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During the Soviet era and following the collapse of the USSR. How post-Soviet states are (re)building their tourism sector. The examples of Ukraine and Georgia

Nataliia Moroz
Traduction de Université Bretagne Occidentale
Cet article est une traduction de :
Pendant et après l’URSS. Comment les Etats post-soviétiques (re)construisent leur secteur touristique ? L’exemple de l’Ukraine et de la Géorgie [fr]
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
Durante e depois da URSS. Como os estados pós-soviéticos (re)construíram seu setor turístico? O exemplo da Ucrânia e da Geórgia [pt]

Résumé

No discourse on tourism geopolitics would be complete without one of the historic and landmark cases that affected the tourism industry on a global scale: that of tourism in the former Soviet Union. This gigantic country comprising 15 republics managed to build an unusual tourism tradition between mass domestic tourism and international tourism controlled by the single company Intourist.
Following the dissolution of this geopolitical entity, the post-Soviet areas, representing today a particularly curious field of study, entered a new stage in the construction of their tourism sectors while at the same time providing new targets for international tourism. In terms of domestic and hospitality tourism, these are more specifically areas under permanent (re)construction as a result of not only historical and political changes, but also identity and remembrance discourses that, moreover, mark their respective heritage landscapes. Ukraine and Georgia are two such symbolic examples through their quest to ‘de-Sovietise’ their tourism dynamics by changes in political discourses leading, on the one hand, to a war of monuments and remembrance, but also, on the other hand, to a ‘mythologisation’ and a ‘folklorisation’ of their tourist areas.

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Notes de la rédaction

Peer-reviewed article
Note to readers: all quotations from Russian and Ukrainian texts are translated from the author’s French translation with reference to the original texts in footnotes.

Texte intégral

Introduction

1Through the acceleration it has experienced since the 1990s, globalisation has contributed to the continuous development of mobility, today an integral part of human life, both for work and for pleasure. Moreover, tourism, transformed into a “development industry”, “has branched out, diversified and multiplied to the point of becoming one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economic sectors” (Sarrasin et al., 2012). In addition, this quasi-industrialised activity depends primarily on a stability that is “not only political”, but “the significance of which often exceeds that of the natural and cultural attractions” (Sarrasin, 2004b) of the areas and regions that position themselves as tourist destinations.

2No discourse on tourism geopolitics would be complete without one of the historic and landmark cases that affected the tourism industry on a global scale: that of tourism in the former Soviet Union. This gigantic country comprising 15 republics succeeded in building an unusual tourism tradition that to date has been studied in post-Soviet countries (Abramov and Tonkoshkur, 2010; Bagdasaryan et al., 2007; Ivanov, 2016; Lysikova, 2011; Orlov and Popov, 2019) and in the Western world (Coeuré, 2012; Mazuy, 2002).

  • 1 Discourse conveyed by the media and governments of the two countries in question (Ukraine and Georg (...)

3The post-Soviet area represents a particularly curious field of study. As soon as they left this historic area with its closed borders, the former Soviet republics became “both host countries and departure countries for tourists abroad” (Matelly, 2013), with a large number of individuals ready to discover the new horizons that were finally opening up to them after long years of being inaccessible. In terms of domestic and hospitality tourism, these are more specifically areas under permanent (re)construction as a result of not only historical and political changes, but also identity and remembrance discourses that, moreover, mark their respective heritage landscapes. The examples of Ukraine and Georgia, both heirs of this tourism tradition but also identifying themselves as “brothers having experienced the same misfortunes of history”,1 will thus be discussed below in order to understand the paradoxical nature of the tourism and heritage development of these two areas.

  • 2 Created in 1929, the All-Russian Joint-Stock Company for the Acceptance of Foreign Tourists, in oth (...)

4By taking a multidisciplinary approach, this article aims to highlight certain geopolitical aspects of tourism in the two countries studied. It thus appeared relevant to broach this subject from a diachronic perspective, with a small nod to the tourism reality of the Soviet era. The reflection logically begins with a historical parenthesis introducing this phenomenon as a political soft power. Despite the inaccessibility of official statistical data on tourism during this period, the aim of identifying the place and role of the two republics in the global tourism dynamics of the USSR required the iconographic study of posters by Intourist2 (documents considered today as material and immaterial heritage of the Soviet era). Finally, the modern period is presented through the comparative analysis of political discourses, their scientific interpretations, as well as practical knowledge of and observation in the field.

I. Soviet tourism: an unusual political soft power

5There can be no doubt that the historical context of the transformation of tsarist Russia into a new ideological entity with the emergence of a new giant in the international political and economic arena had consequences on the history of tourism on a global scale. Despite much debate and criticism, Soviet tourism occupies a very specific place in the history of tourism practices, being characterised as an activity with a strong ideological imprint. Notwithstanding the de-Sovietisation of the various former republics, this ideology is still very present in the political discourses, mentalities, and tourism behaviours of these post-Soviet societies.

  • 3 The final constitution of the Union of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics became effective in 1940 with (...)

6Due to the common history of the 15 republics during the existence of the USSR,3 the study of the development of tourism activities in these different territories remains indiscernible, and is limited to the analysis of the general trends emanating from the totalitarian state. Dictated by the centralised power, tourism policy and consequently its associated heritage aspect thus form part of the historic evolutions and intersections of the geopolitical stakes of the whole Soviet area. It is practically impossible to determine the share of each of the republics and their destinations in pan-Soviet tourism. Where Ukraine and Georgia are concerned, this first part will provide the opportunity to better define the global image of these two republics in the pan-Soviet tourism promotion aimed at foreign tourists.

  • 4 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “показательно, что за весь период существования в СССР (...)

7Soviet tourism was not limited, however, to international tourism. Considered controversial and heavily criticised for its purely ideological aspect, this type of tourism was not representative of the entire Soviet tourism sector. Rather, it is its geopolitical and therefore multi-faceted, polemical and ambiguous nature that generates so much debate and interest. “It is significant that during the entire period of the existence of international tourism in the USSR, no symposium was devoted to its theory or history4 (Orlov and Popov, 2019, p. 15).

A. Soviet domestic tourism as a major tool in the education of the masses

  • 5 “The Friendship of Peoples was a phrase coined by the Communist Party leadership to illustrate the (...)
  • 6 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “молода радянська держава визначила завдання – постав (...)
  • 7 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “Про зняття пам’ятників, що були споруджені на честь (...)
  • 8 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “спорудження барел’єфів, стел, пам’ятників, які стали (...)

8For the Soviet political elite, tourism was considered from the outset as a soft power used to unite, educate and direct heterogeneous populations. In order to implant the new Marxist-Leninist ideology among a mainly working-class and peasant population, the new power put forward the benefits of the unprecedented political project, “more promising for the country, both egalitarian and modernising”, in terms of the “relative improvement in living conditions and incomes” as well as “infrastructures, means of transport, and above all literacy and more generally investments in education, science and health” (Piketty, 2019, p. 679). With the enlargement of the Soviet borders, and for the Soviet power proclaiming the “friendship of peoples”,5 domestic tourism thus became the major tool for channelling the popular masses. It provided them with the opportunity to discover “the other” – other peoples, but also their territories, landscapes, cultures and traditions, as well as the industrial and technical progress associated with them. Moreover, “the young Soviet State took on the task of providing a new society with the benefits of the cultural goods inherited by the populations of previous eras, thus forming its own proletarian culture6 (Abramov and Tonkoshkur, 2010, p. 113). However, this new ideology also aimed to create a new collective memory, and thus to erase as much as possible all traces and marks of the previous era. To this end, Lenin issued a decree in 1918 “on the removal of monuments erected in honour of the tsars and their officers, and the preparation of projects for monuments to the Russian socialist revolution”,7 thus enacting the Sovietisation of the territories, which took the form of the installation of “bas-reliefs, steles and statues, which became the primary objects of the new guided tours and tourism activities8 (Abramov and Tonkoshkur, 2010, p. 114). 

9In general, the evolution of Soviet tourism can be divided into two major historical periods separated by a global geopolitical event; in other words, before and after the Second World War (1917-1939 and 1945-1991). However, what this periodisation primarily marks is the legislative evolution and consequently the change in the main actors, namely the institutions and organisations in charge of tourism development and activities.

  • 9 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “стахановца характеризовала "строгая дисциплинированнос (...)

10Tourism itself, like all sectors of the Soviet economy, remained under the permanent control of the State and was distinguished by the appearance of forms of a purely Soviet nature, such as mass domestic tourism, mass excursionism, ‘wild’ tourism, and spa tourism. The State thus developed a unique tourism product aimed at the domestic international consumer, with the supply therefore creating the demand. The main societal values that were gradually cultivated by the state policy accompanying the Marxist-Leninist ideology then became key avenues of tourism propaganda. The impetus was given in the 1930s when it was necessary to create the structured, educated and cultured working-class society. The figure of the Stakhanovite, “characterised by strict discipline, without excesses of conduct, a model of cleanliness, neatness, culture at work and in his private life9 (Volkov, 1996), thus became the archetype of the ideal Soviet citizen. In order to educate the masses, the State therefore undertook to provide various tourism activities with the aims of improving health, broadening ideological and cultural knowledge, and shaping the value of the family as a unit of Soviet society (see Document 1).

Document 1: Soviet tourism posters aimed at domestic tourists

Document 1: Soviet tourism posters aimed at domestic tourists

From left to right: “Be a tourist, travel through the homeland”; “Tourism is the way to health”; “Healthy rest for workers!”; “Go on a family holiday”.

Travellers’ Club, 2014.

11In order to offer the very best resting conditions to workers, the so-called “tsarist” heritage was redefined and redeveloped to serve the reigning proletarian class. The former mansions of the aristocracy were thus transformed into sanatoriums and proletarian rest homes in seaside and spa areas, while certain churches and cathedrals were desanctified for their conversion into organ halls.

12The tourism development of the post-war Soviet areas continued the same tradition: education and improvement of the health of workers and their families within the framework of the friendship of peoples. A new reunification dimension appeared during this period, namely the remembrance of Soviet heroism during the Great Patriotic War.

B. Incoming tourism or “political pilgrimage”?

  • 10 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “После революции 1917 г. и последовавшей за ней Граждан (...)

13One of the most enigmatic elements of the communist period experienced by Europe in the twentieth century” (Coeuré, 2012, p. 9) was the opening up of the Soviet borders to welcome foreign tourists. Indeed, in 1920 “the foreign policy of the Soviet government focused on strengthening the international image of the country10 (Voronkova et al., 2016), the objective of which was essentially economic. Forced industrialisation within the context of the new political economy required significant financial funds, which the State decided to supplement with revenues from international tourism aimed at highlighting the success of the proletarian class in the struggle for their freedom. The process defined by Ivanov (2016) as the “indoctrination of tourists” was structured in such a way as “to show travellers only what they wanted them to see” (Tassou, 2019). The objective was for ‘capitalist’ foreigners to discover “the land of triumphant socialism” (Voronkova et al., 2016), including the lives of its workers and its industrial and technical progress – major principles and doctrines present throughout the history of Soviet tourism. The second key point highlighted was the notion of a society built on the principles of internationalism, with harmonious and friendly inter-ethnic relations (see Document 2). This strong image of “triumphant socialism” was in direct political opposition to those systems and societies where racial discrimination existed.

Document 2: Intourist posters – “Invitation to the USSR”

Document 2: Intourist posters – “Invitation to the USSR”

From left to right: “100 peoples invite you to visit the Soviet Union”,

https://medium.com/​@propagandopolis/​trips-to-the-ussr-1005937bf8a7, accessed 22 January 2020; “Visit the USSR, the country of the world’s first cosmonaut”
https://www.alamyimages.fr/​photos-images/​vintage-soviet-intourist-travel-poster-ussr.html, accessed 22 January 2020.

  • 11 All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (1925-1958).
  • 12 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “корректировать их дорожные впечатления приводило к том (...)

14Tourists in the inter-war years were primarily “communist militants or sympathisers” (Aucouturier, 2002) whose aim in visiting the Soviet Union was to “discover a political system” (Mazuy, 2002, p. 8; Pattieu, 2009) of this “ideological Eldorado” , the study of the heritage and culture of these areas being relegated to the background. This tourist practice, sometimes compared to a form of “pilgrimage” (Mazuy, 2002; Tassou, 2019), obviously remained under the total control of the State through the vigilant eye of two State-owned companies, “the VOKS11 and Intourist, which were responsible for supervising travellers and selecting the sites to be visited” (Tassou, 2019). However, the ideological distrust towards so-called ‘capitalist’ foreigners and above all the desire to “correct their travel impressions led to accompaniment by a Soviet guide/interpreter becoming a mandatory requirement for all foreign tourists, whether individuals or groups, and even if they spoke Russian perfectly12 (Popov, 2017). The historical developments and improvements in the political regime following Stalin’s death (1953) did nothing to change this situation. International tourists, regardless of the purpose of their trip, had to be monitored and therefore accompanied and entertained throughout their stay.

15Yet, apart from “indoctrination”, which included showcasing heritage connected to the triumph of ideology and “pride in the country” (Voronkova et al., 2016), the Soviet discourse also extended to the tourism development and promotion of the cultural specificities and even folklore of the Soviet populations through its doctrine of “friendship of peoples”. In this context, “Soviet patriotism functioned as a tool of communication aimed at creating a new identity” (Vorokova et al., 2016). The geography of this promotion can be read in the iconography of Intourist’s promotional posters, today considered true works of art and the subject of private collections and heritage exhibitions. Even though they represent the achievement of the main task of Intourist, namely the shaping of public opinion in capitalist countries in favour of the Soviet Union, they enable the identification of the tourism themes and, above all, the Soviet destinations open to international tourists. These iconographic documents served as levers in the creation and development of Soviet tourism marketing principles when the fostering of a positive tourism image of the country was based on the development of an image combining official and unofficial national symbols and markers, demonstrating the level of socio-economic and cultural development. The visualisation of the country’s tourism attractiveness was achieved through the representation of its geographical area (“See the USSR”), through images of its regions (“Visit the Caucasus”, “Visit Central Asia”, “See Ukraine”, etc.), its main urban centres (Kiev, Leningrad, Tbilisi, Batumi, Baku), its nature (“Go Hunting in the USSR”, “The Soviet Riviera”) and its ethnic groups (“100 peoples invite you to visit the Soviet Union”, etc.), or through the most significant Soviet achievements (Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, the aeronautics sector, etc.).

C. Ukraine and Georgia in the iconographic discourse of Intourist

16Given the lack or inaccessibility of textual data on the geographical and heritage dimensions of Soviet destinations, the only source for constructing a mental image of the Soviet tourism offer is found in the iconography of Intourist, most of these posters dating from the years preceding the Second World War – a period when the ideological imprint is considered to have been the strongest in the communication and practices of international tourism. The cartographic representation (see Document 3) reveals the areas with their highlighted heritage landscapes. This map was produced some time between 1929 and 1934. These dates are approximate but have a historical foundation: firstly, the Intourist company started operating from 1929 onwards, and secondly, Kharkiv was the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1919 to 1934. It is thus logical that certain post-war European territories (Galicia, Moldova and the Baltic States) are not shown as being part of the country.

  • 13 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “место, благоприятное для оздоровления, занятий лечебн (...)
  • 14 The dam was built between 1923 and 1927, and inaugurated and put into operation in 1927. The Lenin (...)

17In general, “during the Soviet period, Georgia represented a cultural and economic exception” (Radvanyi, 2011, p. 169). Indeed, Georgia was one of the only examples in the Soviet area that had managed to preserve and export its traditional culture and cuisine. The country presented itself as a cultural, gastronomic and scenic gem, maintaining its status as one of the favourite destinations for the Soviet peoples. As regards international tourism (see Document 3, Zoom 1), Georgia was therefore seen as a country boasting several attractions: seaside resorts (along the Black Sea coast), mountains (the South Caucasus mountain range) and the cities of Tiflis (Tbilisi) and Kutaisi, the “southern gateways to the mountains” (Radvanyi and Thorez, 1976). The territories of Abkhazia “with its famous vegetation presenting certain subtropical characteristics” (Radvanyi and Thorez, 1976) and Adjara were positioned as “places conducive to improving health through spa treatments and subtropical climates, exotic nature, and mountain landscapes. For these reasons, a whole infrastructure of spa resorts, hotels, sanatoriums and rest homes was built there13 (Voronkova et al., 2016). The image of a country of spa treatments was further reinforced by the presence of the historic baths of the capital Tiflis (historical name of Tbilisi), as well as the aspect resulting from Soviet technical prowess with Kutaisi, the second industrial city of the country after the capital, and the ZAGES hydroelectric power plant on the Kura river and its Lenin monument14, an emblem of communism.

  • 15 The hydroelectric dam on the Dnipro River, built between 1927 and 1932 and put into operation in 19 (...)
  • 16 Government administrative building, built in the constructivist style in 1928.

18For its part, Ukraine remained marked by several heritage dimensions (see Document 3, Zoom 2): the industrial South-East (Donbas, Dnipropetrovsk, the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station,15 Kryvyi Rih), the constructivist capital (Kharkiv with its Derzhprom complex16), the cultural North (the churches and monasteries of Kiev and Chernihiv), and the medieval West (the medieval fortress at Kamianets-Podilskyi). In addition, it boasted a particularly noteworthy rural landscape (peasants, traditional houses, the Dnipro area in Cherkasy) – a landscape typical of the Ukraine that crosses the country from the north to the south-west, stopping in Odessa, the seaport, and in the nature reserve areas of the southern steppes.

Document 3: Tourist map of the European part of the USSR. Intourist, 1930s

Document 3: Tourist map of the European part of the USSR. Intourist, 1930s

Bibliothèque nationale de France (gallica.bnf.fr; accessed 22 January 2020)

19The same aspects appear in the iconography of the posters. The Ukrainian and Georgian areas thus appear in the general invitations to geographical areas (“See the Caucasus”, “See the USSR”, “See Ukraine”) or cities (see Documents 4 and 5). Incidentally, the urban destinations were even more limited than on the map. The only cities listed in the corpus of accessible posters are Tbilisi and Batumi for Georgia, and Odessa, Kharkiv and Kiev for Ukraine. The overt or covert symbolism suggests an allusion to the heritage-creation regime and its tourism development through the symbolic colours of communism, industrial elements, or representations of ethnic peasant or working-class populations. Within this context, the images of peasant or working-class women in traditional dress and carrying local agricultural produce can be interpreted as heralding the “feminisation of regional societies with patriarchal customs” (Voronkova et al., 2016), the transformations brought about by internal Soviet politics making women full members of society, involved in various sectors of national production. We can only imagine what message was actually conveyed to the target tourists. Was it a question of once again reinforcing the contrast with the capitalist world by displaying its feminist movements?

Document 4: Intourist posters – Ukraine and its cities

Document 4: Intourist posters – Ukraine and its cities

Intourist, 1930-1960

Document 5: Intourist posters – Georgia and its regions

Document 5: Intourist posters – Georgia and its regions

Intourist, 1930-1960

20Obviously, these images do not give a full picture of the tourism representations built around the Soviet republics. For this, it would be necessary to study the textual and iconographic discourses of the travel guides of the time. Nevertheless, as the first visual documents influencing the decision-making process through their images and catchy slogans, these posters represent today a significant source of intellectual and artistic wealth.

II. Post-Sovietism: models of tourism development for the Ukrainian and Georgian territories

A. Tourism at the heart of the new policies of the independent states

21Tourism underwent strong ideological and national transformations in the former Soviet republics following the collapse of the USSR. Socially and therefore economically, “the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its production apparatus in 1990-1991 led first of all to a drop in the standard of living between 1992 and 1995” (Piketty, 2019, p. 693). Despite the disappearance of the “Iron Curtain”, the persistence of a sufficiently low purchasing power meant that a large part of the post-Soviet population could not travel – either within the country or outside of it. Many families, henceforth separated by the borders between the newly independent states, thus preferred to travel to see their relatives, now considered as ‘foreigners’, rather than to explore new horizons. Moreover, society saw “oligarchs arriving on the scene and the major plundering of public assets” (Piketty, 2019, p. 693). This new class, together with a specific political elite, constituted an often fickle tourist clientele attracted by luxury tourism that was more generally based outside of their home countries.

22With the stabilisation of the national economies and the gradual recovery of the financial capacity of the populations to travel, the post-Soviet areas became tourism ‘donors’. The post-Soviet tourists of the late 20th to early 21st centuries thus integrated international tourism flows, leaving their home countries in favour of the countries of the ‘capitalist world’, which had previously been closed to them.

23As regards the domestic and incoming tourism sector, these areas underwent identity and heritage transformations due to the new policies of national construction employing new identity and historical discourses. The latter consequently became identity markers integrated into the construction of national tourism attractiveness strategies.

24And what were these discourses?

25For Titov, V., Bushuyev, V. and Samokhvalov, N. (2015), the new national policies that were established following the collapse of the Soviet Union were primarily characterised by policies of history defined as the “metamorphosis of existing history”. The authors draw attention to its contradictory and conflicting nature, often exploited to serve the interests of the political elite (Titov et al., 2015). Obviously, and by analogy with the installation of the communist regime (Abašin, 2012), the post-Soviet governments adapted the same methods of influence, namely “comparison with the previous political power” (Piketty, 2019, p. 679) through “the development of an ideology of independence” in which “references to history are central” (Abašin, 2012). This policy of nation-building in independent states was described by Letnyakov, D. (2016) and later by Churakov, D. (2018) as being based on a “post-colonial discourse” accentuated by “the return to Europe”, “wars of remembrance”, “identity conflicts” and “the flourishing of ethnocentrism”.

  • 17 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “Десоветизация означает замену советских политических и (...)

26As the former Soviet republics were neither ethnically nor culturally homogeneous and were, moreover, forced to undergo a painful social and economic transformation following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the elites of each of these states were confronted from the outset with the task of legitimising their newly independent state. To do this, it was necessary to create a political nation with its own myths and narratives, to justify the legality of its borders, and to foster a sense of solidarity around the common memory. Therefore, in sharing a common Soviet heritage and aiming to justify the restructuring of social and political life, the post-Soviet governments resorted to a process of “de-Sovietisation”. This process is defined as the “invention of new boundaries of ethnic, Soviet and cultural standardisation” (Letnyakov, 2016) through the elimination of “official remembrance linked to memories of the Soviet era” (Abašin, 2012) and “the replacement of Soviet political interests and symbols by new national elements17 (Kuznetsova, 2001). Within this context, remembrance discourses and heritage constructions rapidly acquired a post-colonial tone whereby the idea of “cultural standardisation” was seen as a condition sine qua non for a process of national modernisation along the lines of the European nation states (Kuznetsova, 2001).

27Given the post-colonial identity-based nature of state policies, tourism in these former Soviet republics needed to be restructured. This restructuring was characterised by two key elements, namely the new politicised collective memory and the ‘folklorisation’ of images and heritage landscapes.

B. Tourism developments in Ukraine and Georgia: (geo)political parallels

28Ukraine and Georgia offer two striking examples of the difficult transition to post-colonial identity discourses in which certain (geo)political parallels can be found. In this state of transition, the tourism sector was considered as both a ‘silent witness’ and a ‘political weapon’.

29Tourism areas – silent witnesses of the remembrance policy

  • 18 The great famine in Ukraine and Kuban, 1932-1933.
  • 19 The museum in Tbilisi is located on the main thoroughfare of the city, between the Philharmonic and (...)

30The inescapable process of de-Sovietisation, “built around the opposition between two antagonistic historic actors, those who suffer and those who bring suffering, those identified as the ‘nation’ and those referred to as the ‘empire’” (Abašin 2012), took very specific forms in the states studied. The new discourses and policies of historical remembrance were implemented ten years after the fall of the USSR. The governments of Mikheil Saakashvili (2003) in Georgia and of Viktor Yushchenko (2004) in Ukraine, formed after the colour revolutions, chose nation-building with pro-Western values as their primary focus. The new national policies were thus propagated and popularised through the creation of pantheons of national heroes, and places and museums dedicated to the national collective memory. This type of policy is often compared to a “quest for ‘lost genocides’” (Abašin, 2012): Ukraine experienced the quasi-sanctification of the Holodomor18 through the creation of memorials to and museums presenting this historic period, especially given that “since 2006, Museums of Soviet Occupation have been opened in Ukraine and Georgia” (Abašin, 2012). The term “museum” nevertheless appears ambitious in both cases as, in reality, these are mere exhibitions. Through its museographic concept, the Georgian exhibition, part of the National Museum in Tbilisi, conveys a message on the dark history of the country. The Ukrainian exhibition, on the other hand, is no more than a modest collection of documents made available to visitors. From the museography of the two “museums”, it can be easily understood that the Tbilisi museum has more of an anti-Soviet ideological bent than the Ukrainian “museum”. The location in the urban space19 highlights the importance attributed by the Georgian government to the message that the exhibition is supposed to convey to the public. This is not the case with its Ukrainian counterpart, more reminiscent of an exhibition in an archive rather than a museum of national importance.

  • 20 In Georgia: the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict in 1992-1993 and in 2008, the war for South Ossetia in 200 (...)
  • 21 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “Слід нагадати, що явище ‘декомунізації’ не є прямим (...)
  • 22 Translated from the Russian: Вождь пролетариата.

31Moreover, the internal and external geopolitical conflicts with Russia that led to the territorial fragmentation of the countries20 and to the installation of “de facto borders” (Bachelet, Duquesney and Merle, 2017; Bachelet and Richard, 2019) contributed to the implementation of “radical de-Sovietisation along the lines of the Lithuanian-Polish model21 (Kyslyuk, 2016) supported by the laws “prohibiting the symbolism and propaganda of communist and fascist totalitarian regimes” (passed in 2011 in Georgia and in 2015 in Ukraine). However, while in Georgia this process, managed by the political elite, took place in a more or less peaceful manner, Ukraine, having experienced stages of pacifist de-Sovietisation prior to 2015, developed a heritage battlefield that has gone down in history as “Leninopad” or “Lenin’s fall” – the savage destruction of monuments to the “leader of the proletariat”22 resulting in the “vandalising” of other Soviet memorial monuments. Consequently, certain urban landscapes (e.g., Kharkiv’s Freedom Square) have seen the appearance of landscape gaps and even ruins, thus negatively impacting the tourism appeal of the areas.

32Moreover, as a logical follow-up to the so-called “decommunisation” laws, and with the aim of giving both Ukraines the legal possibility to commemorate their respective heroes, the Ukrainian political elite took the decision to replace the concept of the Great Patriotic War, “emotionally charged” due to “its function of consolidating the population of the Soviet Union into a single community” (Letnyakov, 2016), with the more neutral concept of the Second World War. These two Ukraines are the predominantly Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine with its strong collective memory of the Great Patriotic War, and the predominantly Ukrainian-speaking Western Ukraine, historically collaborationist with Nazi Germany. In this context, the pantheons of heroes on both sides were opposed and confronted with the commemoration of the Soviet soldiers in the East and of the anti-Soviet nationalist fighters led by Stepan Bandera in the West (Galicia and neighbouring territories). This politically exploited fragmentation of the collective memory was further increased by the incorporation of new remembrance elements related to the war for Ukraine through Euromaidan and in the Donbas. Ukrainian remembrance museography and scenography were therefore subject to the cohabitation between opposing memories, particularly in terms of tourism: Soviet vs. contemporary anti-Soviet (see Documents 6 to 8).

  • 23 Joseph Stalin’s Soviet nickname.
  • 24 Stalin’s real surname.

33Georgia also serves as an example of remembrance paradoxes erected as heritage from which the tourism sector draws its attractions. Despite the central anti-Soviet image embodied in the Museum of Soviet Occupation in Tbilisi, the country has a completely contrasting national pride. Indeed, the homeland of the “father of nations”23 preserves and promotes, on a national scale, the heritage directly connected to the figure of Ioseb Dzhugashvili.24 The city of Gori (Stalin’s birthplace) developed its tourist appeal around the Joseph Stalin Museum and the railway carriage inscribed by the Georgian government on the list of mobile cultural heritage. According to the independent Russian news agency INTERFAX (2019), this memorial complex dedicated to the cult of the Soviet leader is the most visited tourist site in Georgia.

34Apart from this tension between Soviet and anti-Soviet heritage so visible in tourism, both states have chosen to bet on the development of the tourism sector in their respective economic policies. As in the 1930s, during the Soviet period, the current governments place their hopes in the revenues that tourism could generate. These hopes are therefore reflected in strategic projects and their achievement on a national scale.

Document 6: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance in Kharkiv

Document 6: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance in Kharkiv

From left to right: Holodomor memorial; Motherland statue at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier dedicated to the Great Patriotic War.

© Nataliia Moroz, July 2019.

Document 7: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance in Kiev

Document 7: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance in Kiev

From left to right: Kiev, hero city, Stele to Victory in the Great Patriotic War in Victory Square; Exhibition dedicated to the events of Euromaidan 2013-2014 in Independence Square.

© Nataliia Moroz, November 2018.

Document 8: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance at the Vysota Konyeva Memorial Museum in Solonitsevka, Kharkiv region

Document 8: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance at the Vysota Konyeva Memorial Museum in Solonitsevka, Kharkiv region

From top to bottom: Museum space dedicated to the fascist occupation and the liberation of Kharkiv during the Great Patriotic War; Museum space dedicated to the war in the Donbas.

© Nataliia Moroz, July 2019.

35National tourism strategies: lessons from Georgia

  • 25 Former President of Georgia (2004-2013) and former Governor of the Odessa Oblast in Ukraine (2015-2 (...)

36Georgian and Ukrainian tourism facts sometimes take on the role of a soft power within post- colonial, anti-Russian and pro-European discourses. This assumption stems from the speech made by Mikheil Saakashvili25 to the Ukrainian parliament in 2016 on the subject of the development of tourism in Ukraine (Saakashvili, 2016). It concerned the sharing of experiences and strategic ideas at the highest level of government. Despite the controversial status of the figure of Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukraine continues to exchange experiences with Georgian public sector professionals at some local levels (the city of Kharkiv, for example). The analysis of their geopolitical context proposed in the following text is thus based on the speech by the former Georgian president (see full text of the speech in Appendix). This methodological choice can be explained by the fact that Georgia experienced its tourism boom during the years of Saakashvili’s presidency, which was also confirmed by the opinion of the ordinary Georgians met during quasi-anthropological conversations in the field. “In reality, our tourism boom started after the Russian invasion in 2008. We made a philosophical decision: either we complained to the whole world that they were occupying us and oppressing us, or we generally hid all these facts and talked only about the positive aspects of Georgia” (Saakashvili, 2016).

37The current Georgian tourist region (the centre and certain peripheral areas) underwent a form of ‘folklorisation’ or even ‘mythologisation’ in order to move towards an attractive image boasting a purely Georgian identity. “Above all, the aim is to portray Georgia as a welcoming and modern country” (Bachelet and Richard, 2019), as well as a European state with a long history prior to Russian influences. To this end, the myth of Colchis and its interactions with Ancient Greece is actively included and staged in the tourism discourse, establishing a continuity between the ancient kingdom and modern Georgia: in the year 2000, Tbilisi thus celebrated the 3,000th anniversary of the national state (Letnyakov, 2016).

38It appears that the same objectives are emphasised in Ukraine, but with one difference: Ukraine has a large number of safeguarded heritage sites and objects in contrast to Georgia, where the political elite had to invent “all the old town centres, simply because they did not exist before” (Saakashvili, 2016). “Ukraine is not Russia” is the crucial statement of the Ukrainian identity image that can be seen in advertising spots, for example. The tourism message reinforces the representation of the country with its own identities in terms of civilisation and history (the State of Kiev – the first state of the Eastern Slavs and the arrival of Christianity in the 20th century, the State of Galicia, the State of the Cossacks, etc.), and of lifestyle and mindset (between European classical culture and the traditional and folk culture of the Ukrainian peasants). It is, in other words, “a European country that for 350 years has been prevented by Russia from living in Europe” (Letnyakov, 2016).

  • 26 Reference made by M. Saakashvili concerning the visit by Prince Albert II of Monaco to Batumi (see (...)
  • 27 M. Saakashvili.
  • 28 Reference to the development project for the town of Anaklia “presented during a forum on China’s ‘ (...)
  • 29 Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

39The ‘mythologisation’ of tourist spaces became the political means by which Georgia could attract the attention of tourists, certainly, but also of the global political elite.26 This is evidenced by the blatant, even amazing, heritage inventions in Sighnaghi (MS27: “I said: ‘Let’s build a new town on these hills’. Now the town looks like a 16th-century town”), in Batumi (MS: “... Piazza Square... building it from scratch as if it had existed from the 15th century”), or concerning the Rabati Castle (MS: “None of this existed. We invented it and had it built. And now it’s a major tourist centre”, inspired by photos of the Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi fortress in the Odessa Oblast). These tourism projects, especially in the de facto border area, are characterised by Bachelet, A., Duquesney, L. and Merle, T. (2019) as a “dramatisation of the national space” aiming at the express geopolitical goal of presenting Georgia as a “peaceful and prosperous inviting showcase28 not only to potential tourists but mainly to the populations of the breakaway regions29 in order to make them want to reintegrate as “political autonomies within a Georgian federal system” (Bachelet and Richard, 2019).

40The former Georgian president therefore proposed a similar scenario to Ukraine with the creation of a Ukrainian ‘Las Vegas’ on Snake Island: “We constantly fear that it will be taken away from us. Just turn it into a huge gambling centre: build a 600-room hotel there and make it a world-famous brand – then everyone will know that there is an absolute miracle in the Black Sea” (Saakashvili, 2016). Indeed, the island in the Black Sea, or more precisely in the waters between the coastline of the Odessa Oblast and Russian-annexed Crimea, could breathe life into the ambitious yet unfulfilled Georgian projects because, for the Ukrainian politician of Georgian origin, “in the struggle against the same empire”, “saving Ukraine also means saving Georgia” (Herbecq, 2017). Yet given the rapid changes in the political arena of these two post-Soviet states, regularity in their tourism strategies cannot be identified. It will be necessary to wait for the results of the policies of the new governments to be able to draw conclusions on the continuity of geopolitical occurrences in tourism in both countries.

Conclusion

41Given the chronology of the strategic developments in the tourism sectors, we can conclude that, since its independence, Ukraine has followed certain examples and lessons learned from the Georgian experience. The common Soviet past represents a major factor in the emergence of the concept of a fraternity of peoples, as much politically and historically as mentally and culturally. The tourism sectors of both countries thus follow the same pattern of transformations ‘from Soviet to post-Soviet’, characterised by the commercialisation of the tourism activity, the opening up to international tourism prevailing over domestic tourism, and the transition from the “patriotic model to the hedonistic model” (Lysikova, 2011). The integration of post-colonial and anti-imperialist discourses in all fields often leads to monument wars, as reflected in the heritage landscapes of certain Ukrainian and Georgian tourist areas and sites. However, these anti-Soviet narratives tend to ignore or mute the positive effects that this history left (Abašin, 2012) in the form of heritage, especially since today there is a “trend of fashioning the Soviet brand as a cultural inversion of time”, including the social remembrance of Soviet tourism and heritage that can be found in archives, photographs and posters (Lysikova, 2011). It remains to be seen how these discourses will evolve in the wake of the global COVID-19 health crisis.

42The Georgian tourism strategy based on the principle that “many things in tourism are invented” (Saakashvili, 2016) is currently witnessing the re-emergence of the Soviet tourism tradition. The latter stems from the national tourism product “founded on its natural beauty and wide-ranging ecological zones” (Metreveli and Timothy, 2010) as, despite political efforts, “the frequent reference to a mythologised kingdom poorly hides the identity deficit rooted in the modern era and, in particular, the absence of a unified State prior to the arrival of the Russians” (Radvanyi, 2011, p. 168).

  • 30 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “Региональные варианты исторической памяти постсоветско (...)

43Ukraine, in turn, will have to take into account the “regional specificities of the historical remembrance30 of its post-Soviet state (Kozlov, 2014). As its “long history has left multiple fissures” (Radvanyi, 2011, p. 76) and territorial markers, it would probably make more sense to develop concepts of tourism attractiveness around this historical heritage, especially the Soviet heritage.

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Annexe

APPENDIX

Speech by Mikheil Saakashvili (former President of Georgia and former Governor of the Odessa Oblast) before the Ukrainian government in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) in 2016 on the subject of the development of tourism

Text of the speech translated from the author’s French translation.

Ukraine has an absolutely exceptional potential for tourism.

Georgia has always been a country at war; there have been provocations, there have been conflicts. In reality, our tourism boom started after the Russian invasion in 2008. We made a philosophical decision: either we complained to the whole world that they were occupying us and oppressing us, or we generally hid all these facts and talked only about the positive aspects of Georgia; either we focused on the future, or we considered how we could appear as very unhappy victims of aggression.

And there are so many of these victims throughout the world – everyone is tired of them: tiny Georgia, even huge Ukraine – everyone gets tired of them if nothing positive is offered.

Consequently, when we have Lviv, Chernivtsi and Odessa, when there is Kiev, Chernihiv, Poltava... You can make a day trip from Kiev to Chernihiv or Poltava. But for that, it is necessary to redesign the centre of Poltava – it is well preserved, but it could always be improved.

Let me tell you something: in Georgia, we invented all the old town centres, simply because they did not exist before.

We took the small mountain village of Sighnaghi and I said: ‘Let’s build a new town on these hills’. Now the town looks like a 16th-century town. Everybody has forgotten that, in reality, the town is very new. We called it the ‘City of Love’, where you can get married 24 hours a day. And so we succeeded in generating crowds of visitors. People didn’t care. They wanted to believe that the town had existed since the 16th century and that it was possible to organise and celebrate weddings there 24 hours a day (MS shows photographs of the city on the slides). The red rooftops – none of that existed. There was nothing more than a dreadful Soviet sovkhoz, and the local population was leaving. Now the cost of apartments and houses has increased a hundredfold thanks to the development – this is what tourism brings. This is Sighnaghi.

Batumi (shows photographs of Batumi). In fact, Batumi was practically a small town, a small, shabby town from the Soviet era, that nobody had developed. How did we proceed? It was very simple: we believed that the town had prospects, we organised a public-private partnership. We announced to businesses: ‘We’re building roads, we’re going to change all the sewers and drains, we’re going to do everything. And we’re going to give you the land for free. If you want to build a 5-star hotel, we’ll even pay for the construction work. If you want to build a small hotel, we’ll give you the land for free. Is it a specific plot of land that you’re after? Just pay the resident, build a restaurant there, and organise accommodation on the second or third floor for that resident so that they live in better conditions and not like before, in a barracks in the middle of a swamp.’ There is a need for public policy.

And what is public policy? It’s when you yourselves believe in your country, when you love it. We ourselves transmit this love.

Where does the Ukrainian political elite go on holiday? Do they go to Zatoka, which is in a dreadful state? No, they DO NOT! Those who are well off don’t go there. Let’s be honest here! They invent pretexts not to go and prefer to holiday in Monaco, that boring and awful city. Indeed, what else is there to do in Monaco other than see all the same faces? It’s true!

I remember very well when I brought Prince Albert to Batumi – indeed, I travelled with him to many Georgian sites. At 9pm, he was sitting in Piazza Square (the square I had just invented three years previously, building it from scratch as if it had existed from the 15th century), and he stayed there all night until 6am, drinking wine, and not wanting to go anywhere else. And I get that completely: Batumi is much more interesting than Monaco.

We built everything so that we wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. And that was the moment when we believed that our country had prospects. So you must do the same!

What would I have done? First of all, I would have defined the tourist areas. Let’s take the centre of Odessa as an example. It’s world heritage! But it has fallen into the hands of thugs who are methodically destroying it. The Russov revenue house, for example (MS shows the photograph on the slide), is practically destroyed. It is a world treasure, and it should not be in the hands and under the management of rogue decision-makers! Tourist areas must therefore be expressly declared as such and taken out of the hands of the thugs!

(…)

Expropriate the fortress of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi which had been left to the local authorities with their Mafia-like practices. And what exactly can they do there?

Show them the Rabati Castle in Georgia (MS shows the photographs on the slides). None of this existed. We invented it and had it built. And now it is a major tourist centre. When we were building this castle, I took photographs of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi and copied many elements of it. The stones of the walls you have are real!

Many things in tourism are invented. Take Dubrovnik, for example. It looks like it has always been as it is today. But it was Tito who invented it.

And so you have to do the same! You therefore need to take over all this heritage property, create a central authority, and start development. For example, you need to create good roads lined by vineyards leading to the beaches of Odessa. 50 km of beaches! You can no longer find such lengths of beaches in Europe, beaches with a sufficiently dry maritime climate for four or five months a year! Investors must be brought in. A gaming industry needs to be developed there. Take Snake Island, for example. We constantly fear that it will be taken away from us. Just turn it into a huge gambling centre: build a 600-room hotel there and make it a world-famous brand – then everyone will know that there is an absolute miracle in the Black Sea. It’s easy! But for that, you need political will HERE (talking about the government, the parliament).

I have been to Transcarpathia. Not a single Ukrainian minister has set foot there in recent years. It has, for example, a bigger complex than in Bordjomi. Except that Bordjomi is known the world over. And you have withdrawn the licence of Uzhhorod Airport and nobody is taking care of this problem. The Ukrainian parliament is like the Bermuda Triangle: whoever comes here disappears from Ukraine, and Ukraine no longer exists for him. To develop the country, all you need is a strong will and vision. We have to believe that it is possible, and in Ukraine, let me tell you, it is 100% possible. You just have to love the country, because nothing can be done without love. Ukraine has everything except a brain within its government. I hope that a new government will come to Ukraine, one that will believe in its country, one that will love it and develop it.

My sincere thanks to you all.

Original text of the speech in Russian, transcribed from the video on Mikheil Saakashvili’s official YouTube channel

« В Украине сногсшибательнейший потенциал туризма.

Грузия была все время воюющей страной, были провокации, были конфликты. Реально, у нас бум туризма начался после российского вторжения в 2008 году. Мы приняли философское решение: или мы жалуемся всему миру, что нас оккупируют, нас угнетают, в нас стреляют, или мы вообще замалчиваем все эти факты и говорим только о позитивной стороне Грузии; или мы ориентируемся на будущее, или мы думаем, как выглядеть очень жалкими жертвами агрессии.

А этих жертв столько в мире – они всем надоели; маленькая Грузия, даже большая Украина – от нее все устают, если ничего позитивного не предложить. Поэтому, когда у нас есть Львов, Черновцы, Одесса, есть Киев, есть Чернигов, есть Полтава, можно сделать дневной тур из Киева в Чернигов или Полтаву. Но для этого надо сделать центр Полтавы - он неплохо сохранился, но можно сделать лучше.

Я вам так скажу, в Грузии мы все выдумывали центра старых городов, их не было. Мы взяли маленькое горное селение Сигнахи и я сказал : «Давай вообще построим новый город на этих холмах». Сейчас он выглядит как город 16 века. Все забыли, что он там не стоит с 16 века. Назвали его городом любви, что там можно жениться круглые сутки. И повалили люди. Им было пофиг. Им хотелось верить, что он с 16 века там стоит и всегда там женились 24 часа в сутки. (показывает картинки города) Красные крыши – ничего этого не было вообще. Там был ужасный захудалый советский совхоз, люди оттуда сбегали. Сейчас стоимость квартир и домов возросла ровно в 100 раз в результате развития – это, к слову, что приносит туризм. Это Сигнахи.

Батум (показывает картинки Батуми). На самом деле Батум был практически пгт, захудалый меленький городишко советского времени, никто его не развивал. И как мы сделали? Мы сделали все очень просто : мы поверили, что там есть перспектива. и мы сделали паблик прайвет партнершип. Мы говорили бизнесу : «Вот мы проводим дороги, мы меняем полностью канализацию, мы все делаем, мы даем вам бесплатно землю. Хотите строить 5 звездочную гостиницу, мы еще вам за это доплатим деньги… Хотите строить маленькую – просто бесплатно. Хотите забрать эту землю, просто заплатите этому жителю, постройте там ресторан, на втором – третьем этаже постройте ему дом, пусть он там живет, потому что он жил там в бараках на болоте». Надо иметь государственную политику.

Что такое государственная политика? Это когда ты сам веришь в свою страну, сам любишь ее. Мы сами излучали, что мы страну любим.

Где украинская элита отдыхает? Она отдыхает в Затоке, которая в ужасном состоянии? Конечно, практически нет! Те, которые серьезные, они там не отдыхают, давайте скажем честно, они выдумывают способы, чтобы отдохнуть в ужасном, скучном, мерзком Монако, правда. Это так, потому что, что там в Монако делать, кроме как смотреть на одни приевшиеся рожи? Правда!

Я хорошо помню, когда я привез принца Альберта в Батум, ну я с ним проехал по многим местам Грузии, он просто сел в 9 вечера на главную прощадь Пьяццу, которую я просто придумал за 3 года до этого, с нуля построил так, как будто она тоже стояла там с 15 века, и он там сидел до 6 утра, пил вино и никуда не хотел уходить. Батум намного интереснее чем Монако, я его понимаю. Мы построили все такое, что нам не было интересно никуда ездить. И это, когда мы сами поверили, что в стране есть перспектива. Так надо это делать!

Что бы я сейчас сделал? Во-первых, я бы обьявил туристические зоны. Например, центр Одессы. Центр Одессы – это мировое наследие. Он попал в руки абсолютных бандерлогов. Они методично разрушают центр Одессы. Например, дом Руссова (показывает картинку) – разрушено. Это мировое сокровище, это не может быть просто в руках какого-нибудь жулика девелопера. Надо объявить туристические зоны, изъять из их рук все это однозначно.

Или например Каменец Подольский . 80 км от Черновцов. Это один комплекс.

Изъять Белгород – Днестровскую крепость, которую передали местным бандитским властям. Ну что они могут там сделать?

Покажите крепость Рабат ( Грузия ) ( показывает слайд), Вот этого всего на месте не было, мы все это выдумали и построили. И это сейчас большой туристический центр. Когда я строил эту крепость, я взял фотографии Белгород - Днестровского и копировал многие вещи. У вас эти камни настоящие.

Многие вещи в туризме выдуманы. Дубровник, например. Вроде он есть и всегда был. На самом деле его Тито придумал. И так надо делать. Поэтому надо это имущество забрать, создать центральный орган, и надо развивать. Надо вывести, например, на одесские пляжи дороги. 50 км пляжей… нет больше в Европе оставшихся пляжей с таким сухим морским климатом в течении 4 – 5 месяцев в году. Привести туда дороги, окруженные виноградниками, привезти туда инвесторов и развить. Игорный бизнес развить. Например, есть остров Змеиный. Все время боимся: отнимут или не отнимут, высадятся или не высадятся… . Остров Змеиный надо просто сделать большим игорным центром. Построить гостиницу на 600 номеров и сделать мировой бренд: все будут знать, что в Черном море есть абсолютное чудо. Запросто. Но для этого надо иметь политическую волю здесь (в парламенте, в правительстве).

Я был в Закарпатье. Там не было ни одного украинского министра за последние несколько лет. Там есть, например, комплекс, который лучше, чем Боржоми. Только Боржоми все знают, его никто не знает. У Ужгородского аэропорта отобрали лицензию, и никто этим вопросом не занимается.

Украинский парламент как Бермудский треугольник, то кто сюда попадает, пропадает для Украины, а Украина исчезает для них. И чтоб развиваться, надо просто иметь сильную волю и виденье. Надо верить, что это возможно, а в Украине это 100 % возможно, надо любить свою страну, потому что без любви такие вещи не делаются. Надо ощущать свою землю, и тогда никто ее у нас не заберет. В Украине есть все, кроме мозгов у правительства. Надеюсь, на новое правительство Украины, которое поверит в свою страну, которое будет ее любить и развивать.

Щиро дякую! »

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Notes

1 Discourse conveyed by the media and governments of the two countries in question (Ukraine and Georgia). It refers to the common Soviet history interpreted today as the occupation of the countries by the Soviet Union and the mutual support during (geo)political events in the independent states. These include the colour revolutions (the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004), internal regional conflicts (Abkhazia (1993, 2008) and South Ossetia (2008) in Georgia, and Crimea and the Donbas (2014) in Ukraine) and lost territories (Crimea for Ukraine and Ossetia and Abkhazia for Georgia), and encompass such geopolitical aspirations and fears as the desire to be a part of Europe and away from Russia, etc.

2 Created in 1929, the All-Russian Joint-Stock Company for the Acceptance of Foreign Tourists, in other words the only Soviet tour operator, “had two main areas of operation: the creation and promotion of sightseeing tours for foreign tourists, and the organisation of their stay in the territory of the USSR” (N. Moroz, 2020, p. 134).

3 The final constitution of the Union of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics became effective in 1940 with the accession of the Baltic States and Moldova. Moreover, the constitution of the USSR and its borders took place gradually between 1919 and 1945. For example, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic joined the USSR in 1922, while its western territories (Galicia, Transcarpathia and Bukovina) were definitively integrated between 1939 and 1945. Georgia became a Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936.

4 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “показательно, что за весь период существования в СССР международного туризма не было проведено ни одной конференции, посвященной его теории и истории.”

5 “The Friendship of Peoples was a phrase coined by the Communist Party leadership to illustrate the transformation of the politics of nationalities in the USSR in the mid-1930s. This Friendship of Peoples advocated by Stalin on the eve of the adoption of the new Soviet Constitution of 1936 would, in his view, put an end to inter-ethnic strife through the construction of socialism. From a political perspective, this expression was perceived by the Bolshevik leaders as a metaphor for the unity of the national republics and regions within a single political community” (Chometowski, 2009).

6 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “молода радянська держава визначила завдання – поставити на службу новому суспільству культурні цінності, що були успадковані народом від попередніх епох, створивши при цьому свою пролетарську культуру.”

7 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “Про зняття пам’ятників, що були споруджені на честь царів і їхніх слуг, і виготовлення проектів пам’ятників Російської Соціалістичної революції.”

8 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “спорудження барел’єфів, стел, пам’ятників, які стали першими об’єктами нових революційних виставкових екскурсій і туристських заходів.”

9 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “стахановца характеризовала "строгая дисциплинированность, устранение распущенности", "подлинный стахановец должен быть образцом чистоты, опрятности, культурности и на работе и в своем личном быту.”

10 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “После революции 1917 г. и последовавшей за ней Гражданской войной, ни о каком туризме не могло быть и речи. Но в 1920-е гг. отношения с Западом начинают меняться. Внешнеполитический курс Советского правительства был направлен на укрепление международного престижа.”

11 All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (1925-1958).

12 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “корректировать их дорожные впечатления приводило к тому, что сопровождение советским гидом-переводчиком было обязательным условием для всех иностранных туристских групп и индивидуальных туристов, даже если они прекрасно владели русским языком.”

13 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “место, благоприятное для оздоровления, занятий лечебными процедурами на фоне субтропического климата, экзотической природы, горных ландшафтов. Для этого в регионе создавалась сеть курортных лечебных учреждений, санаториев, курортных гостиниц, домов отдыха.”

14 The dam was built between 1923 and 1927, and inaugurated and put into operation in 1927. The Lenin statue, one of the largest (standing some 17 metres high), was erected in 1927 and taken down in 1991.

15 The hydroelectric dam on the Dnipro River, built between 1927 and 1932 and put into operation in 1932.

16 Government administrative building, built in the constructivist style in 1928.

17 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “Десоветизация означает замену советских политических интересов и символов новыми национальными.”

18 The great famine in Ukraine and Kuban, 1932-1933.

19 The museum in Tbilisi is located on the main thoroughfare of the city, between the Philharmonic and the central square, on one of the primary tourist itineraries. The Ukrainian museum, however, is difficult to identify on tourist maps of Kiev.

20 In Georgia: the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict in 1992-1993 and in 2008, the war for South Ossetia in 2008 resulting in the proclamation of the autonomous republic of Ossetia and the establishment of the border between Abkhazia and Georgia (Bachelet, A. and Richard, Y. , 2019). In Ukraine: the Euromaidan protests in 2013 resulting in the civil war in the Donbas with the region’s desire to proclaim its autonomy and the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation in 2014.

21 Translated from the Ukrainian. Original text: “Слід нагадати, що явище ‘декомунізації’ не є прямим наслідком ухвалення низки відповідних законів у травні 2015 року. Покволом воно відбувалося впродовж усього періоду незалежності, являючи собою щось середнє між ‘ресовєтизацією’ за білорусько-придністровськими зразками і радикальною ‘десовєтизацією’ за литовсько-польськими моделями. ”

22 Translated from the Russian: Вождь пролетариата.

23 Joseph Stalin’s Soviet nickname.

24 Stalin’s real surname.

25 Former President of Georgia (2004-2013) and former Governor of the Odessa Oblast in Ukraine (2015-2016).

26 Reference made by M. Saakashvili concerning the visit by Prince Albert II of Monaco to Batumi (see Appendix).

27 M. Saakashvili.

28 Reference to the development project for the town of Anaklia “presented during a forum on China’s ‘New Silk Road’. (...) It was to have a cargo port, a marina, skyscrapers, a railway station, an airport, a residential area, a business district and a beach with seaside facilities and luxury hotels. In 2011, Mikheil Saakashvili opened the first hotel on the main square in Anaklia. The waterfront was developed and a water recreation centre was built on the Georgian side of the de facto border. But the project was eventually abandoned” (Bachelet, A. and Richard, Y., 2019).

29 Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

30 Translated from the Russian. Original text: “Региональные варианты исторической памяти постсоветской Украины.”

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Table des illustrations

Titre Document 1: Soviet tourism posters aimed at domestic tourists
Légende From left to right: “Be a tourist, travel through the homeland”; “Tourism is the way to health”; “Healthy rest for workers!”; “Go on a family holiday”.
Crédits Travellers’ Club, 2014.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,7M
Titre Document 2: Intourist posters – “Invitation to the USSR”
Légende From left to right: “100 peoples invite you to visit the Soviet Union”,
Crédits https://medium.com/​@propagandopolis/​trips-to-the-ussr-1005937bf8a7, accessed 22 January 2020; “Visit the USSR, the country of the world’s first cosmonaut”https://www.alamyimages.fr/​photos-images/​vintage-soviet-intourist-travel-poster-ussr.html, accessed 22 January 2020.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 916k
Titre Document 3: Tourist map of the European part of the USSR. Intourist, 1930s
Crédits Bibliothèque nationale de France (gallica.bnf.fr; accessed 22 January 2020)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Titre Document 4: Intourist posters – Ukraine and its cities
Crédits Intourist, 1930-1960
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Titre Document 5: Intourist posters – Georgia and its regions
Crédits Intourist, 1930-1960
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Titre Document 6: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance in Kharkiv
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M
Titre Document 7: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance in Kiev
Crédits From left to right: Kiev, hero city, Stele to Victory in the Great Patriotic War in Victory Square; Exhibition dedicated to the events of Euromaidan 2013-2014 in Independence Square.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 721k
Titre Document 8: Soviet vs. anti-Soviet remembrance at the Vysota Konyeva Memorial Museum in Solonitsevka, Kharkiv region
Légende From top to bottom: Museum space dedicated to the fascist occupation and the liberation of Kharkiv during the Great Patriotic War; Museum space dedicated to the war in the Donbas.
Crédits © Nataliia Moroz, July 2019.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6738/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
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Référence électronique

Nataliia Moroz, « During the Soviet era and following the collapse of the USSR. How post-Soviet states are (re)building their tourism sector. The examples of Ukraine and Georgia », Via [En ligne], 19 | 2021, mis en ligne le 26 juillet 2021, consulté le 06 décembre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/6738 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/viatourism.6738

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Auteur

Nataliia Moroz

Temporary Teaching and Research Associate (ATER) in the Tourism Department, Faculty of Geography, History, Art History and Tourism, Université Lumière Lyon 2, PhD in Geography, UMR 5600 - Environment, City, Society

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Via Tourism Review est mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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