The nature of travel and tourism in Stalin’s Russia presents modern historians with a unique and utterly ambiguous concept. Travel and tourism under the Soviet emerged as a strictly regimented pursuit, which in line with the rest of Stalin’s Russia, came under heavy scrutiny and strict control, though it was strongly encouraged from the 1920s onwards and became officially regarded as a type of sport in 1949. The seemingly simple practices of leisure and travel under the Stalinist model presents readers with a paradox; as a system based on the labor theory of value, the USSR emphasized production as the foundation of wealth, personal worth, and the path to a society of abundance for all. However, the state began to encourage the practice of travel and tourism for its workers in particular which were complemented by the new advances leading to an eight-hour workday, a weekly day off from work, and an annual vacation that ‘constituted the triad of restorative and healthful rest opportunities in the emerging Soviet system of the 1920s and 1930s’. From numerous sources it is evident that both travel and tourism had become institutionalised under the Soviet planning methods and were heavily controlled to the extent that tourists and travellers were distinctively limited up to the very minimal aspects of their travel itineraries.
With travel being largely confined to within the Soviet itself and an ever-growing hostility to all things foreign, travel and tourism under Stalin reflected a ritualistic practice that encouraged both physical and mental exertion in groups; to imbue the Soviet travellers with greater experiences and to reinforce Soviet ‘patriotic identity’ as opposed to the sort of individualism that allegedly flo...
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