The Soviet people could afford to travel around the world … right from the comfort of home. Beauty France, Italy, Mexico, he saw the eyes of the master of the popular TV program «Club of travelers» Yuri Senkevich. Features himself to touch the masterpieces of the world for those who lived behind the «iron curtain», almost was not.
Several generations of Soviet people had not thought about free overseas voyages. Mere mortals disrupt even legal boundaries of the great and indestructible Union could only in exceptional cases and with the top of the party’s permission.
It is today, the money is there, I sat down and went. And then self-foreign tourism did not exist in principle -only organized, presupposes the existence of turputevku. These cherished papers were getting an acquaintance or distributed by companies. Only the worthiest of the worthy had the right to claim them.
If a person was to spearhead the production had solid experience and a lot of reward, then a theoretical chance to see Bulgaria or Romania he had. However, even such a crystal clear citizen before getting on a plane or train, had to sweat.
What did the fortunate to whom the light dawned overseas lights? Of course, I do not run to the shops in search of decent clothes. He sat down and wrote an autobiography in which to provide your employment history, production gains, achievements in the field of social, family status (if you have a wife and a child, less chance that people will tear). Also painted in the colors of their high moral principles and boundless love for the motherland.
Characteristic sign «triangle» — the director of the company, party secretary and chairman of the trade union committee. When driving out of the Komsomol was age (under 28 years), the «square»: fourth flourish must be obtained from the secretary of the Komsomol committee.
But before we get autographs of the above persons, the future traveler was invited to a meeting of the Party or Komsomol bureau, where addiction figured out all the ins and outs of it, how many old ladies across the street translated as lectures for seniors read as potatoes collected, helping the collective farmers, etc.
Finally, a description of all the signatures. But that’s not all — it must approve the regional committee of the CPSU. The district committee is sitting Veterans Commission, for which the latest entertainment in life — a survey of candidates for suitability for tours. We’ll have to learn the names of all the chiefs of the party of the socialist countries, to find out when and how the account was there the Congress, and at the same time — the exact name of the party. One mistake — and farewell to hope.
In parallel with the moving party structures for citizen, decided to see «how there with them,» checked for «lice» other bodies of X-ray eyes that escape was impossible. And only if the person this whole quest was successful, he called and said that it is possible to buy a ticket — home and be willing to live without him for a few days. Another detail: the preparation of the passport had to pass normal. And in return — on the contrary. And in front of bureaucratic checks were all equal — actors, writers, athletes, workers and teachers. Will not pass inspection — and for decades to get the label «restricted to travel abroad.»
«Rousseau tourists look morale»
For traveling in the capitalist country have developed special «Rules». They paid much attention to the machinations of the imperialist intelligence possible. Describes all in an extremely gloomy «Soviet citizens … must constantly be politically vigilant, keep in mind that the intelligence agencies of the capitalist countries and their agents seeking Soviet citizens from their interesting information to discredit the Soviet man, when it suits them, even declination up to treason. To this end, exploration of the imperialist states, using modern technology, the method of eavesdropping, secret surveillance and photography, as well as methods of deception, blackmail, fraud and threats. The agents of the capitalist intelligence services are often under the guise of guides and interpreters, doctors and teachers, tailors, merchants, taxi drivers, waiters, hairdressers and other service personnel. The intelligence agencies of the capitalist countries tend to use their own purposes, and such weaknesses of individuals, as the tendency to alcohol, for easy relations with women, gambling, purchase of various things and inability to live within its means, as well as carelessness, indiscretion, carelessness and negligence in storage official and personal documents. «
Cheap and cheerful
Soviet foreign tourism developed under the noble slogan «strengthen friendship between the peoples.» Strengthen friendship dosed: most visited «brotherly countries» — Bulgaria, Poland, the German Democratic Republic. We go there even special friendship train. The move was a saying: «Chicken is not a bird, Bulgaria is not a foreign country!». Everything was almost Soviet: the letters on signs, clear it, and even the slogans — «Glory to the CPSU!».
The cost of permits was different. Most tours to socialist countries and people’s democracies have cost about 200 rubles. So, in 1962 in Czechoslovakia voucher for 14 days cost 110 rubles (without roads). Still had to pay for tickets to Prague — about 60 rubles to buy the currency at 27 rubles. As a result — 197 rubles. Tours to Romania and Bulgaria were worth 150 rubles, plus the road to Moscow, and currency exchange. Fifteen journey to India in the same year was worth 430 rubles from Moscow. Start in Finland for 9 days cost 134 rubles from Leningrad, the currency was allowed to spend 12 rubles. Cruise around Europe on one of the most comfortable while liners «Shota Rustaveli» costing 500-800 rubles (depending on the cabin class). Cruise around West Africa on the ship «Bashkiria» cost from 600 to 827 rubles, plus the road to Odessa and buying currency at 24 rubles.
Rates of exchange doomed Soviet tourists on a very modest existence. And because «Rousseau tourists» went to the voyage, laden with vodka, iron, clock, binoculars and other utensils, which is then sold in local markets.
On the obtained francs, lira or mark the tourists managed to buy quite a «tangible» things: in the GDR — carpets, Poland — fur coats, in Czechoslovakia — chandeliers, Finland — Women’s wigs. More sophisticated travelers from trips abroad carried the book «banned authors»: Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Gumilev and Bulgakov. Drinking Soviet tourists were mixed. The hotel rooms where they stopped, blocked a hefty portion of cable TV channels. In retaliation, slowly we dragged our disposable bags with shampoo and soap (souvenirs for colleagues). The people went to the historical anecdote of Soviet tourists who climbed the cliff to stare at the nude beach, nude and capitalists saw him, immediately began to shout: «Russian!»
Something small, something sorry
In a privileged position, but we are still «under the hood» were those who traveled abroad on duty: employees of consulates, international journalists, sailors, artists. Even they could not help the desperate moans, watching a completely different life. What to say about ordinary mortals! There have been cases where some women nervous even fainted at the sight of luxurious shop windows.
But on the whole Soviet people were mentally stable. They sincerely believed that although they have there, and the whole lot and fifty varieties of sausage, but life is still better than us. A sausage anywhere from us not go anywhere! As we can see today, the expectations related to future abundance justified, but now for some reason this is not so happy.
It is believed that the Soviet people were victims of official propaganda. In a sense, finitely. But this is only part of the truth. Anyway, in the 1960s, attended by a sense of optimism and sincere belief in the bright future, no matter how ridiculous it sounds today. Later, in 1970-1980-the feeling disappeared.
Today, millions of our compatriots had the opportunity to visit a distant world called «abroad» — without Komsomol permits and humiliation. Soviet unattainable dream remained far in the past. But it is becoming more accessible and closer to the Western world seemed lost some elusive charm. Perhaps it is because he has ceased to be a dream.