice in the music of Nikolay Medtner. If you would like to propose a concert at Pushkin House, please complete the concert proposal form available from the Music Salon page.


Elena Zaytseva (Associate Curator)

Elena is a curator and writer who has curated many exhibitions at Pushkin House since 2012, exploring the ways the institution works in a cross-cultural context. Before moving to London in 2008, she worked at Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, as a curator in the contemporary art department. There she co-curated major exhibitions and the permanent collection display. She organised exhibitions as an independent curator, including special projects of the Moscow Biennale (2005 and 2007).


Craig Kennedy (Co-Chairman)

Trustee since 2013, Craig is a historian and banker. He is a Vice Chairman at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, where he has advised companies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Prior to that, he worked at Morgan Stanley and Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He received a BA and a PhD from Harvard University and wrote a dissertation on Tatar-Muscovite relations in the 15th and 16th centuries. He also earned an MLitt in Middle Eastern Languages from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has been an IREX Fellow at the National University of Uzbekistan and a Fulbright Scholar at the Russian State Archives of Ancient Acts (RGADA). Craig currently serves on the Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and is writing a book on the Russian oil industry in the 19th and 20th centuries.


Sergei Ostrovsky (Co-Chairman)

Trustee since 2008, Sergei is a partner at Ashurst, an international law firm in London where he heads the firm’s Russian & CIS practice. Born in Moscow, he studied theatre and published theatre reviews in Russia, before pursuing his graduate legal studies in the United States and London. In 2006 he co-translated The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard, which was published in hardback by Inostranka publishers, and produced for the stage by the Russian Youth Theatre (RAMT) in Moscow in 2007.


William J. Conner

William J. Conner has more than 40 years experience in development and as a management consultant in philanthropy. Since 2008 he has been a Fellow and Development Director at Wolfson College University of Oxford, and maintains an active consulting practice.  Current and recent clients include Hughes Hall University of Cambridge, the Ashridge Busiess School, the Global Leadership Foundation (London), the Global Young Academy (Halle/Saale), the Hellenic and Roman Library (London), the Oxford Philharmonic and the Jubilee Sailing Trust (South Hampton). He was a Managing Director of Brakeley Ltd which he joined in 2001.  Other institutional experience includes the role Development Director at New College University of Oxford, Associate Dean for Advancement with the London Business, Director of Development for the San Francisco Opera and earlier management roles in the arts and higher education.


Alexander Kan

A writer, journalist and broadcaster based in the UK since 1996, Alexander was previously a leading jazz and rock critic, and organiser of new music festivals and events in St. Petersburg.  He has worked as art and culture correspondent for the BBC Russian Service while continuing his work in music production and events.  He is the author of two books on the Soviet and post-Soviet new music scene.


Maria Gordon

Masha leads the emerging markets equity portfolio management team at PIMCO, where she is an Executive Vice President based in their London office. Before joining PIMCO in 2010, she was Head of Global Emerging Markets Equity Strategy at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and a lead portfolio manager for the Goldman Sachs Emerging Markets Equity Fund. She started her career as a reporter for the Moscow bureau of The Washington Post. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, and an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she is now a Vice Chair of the Board of Overseers.


Marc Polonsky

Marc Polonsky is a partner of counsel with an international law firm whose practice focusses on investment in Russia. He lived and worked in Moscow from 1998 to 2008. Marc studied Russian and French at Oxford University prior to qualifying as a solicitor in 1993. His book (co-written with Russell Taylor) USSR: From an Original Idea by Karl Marx (Faber, 1986) was republished as a Faber Find in 2011. Marc joined the Pushkin House Board in autumn 2017.


Sam Greene

Dr Sam Greene is an expert in Russian politics and social movements, and the link between Russian domestic and foreign policy. Sam has written extensively on policy and academic formats and is a frequent commentator in Russian and international media. His areas of research interest currently focus on understanding Russia’s shifting state-society relations and the causes and implications of the recent re-emergence of contested politics in Russia, including the social, political and economic effects of new media. A 13-year resident of Moscow, he speaks fluent Russian and holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. 


Heidi Smith

Heidi is an entrepreneur, consultant and educator with specialisms in Russia and its neighbours, the legal sector and transformative change.   She studied Russian at Durham University, politics at the LSE and law at London’s City Law School. She spent a year in Ulyanovsk Russia in 1992, where she co-produced TV programmes at Simbirsk TV and taught at Moscow State University.  She has worked for Accenture, Oracle and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and spent several years running OSCE legal reform projects in the former Soviet Union. She is the founder of a Russian-language legal support services business and speaks Russian fluently.


Viv Groskop

Viv is a writer, comedian, broadcaster and committed Russophile. Raised in Bruton, Somerset, she is the Artistic Director of the Independent Bath Literature Festival. A fluent Russian speaker, she has a degree in French and Russian from Cambridge University, and a Masters in Russian Studies from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. A regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 (Front Row, Saturday Review, Loose Ends), over the past twenty years her byline has appeared in all the major newspapers from the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Telegraph to the Guardian and the Observer. She has reported in depth on the Nord-Ost siege, Beslan and the Litvinenko case. She worked for Russian Vogue from London as a contributing editor for 10 years and has lived in Moscow and St Petersburg.


Elena Sudakova

Elena Sudakova is a founder and director of Grad, a not-for-profit art organisation which has been operating in London since 2013 as a Kunsthalle, a platform and a forum for debate while researching, curating, commissioning and producing over a hundred critically-acclaimed projects. Best known for premiering in London historical and archival materials from the Russian museums and cultural institutions, Elena also commissioned full scale installations in London by contemporary artists Olga Chernysheva, Irina Korina, Zhanna Kadyrova, ZIP art group and many others. Elena is also co-founder of ShadowMemory - an experimental art platform that provides free access to everyone, 24/7, and acts as a multidisciplinary art exhibition, a tour, a game, and an immersive experience, interacting within both digital and physical spaces. She lives and works in London.