Facing the Monument: Facing the Future

11 March 2015 | By Bazarov

'Bolt' and the problem of Soviet ballet, 1931

16 February 2015 | By Ivan Sollertinsky

Some Thoughts on the Ballets Russes Abroad

16 December 2014 | By Isabel Stockholm

Last Orders for the Grand Duchy

11 December 2014 | By Bazarov

Rozanova and Malevich – Racing Towards Abstraction?

15 October 2014 | By Mollie Arbuthnot

Walter Spies, Moscow 1895 – Indonesia 1942

13 August 2014 | By Bazarov

The Genius of Erte

28 April 2014 | By Rachel Hajek

Solidarity, people!

24 March 2014 | By Renée-Claude Landry

Guest Blog | Pulsating Crystals

17 February 2014 | By Robert Chandler Chandler

Guest Blog | Stenbergs' Faces

03 February 2014 | By Paul Rennie

Shostakovich: A Russian Composer?

05 December 2013 | By Bazarov

Travelling with intourist

31 July 2013 | By Richard Barling

Travelling with intourist

31 July 2013 | By Richard Barling

I have been rereading my travel diary from 1977 in preparation for a talk at GRAD. The trip was part of a longer journey from Istanbul to Bangkok and Australia, and covered the Central Asian Republics of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

The talk, ‘Travelling with Intourist’, took place in association with GRAD’s inaugural exhibition SEE USSR. For me they bring back a distant memory of the highs and lows of the Intourist experience.

‘Today began what I fear will be an ongoing battle with Intourist...’

‘Tonight the hamburger is served with an egg and called beefsteak...’

‘We stocked up with eggs and cakes and returned to the hotel, and had coffee in the coffee bar to the tune of breathily suggestive western music. In fact we have heard no ethnic music at all since coming to central Asia.’

‘Intourist are serving up the most mindless of bourgeois facilities and entertainment and one yearns for an austere little boarding house run along strict collectivist lines instead of this jarring attempt at sophistication.’

‘We travel today to Khiva by bus. This involves three separate buses, each crowded with Uzbeks including some fine old men with wispy white beards and broad lambskin hats. It is good to be organising ourselves again. There are very few tourists about and the majority of people in the street look like locals.’

‘Our tour-guide is a young student from Samarkand called Timur - “My friends call me Tim”. He asks us to send him a book from England “about love”. Tashkent is spacious and pleasant with impressive post-earthquake public buildings. We eat ice-cream In Revolution square - a pleasant park of trees and flowers around a statue of Karl Marx. The people in the park are young, animated and colourfully dressed...it could be a corner of Paris.’