Staunton, June 10 – Some 50 years ago, America’s Time magazine carried an article on how Soviet Moscow could merchandize itself. Among the slogans it proposed were “Brush your teeth while we wash your brain” and “Visit Moscow during execution season.” The latter springs to mind on reading the latest story to surface on the Russian Internet.
A group of scholars at St. Petersburg’s School of Economics and Management which is part of the HSE in the northern capital has proposed boosting Russian tourism in the Far North, site of numerous GULAG camps and Soviet military institutions in the past, by developing tourist clusters (iq.hse.ru/news/655845137.html).
Much of this enormous region should be a natural tourist attraction, the specialists on tourism at the institute say. Much of it is unspoiled because the territory was out of bounds for all but the Soviet military and Soviet penal institutions, including GULAG camps. Such places should be developed in ways that will allow Russians from the outside to visit.
The chief obstacle to this, the scholars continue, is that the Russian government has shown no interest in developing this region in that way. And without massive government support, tourism in the Far North will remain a pipedream even though everyone can see that the development of tourist sites in Scandinavia has been a boon for those countries.