The first trip abroad to Soviet period. How it was?
Now Russia has a visa-free regime with many countries of the world. For residents of St. Petersburg, for example, not a problem to go to Europe. They can receive without invitation the Schengen visa for a period of one year in the Finnish consulate. But such expanse was not always.
In Soviet period each travel abroad was a big event in life of everyone who managed to make it. The people generally went to the countries of “socialist camp“. It is Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, GDR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and some other.
It was quite difficult to get even to a trip to such countries. As a rule, went the whole delegations. At the head of collective there was a person who is responsible for moral shape of each member of tourist group. The structure of group was formed of “the checked companions“ of a party, Komsomol and trade-union top. Abroad all went a friendly staff to the planned excursions. As a rule, people had not enough cash, was hardly enough for small souvenirs. If there was free time, then to the city released the three with a permission of the chief of tourist`s group. In this three everyone watched one after another, and then privately gave information to the responsible person about behavior of companions.
During that time I could not even dream of a trip abroad. The matter is that my husband was an officer and many years taught geodesy and cartography in the highest inzhenerno - military university in Leningrad. It means that he owned “the state secret“ - cards which could be bought in any bookstore. I also treated “confidential“ persons - as the wife. For this reason for many years the road abroad to me was closed. I received a set of invitations to participate in various international meetings and just to come to work from foreign colleagues. But every time was necessary to write me polite letters - refusals for some mythical reasons … It was very humiliating.
In 1989 there was a decision on some ease for visits abroad of members of families of the military personnel. In the spring of this year I received the invitation to take part in work of the international congress in Vienna. For me it was incomprehensible: the first trip to the city which was presented to me by the fantastic kingdom where the eternal holiday under music of brothers Strauss reigns! However there to get, I had to come back to Earth.
Pervo - napervo should have received the service international passport of blue color. These passports for the staff of Academy of Sciences were made out only in Moscow. For obtaining this desired document it was necessary to collect “cloud“ of the documents certified by signatures and the lilac seals. I made all this in time. Month through one and a half - two the passport, at last, was received. The following stage - receipt of a visa. In the presence of the passport and the invitation where it was told that my trip is completely paid with an inviting party, it was not so difficult.
The most terrible in this history the fact that it was necessary to get approval of the city party commission. My documents were sent to this commission, and I waited when I “appear before eyes of a high Areopagus“. Waiting I with great difficulty made a reservation aboard the plane to Vienna. This city was intermediate for the Jewish immigration from the USSR therefore for many months ahead tickets were not.
There passed a lot of time, to a departure there were 3-4 days, and from the commission there was no information, the ticket to Vienna could be gone … I in panic … What to do?
And here I appealed to the husband. The good friend worked for it in a party top of the city. I asked that Vladimir called it and learned in what business. The husband called and asked the friend “to uventilirovat“ a problem with the commission. Next day, when I went to work, about an entrance to my institute there was a young man with a false smile on lips and my passport in hands. He in every possible way apologized for a delay, told still some words, but I did not hear him. I looked at the brand new passport and thought, really I all - will go …
Yes, I visited Vienna. It was, perhaps, the first and my most unforgettable trip. I, at last, met the colleagues - scientists with whom I was familiar only according to their scientific publications and correspondence. We nicely worked on a symposium.
In some day off I visited the close friend of my husband who worked then in the Soviet embassy in Vienna. He organized for me a remarkable sightseeing tour. As now I see how we rush on a big Vienna ring in the black ambassadorial car under bewitching music And. Strauss “On beautiful blue Danube“ …
that memorable 1989 the Berlin wall failed, the Soviet Union sank Into oblivion then. In the next years I visited many countries, but still with shudder I remember first “preparation“ for a trip abroad.