Back in the USSR. The Soviet government in the eyes of foreigners

Back in the USSR. The Soviet government in the eyes of foreigners

Petty bureaucracy, eccentric toilets, uncivilized “Intourist” and songs for conductors Thani as the aliens described the Soviet Union, which they saw.

In connection with the football world Cup happened a new exacerbation of the age-old Russian problem: what will others think? In this case, fans from different countries who came to Russia to see the matches of their teams, and, of course, on a distant and dreaded land. However, the secret thoughts of foreigners about our country are always worried about the Russians: in ancient times it was the Frenchman Jacques margeret and Scotsman Patrick Gordon, the new epoch brought new chroniclers from John reed with his “ten days…” to science fiction writer Hg wells “Russia in the shadows”.

From about the 1930-ies all visits of foreigners in the USSR was placed under the strict control of “Intourist”. Much later, Gorbachev’s Perestroika, the organization will become in some sense a sacred place: here and the currency and foreign tourists with brand clothes. Legends were many, but primarily it attracted those who did not seek too zealously to honor the criminal code — that is, speculators, money changers and prostitutes. But basically “Intourist” was just a travel Agency with a monopoly on the market of the whole country, but limited variety of instructions and orders that regulate the life of the staff.

About any significant tourist flow is only from the 50’s. Stalin died, announced the thaw, Nikita Khrushchev began to travel the world and represent the country. In 1957, Moscow hosted the world festival of youth and students, and in 1959 — exhibition of achievements of the American way of life with Pepsi-Cola and Richard Nixon. In General, the people of the West went to the Soviet Union. And left their memories on this visit.

“Left” Marquez. 1950s

Perhaps the strongest influence on the tone of these memoirs had their own political views Intourist. Gabriel garcía márquez, not the author of “one Hundred years of solitude” and the little-known 30-year-old journalist, 57-m came to the festival and then wrote the essay “the Soviet Union: 22 400 000 square kilometres without a single advertisement of Coca-Cola” — it obviously belonged to the Soviet Union with sympathy, though he noticed much.

Moscow is the biggest village in the world — does not meet the usual human proportions. Devoid of greenery, it is tiring, overwhelming. Moscow buildings — the same Ukrainian houses, increased to Titanic proportions. If someone released the masons so much space, money and time as they need to bring them to overwhelm the pathos of the decorations. In the center meet provincial courtyards — here drying on a wire underwear, and women breast-feed children.Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Marquez struck meeting in the city at night with a girl who was carrying a bunch of plastic turtles (“in Moscow, at two o’clock!”, enthusiastically he said) — however, it is now probably would have looked amazing. Or public toilets, which, perhaps, drew the attention of all travelers. And the conclusion from his own experience the writer did not the most respectful, although he noted that “in the Soviet Union neither hungry nor unemployed”.

“The Soviet people entangled in small problems of life. In those cases, when we become embroiled in the giant mechanism of the festival, we saw the Soviet Union in its tremendous and exciting elements. But just like the lost sheep, caught in the cycle of someone else’s strange life, found the country mired in petty bureaucracy, confused, stunned, with inferiority complex in front of the United States,” he wrote.