RUSSIAN DIARY by Charlotte Y. Salisbury


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Salisbury, who accompanied her journalist husband Harrison on several trips through the Soviet Union, writes -- as in her China Diary, 1973 -- about the commonplace, the attractions Intourist allows -- the Kremlin, the Hermitage, Peterhof, the ballet, circus -- and others that only the most resourceful will manage to sneak off to -- Pasternak's grave, for example. Few visitors, it seems, successfully avoid the exasperating bureaucratic red tape, and even fewer enjoy VIP status (Sol Hurok, the primary exporter of Russian culture, was bumped from his favorite Lenin suite at Moscow's National Hotel to make way for the Salisburys; they, in turn, were just as arbitrarily removed -- to typically tacky rooms but charged the same exorbitant rate). And it's all slightly bewildering to Salisbury as she wonders with virtuous good nature why it is that people aren't nicer to one another. Still, strictly as a guidebook, Salisbury's is superior to anything else available -- although we don't suggest taking it along on a visit. There's just enough candor here to land Salisbury on the nyet list.

Pub Date: June 7th, 1974
Publisher: Walker