“What Kind of Friendship is this?:” Tourism to Eastern Europe

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

“What Kind of Friendship is this?:” Tourism to Eastern Europe

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Eastern Europe was the most common destination for the Soviet international tourist. Chapter Three uses the typical touristic practices of sightseeing and shopping to explore the contested relationship between Soviet center and east European periphery. The chapter explores the application process for travel abroad, sites seen and photographed, the "infiltration" of local guides who sometimes openly challenged Soviet narratives of socialist fraternalism, efforts to “sell” the Soviet Union, and shopping. For travelers to eastern Europe, experiencing the relative ideological freedoms and material superiorities of east European countries firsthand led some to question the supposed superiority of the Soviet Union. If, in theory, the material advantages of east European countries could be taken positively as evidence that socialism and consumerism could co-exist, in practice, it was hard to explain why the socialist "younger brother" was so much better off than his elder sibling.

Keywords: Soviet Union; Eastern Europe; tourism; Khrushchev; Intourist; trade union; consumption; post-war; gender; culture

Chapter.  12944 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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