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Freedom Of Movement

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Post 08 Jul 2012, 00:09
In the Soviet Union was there freedom of movement? Could someone in Moscow move to Krasnoyarsk or Kazakhstan freely? I have heard of internal passports. Also could people go abroad for holiday or to visit relatives?

Of course it needs to be asked, how did policy change from Stalin to later leaders?
Post 08 Jul 2012, 00:15
No, from what i know you couldn't move (as in change residence) freely from place to place. There was the propiska regime.
Internal passports were introduced in the 30s to try to stop the mass exodus from the countryside.

Also could people go abroad for holiday or to visit relatives?

Yes but Soviet78 wrote somewhere that it wasn't always easy to get a permit.
Post 09 Jul 2012, 10:13
True but many Westerners think propiskas applied to any movement, which was not true. You could move around freely but not change residence freely, not for any sinister reason, but because there was a housing shortage. And in Eastern Bloc countries outside USSR, there was no propiska system as far as I know.
Post 14 Jul 2012, 15:08
As Ive understood and had it explained, you were required to have a residence, so to move cities, you'd need to arrange that, either through application, work, school or trading.

It helped avoid overpopulation in the cities, amongst other things
Post 16 Jul 2012, 19:55
The Socialist world had a low birth rate typical for any industrialized country and so overpopulation was not a concern. The primary reason was that housing was free but also in somewhat short supply, and if people started to change living places housing would no longer be free.
Post 13 Aug 2012, 18:05
I have read that some parts of Russia are restricted to foreign visitors, such as the Siberian city of Norilst. Probably, because it is a strategic place of mineral production, also because Norilst is one of the most polluted cities in the world.
Post 27 Aug 2012, 14:14
Just like your ordinary domestic or foreign intelligence agency, nobody can travel outside the perimeters of your agency no matter how urgent the cause is. Why? Because there will be an intelligence hemmohrage where classified information on matters of security would pass onto the enemy state or country. With regards the excuse that you want to see the wonders of the world, I have this to say. Russia today has the most number of tourists according to travel history in Eastern Europe, where they either go to St. Petersburg or the Black Sea.
Post 24 Sep 2012, 04:32
I know a fair bit about this topic from studying it at school and talking to people from the Eastern Bloc. I will give a brief rundown of what I know and what I have heard from various people.

In the USSR, one was required to have a residence stamp in their internal passport, which was given based on the city where they had been assigned a job. University students in Moscow always feared that they would be sent away from the city to somewhere in the Eastern part of the country once job assignment time came around. It was very rare that strings could be pulled for most students and many ended up in Siberia or Central Asia.

From what I understand vacation was possible to other cities, but finding work in them was difficult due to the residency stamp issue and the fact that job assignment was centrally controlled. Although odd jobs and "low level" work, such as sanitation work, could be found for those not wanting to participate in the standard system.

With that said, a similar situation existed throughout most of Eastern Europe, but there were movements of people who just roamed their respective countries. In the CSR for example, there was something called the Tramp Movement, which was comprised of those who did not want to participate with the state. They roamed through the forests of Czechoslovakia and worked odd jobs on the side. Out in Moravia, I know that there were many houses that would feed and house tramps when they came into town. Otherwise they remained in the forest, with little to no challenge from the authorities. The Tramp movement still exists in the Czech Republic to this day and is comprised of primarily the same people looking for their nostalgic past. I have stayed at tramp hostels, but never talked to them.

Movement was also possible depending on what you did for work. I one time spent 3 days on a train with a former engineer, who turned test driver for Moskvitch. Since he was a test driver, he drove in rally races all over the USSR and rarely went back to his home base in Moscow.

However, people normally stayed in their city of work, and left only for holidays and time off work.

Hope that this helps to give you a clearer picture of the travel situation.
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