SCOTLAND and UKRAINE
Luhansk, or Lugansk in Ukraine, as it is known by its majority Russian-speaking population, was, in fact, established by Scots. “Brother Scots!” declares the “Luhansk is Scotland” campaign. “The time has come to blow the pipes and come out in favour of reunion with the motherland. God Save the Queen.”
A humorous manifesto, published by local newspaper V Gorode, sets out the case. “We all know that Luhansk and the Luhansk region owe their existence to the Scottish engineer Charles Gascoigne,” it says. “It was he who explored our seams of coal and ore and who laid the foundations for our glorious industrial land. The industrious nature of Scottish families formed the basis of the hardworking character of modern Luhansk people. We think of Luhansk as a true Scottish city.”
It was, in fact, a Scotsman, Charles Gascoigne – known locally as Karl Karlovich Gaskoin – who founded Luhansk in 1795 and ran it, as a factory settlement, till 1806. His statue still stands in the city’s centre. A shareholder of the famous Carron works in Falkirk, Gascoigne was one of a huge number of Scots entrepreneurs, engineers and other experts who served the then Russian empire in the 18th century. Many came from the Falkirk area. In Luhansk, they lived in a special colony on the new town’s main drag, called “English Street”.
As early as the eighteenth century Semen Desnytskyi, a Ukrainian economist and lawyer, studied at Glasgow University. A significant number of the Ukrainians who came to the UK as a result of the Second World War initially resided in Scotland, where they were employed mainly in agriculture.