Back in the U.S.S.R, as the Beatles sang, after Mike Love (Beach Boys band) said to Paul McCartney jokingly: “Don’t you think that it would rather be funny to make a Soviet version of Back in the U.S.A.?”.
Indeed, the Soviet fashion makes a strong comeback. Mugs, medals, pencil cups, underpants with the effigy of Lenin or Stalin… Kitsch Objects or real antiques, you will find what you are looking for at Ismaëlovo market(Partizanskaya subway).
There, once arrived, avoid tourists workshops, matriochka stands or babouchka scarves and climb directly the stairs located at the back, you will arrive in the antiques section. You will find in this shambles Vostok or Aviator watches, Zorki cameras, medals and worn vinyl or even propaganda objects. However be careful, a lot of forgeries are in circulation.
Near Ismaëlovo market, you will find a communism hotspot, Stalin’s bunker which will plunge you in the heart of the cold war. Built in the 1930s, it was connected with the Kremlin thanks to a more than fifteen kilometers long underground passage; but it was especially the emergency headquarter of the Red Army. Located at a depth of six meters, it includes a conference hall, an office, a bedroom and a dining room. If you are fascinated by this period, take advantage of your stay in Moscow to visit also Taganskaya bunker and its cold war museum.
If you have no time and if you want a souvenir, you can find easily miniature Lada or Moskvitch in the subway or cuddly toys representing the bear Micha, the famous mascot of the 1980 Olympic Games. Also think of the cigarette paper or the Belomorkanal cigarettes (беломорканал) with their typical communist design, the droujba melted cheese, – (Дружба means friendship) that many people consider bad, but which is authentic with its aluminium packaging, or the Aliona chocolate(алёна) – produced by Red October chocolate factory, still in activity.
Another place for those nostalgic of Soviet time, at the GUM last floor, the canteen n°57(Stolovaya in Russian) also surfs on this wave with its 1950s style, its typical tablecloths and its self-service. During Soviet time, it was part of the restaurants managed by the government where people came to eat after having endured of course a long queue. Don’t worry, times have changed; even if the welcoming reserved by the staff is a little bit surly, you will not be disappointed by the food. And if the GUM is the luxury temple in Moscow, the prices of this canteen remain affordable compare to the Moscow standards.
On a nostalgic note, VDNKh park is rather surrealist. Conceived in the 30s to show the Soviet successes, it is crossed by wide avenues flanked by a multitude of detached pavilions dedicated to health, agriculture, and economy or to the former socialist republics (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan). Today, the buildings are under renovation or occupied by sellers of pirated DVD, made in China clothes, medicinal plants… During summer, the park is a strolling area with its Ferris wheel, its markets and its popcorn sellers.
If you want to dive back into these years, do not hesitate to ask Russian Rent for advice. We will be pleased to propose you a taylor-made program, and to satisfy all your needs: French-speaking guide, transport, and many other services, not forgetting of course, a completely equipped high standards accommodation, in the district of your choice.