Planning a spring break?

Planning a spring break?


norman lebrecht

January 27, 2014

Wonderful 1930s brochures from Stalin’s Intourist organisation in Ross Wolfe’s blog, right here.



  • The most wonderful thing about so many of the Soviet Union’s iconic social housing and sporting infrastructures, for example, is that they can be found all over today’s France. Where I live, there’s a sort of Lenin Stadium with ’30’s type outdoor pool, pillars, columns and the like, all topped off with a clock which hasn’t worked since I arrived in 2004 and which, Soviet-style, has never been mended. Neighbouring crumbling, tagged, uninhabited five-storey blocks of flats abound. For those wanting a nostalgic, Ostalgie-type trip à la Kaliningrad c. 1990 could do worse than just take a tour round the suburbs of any French city in 2014. They’ll find council blocks and stadia reminiscent of Stalinist Russia a-plenty to keep them happy. To round off the experience, they could try talking to any of the disinterested government employees at these buildings not currently on a break or RTT to remind them of the level of enthusiasm and motivation present in the Eastern Bloc from 1917 till 1989…