Estonia as the Soviet “Abroad”

Anne E. Gorsuch

in All this is your World

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199609949
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731853 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Modern European History

Estonia as the Soviet “Abroad”

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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If, after Stalin, Sovietism still meant a standardized material and mass culture, it now also deliberately, if cautiously, included some of the previously excluded including the westernized material and popular cultures of Estonia. Soviet citizens sometimes described the Soviet Union's western frontier as the “Soviet abroad,” the formerly ideologically and geographically marginalized now re-imagined as a new type of "Soviet.” This chapter explores efforts to incorporate Estonia into the Soviet sphere through tourism. It uses guidebooks, photo albums, travel accounts, documentary films, and postcards to discuss both the Sovietization of Estonia through new tourist infrastructure -- hotels, tourist bases, and sites of touristic pilgrimage -- and the appropriation and enjoyment of Estonia through visits to Tallinn's medieval Old Town, coffee houses, and furniture stores. The chapter also examines the ways in which Estonia was portrayed and experienced as a safely westernized periphery used to help modernize the Soviet center.

Keywords: Soviet Union; Estonia; Baltics; Khrushchev; tourism; hotels; architecture; consumption; nationalism

Chapter.  13946 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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