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Discussion in 'Exhibition Lounge' started by dream_police, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned in another thread, around 1980/1, my dad worked in Kazan Russia for around a year (may have been a bit longer) helping the design/build of a chemical plant. We were lucky enough to go and spend a couple of weeks with him. I didn't know anybody else that had been to Russia and TBH as it was such a closed society I reckon very few had been. It was an eye opener. The poverty and desperation of some of the people. Those that I do remember though were friendly. As I mentioned in the other thread, we made friends with a young couple and got invited back to their flat in a tower block outside of the city of Kazan. My dad was restricted to the areas he was allowed to go to. They were definitely being monitored. In fact they once had a visit from, what they believed was the KGB. My dad was concerned as we were travelling to this flat. We were unaccompanied by our translator/spy.
    We got away with it. Their flat and living conditions were far different to mine. They were obviously short of cash but still they entertained us and cooked a meal of pig fat.

    I have dug out a photo album of photos I took with my trusty Zenit and scanned a few. Quality is not best ever and there are a lot that are spoiled by light entering the camera, so I have saved you from those.

    We flew into Moscow on I believe a Swiss Air flight. As we were being transported away in a bus with just our family, I saw Concordski in the distance so I took a snap. I was shouted at by our translator/spy who met us. I assume he didn't think I took a photo. Ha.

    [​IMG]Russia001 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    We spent a few days in Moscow and stayed at a grand hotel called The Metropol. I recall asking one of the translators questions about Russia. He glanced around the dining room and said, he couldn't answer and would speak another time. He was OK. The other translator was not to be trusted we were told.

    St Basil's with the queue to visit Lenin.

    [​IMG]Russia017 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    A big building. I have no idea what it is.

    [​IMG]Russia011 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    This, I assume is a monument to the Russian Space programme.

    [​IMG]Russia002 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    And this, again assuming, was the stadium for the Olympics.

    [​IMG]Russia010 by Nigel G, on Flickr
    Brian, EightBitTony and Catriona like this.
  2. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Fabulous to look back on and remember how it was.
    It was my biggest regret that we were not allowed to visit Russia in the days of our travels. The closest we got was within 4km of the border when we were in Finland. Hubby's job conditions prevented his going there. I guess I could have gone alone, but it didn't cross my mind then. Does now!!
  3. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    From Moscow, we headed to Kazan on an Aeroflot flight. Never again did I want to fly Aeroflot. Unfortunately we had to on our return journey.

    So, this was our hotel, although it was more like one room apartment with a small kitchen area. My dad lived in one of the rooms. It didn't have a restaurant or anything hotel like.

    [​IMG]Russia014 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    And the busy road passing the hotel

    [​IMG]Russia004 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    IIRC, this was a department store. Not quite John Lewis! Not exactly well stocked and to buy anything, you had to get a ticked for what you wanted, pay for it, then return to the area where the goods were, hand over your receipt and get your item. An early Argos I guess.

    [​IMG]Russia015 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    Food was bought from the market. For a non travelled inexperienced teenage such as I, this was so far removed from life in Cheshire!

    [​IMG]Russia018 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    I can't remember what she was selling. I do recall root beer was very popular.

    [​IMG]Russia020 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    The streets weren't exactly teeming with people.

    [​IMG]Russia019 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Russia016 by Nigel G, on Flickr
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  4. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    I always assumed that Russia was freezing and snowy all year round. How wrong I was. We had great weather. Kazan was close to the River Volga, where people used to sunbathe on the beaches and swim in the water. We had a trip out on a boat and ate freshly caught fish cooked on the shore. They actually looked after us very well TBH.

    This was our cruise ship

    [​IMG]Russia003 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    And the fish cooking

    [​IMG]Russia006 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Russia007 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    Mum, dad, brother and sister with one of the translators in the foreground.

    [​IMG]Russia005 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    Playing with a Russian kid during the trip. The pile of hay was massive. Probably wouldn't let our kids do this nowadays!

    [​IMG]Russia008 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    My brother will probably kill me for this. I recall this very well, lol. He got a load of straw down his pants, in his bum and everywhere, lol. Mum had to help him out. I wouldn't have been a brother if I'd not photographed it!

    [​IMG]Russia009 by Nigel G, on Flickr
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  5. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    My mum and the translator doing stuff that normal people do on holiday. Funny how it was hard to imagine, owing to the portrayal of the Russians at the time, that they were just like the rest of us.

    [​IMG]Russia013 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    This is photo of the 2 people who invited us back to their flat, who we met a few times on the beach. Mum, sister and brother with them.

    [​IMG]Russia012 by Nigel G, on Flickr

    I am sure I had a lot more photos than those in the album. I found my dads in a box of slides. They were virtually all of the chemical plant he was working on.
    Catriona likes this.
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member


    This monument looks similar in design to the much smaller one in Palais des Nations, donated by Russia if I remember, and posted in the strong lines thread. I'll post it again below.

    [​IMG]IMG_0021.jpg by Pete, on Flickr
  7. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Great lot of photos Nige! I love the one where hay was being removed. Ha! My goodness, you all caught the sun didn't you?
    PS Your dad was a good looking fellow!
  8. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Lovely stuff. I very much regretted I couldn't go East until well after the fall of the wall. My old man had a high security clearance and couldn't go anywhere near and his family was affected too. Then I had to sign Official Secrets Act in 1976, so completely impossible. China and Vietnam are far more relaxed, although on several visits I have met people who prefer not to say anything on political or economic matters. It is clear that educated people have a very accurate view of the world, but the masses salute the flag and worship the Party.

    Was quite funny when I was in Moscow sorting out advertising for Akzo Nobel paint brands. After a long discourse on what DIYers felt about home improvement, a Russian turned to me and said "But anyone who can afford paint, can afford someone to do it for them".
    Catriona likes this.
  9. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    Thank you. We did get a good tan yes. He was a good looking bloke. I am happy I got his genes!

    And talking of which, he did sell a few pairs of jeans and trainers whilst there. Western brands were just not available to them.
    Catriona likes this.
  10. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Think the building will be a Palace of Culture. The Russians funded them in Berlin, Warsaw, Bucharest and anywhere that would put up with the hideous things.
  11. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    At some point, the Russians visited the UK and to the company my dad worked for. They were shown various different plants and areas. My dad had to let the UK security services know where they going, when and what route etc. They were monitored here, just as we were there.
    EightBitTony and Catriona like this.
  12. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    I just googled that and it came up. Moscow State University.
  13. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Think they have all been re-purposed since 1989.
  14. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    Yes, there is a similarity isn’t there.
  15. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Now come on! I know a dry ski slope when I see one.
  16. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    I have a QSL card from Radio Peking dated 1982, showing a Boulevard in Peking, which has a similar feel to the Moscow pictures:
    Though I don't know the date of the photograph - I suppose it could have been early '80s, though probably not as empty these days!
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
    dream_police likes this.
  17. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    My dad taught himself Russian when he was a young man. I still have his box set of Russian Linguaphone records. I can't play them as they are on 78 RPM and my deck doesn't go that fast!

    [​IMG]Linguaphone by Nigel G, on Flickr
    Catriona likes this.
  18. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Got any more pics of mum in her bikini? ;)
    AndyTake2, dream_police and Catriona like this.
  19. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    You bad man.
  20. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    If you convert them to MP3s, they'll sound a bit funny, but there is probably a utility somewhere that will convert them to the right speed.

    HTH, tovarisch.

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