Joining the communist party to follow Rangers?

Fingers1872

Well-Known Member
Following on from Sam's on this day thread re Dynamo Kiev in 1987.

This brings back a recent discussion I had with a friend, I'm sure any bears who wanted to travel to Kiev, which was still part of the Soviet Union at that time, had to join the British Communist Party to obtain a visa. My mate disagreed but I'm sure I remember something from back then regarding this. Any bears on here at that game confirm if true or not?
 

Rangerista

Well-Known Member
It was reported at the time that a couple of Bears did just that and a photo of them in the Dynamo stadium was on the front of the Evening Times.
 

Blaew

Well-Known Member
I’ve definitely read that before, I think either in the Rangers news or the old Rangers
Monthly.
 

Kathmandu

Well-Known Member
I’m calling shite in this one as I was in the USSR in the late 80’s and have never been a member of the communist party or any other political party for that matter. The visas however were a bit of a pain to get as you had to wait a few weeks.
 

Alan_Morton

Active Member
I’m calling shite in this one as I was in the USSR in the late 80’s and have never been a member of the communist party or any other political party for that matter. The visas however were a bit of a pain to get as you had to wait a few weeks.
Just out of curiosity and if you don't mind revealing, but what were you there for? Life under communism in USSR has always fascinated me, was it not a bit of a daunting thought heading there you might be arrested for trumped up espionage charges?

And to drag it back to the original point don't you think joining the communist party is plausible as it could well have helped speed up the visa process?
 

BroomloanWATP

Well-Known Member
I’m calling shite in this one as I was in the USSR in the late 80’s and have never been a member of the communist party or any other political party for that matter. The visas however were a bit of a pain to get as you had to wait a few weeks.
Aye nae bother Comrade. The FF McCarthys will see you in the Lounge shortly.
 

DonDraper

Active Member
I was in Moscow in 1986 and all you needed was a visa. However I think there were different rules for visiting other areas of the Soviet Union. I was involved with arranging a charter aircraft for a British football team in the mid 80s to East Germany. we were only allowed to charter a plane from the East German airline Interflug at the time. We had to fly into Leipzig which was about a hundred miles away from the actual airport we wanted to fly to, when we arrived I had to fill out a form as a leader which said that 20 of the players could only arrive and depart in conjunction with me. If I done a runner the 20 players couldnt leave East Germany without me. The logistics off arranging a trip behind the curtain back then were very challenging, especially away from the capitals. Once you got there the unofficial exchange rate it was about 6p a pint, it was roughly a pound back home at this stage
 

Johansen

Well-Known Member
I’m calling shite in this one as I was in the USSR in the late 80’s and have never been a member of the communist party or any other political party for that matter. The visas however were a bit of a pain to get as you had to wait a few weeks.
I remember this very well, some fans did indeed join the British Communist Party as it was the easiest way to get a Visa. It certainly did happen
 

Kathmandu

Well-Known Member
Just out of curiosity and if you don't mind revealing, but what were you there for? Life under communism in USSR has always fascinated me, was it not a bit of a daunting thought heading there you might be arrested for trumped up espionage charges?

And to drag it back to the original point don't you think joining the communist party is plausible as it could well have helped speed up the visa process?
Just tourism tbh, somewhere I’d always fancied going just to see it. I never even thought about the possibility of spying charges.
 

Slim Jim

Well-Known Member
Lots went on holiday to the USSR during the 70’s & 80’s. Cannot mind the name of the company but they did tours including the main cities plus the Black Sea area.
 

The Blue Iceberg

Well-Known Member
I was in Moscow in 1986 and all you needed was a visa. However I think there were different rules for visiting other areas of the Soviet Union. I was involved with arranging a charter aircraft for a British football team in the mid 80s to East Germany. we were only allowed to charter a plane from the East German airline Interflug at the time. We had to fly into Leipzig which was about a hundred miles away from the actual airport we wanted to fly to, when we arrived I had to fill out a form as a leader which said that 20 of the players could only arrive and depart in conjunction with me. If I done a runner the 20 players couldnt leave East Germany without me. The logistics off arranging a trip behind the curtain back then were very challenging, especially away from the capitals. Once you got there the unofficial exchange rate it was about 6p a pint, it was roughly a pound back home at this stage
Thanks for posting this Don, you need to laugh at the commies thinking that anyone from the West would want to defect over to their side.

Having said that though, when I was in Berlin a couple of years ago, I was flabbergasted when a local guy who'd been brought up in East Berlin told me he actually preferred it when it was Communist!

According to him life was much simpler and stress free, everyone had a job and you could still travel to other countries within the bloc etc.
 

mdingwall

Administrator
I think the myth arose because in those days it was almost impossible for members of the public to visit Russia unless they booked flights and hotels through the Progressive Tours travel agency which was owned by the CPGB (Communist Party of Great Britain).
 
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Chris the Bandito

Well-Known Member
I know a couple of folk who went for the Bheggars game the year before.

Whilst you could travel to the USSR without being a communist party member it did make it easier to get a visa at short notice and more importantly opened up the availability of tickets.

Also, remember Kiev was a more "sensitive" place to visit than most at the time because of its proximity to Chernobyl. Again, CP membership probably made it more likely to get access.
 

gersandproud

Well-Known Member
I worked with a guy who was married to a Russian lady & they spent every summer in Soviet territory from the early 70's till fairly recently

They'd even drive from London to Moscow when there were no direct flights
He certainly never mentioned communist party membership- but then again why would he ?

I'm sure clearing immigration was easier because of his spouse though
 

GovanFront4

Well-Known Member
Thanks for posting this Don, you need to laugh at the commies thinking that anyone from the West would want to defect over to their side.

Having said that though, when I was in Berlin a couple of years ago, I was flabbergasted when a local guy who'd been brought up in East Berlin told me he actually preferred it when it was Communist!

According to him life was much simpler and stress free, everyone had a job and you could still travel to other countries within the bloc etc.
There is lots of nostalgia around Communism. There are many in Germany that say they preferred their life in the DDR.
 

immortal7

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
There is lots of nostalgia around Communism. There are many in Germany that say they preferred their life in the DDR.


Ostalgia does exist, like most cultures that have had 'glory' days. many people in my wife's country, Kyrgyzstan, remember the old USSR with great fondness, as did some of my students in Slovakia. You only remember the good times, after all. The queues for meat, the crap clothes and absolute corruption get lost in misty eyed comfort of jobs for life, a house and a wife with childcare and a more simple life with no advertising, no decent consumer goods and a bit of blissful ignorance about the world.
 

GovanFront4

Well-Known Member


Ostalgia does exist, like most cultures that have had 'glory' days. many people in my wife's country, Kyrgyzstan, remember the old USSR with great fondness, as did some of my students in Slovakia. You only remember the good times, after all. The queues for meat, the crap clothes and absolute corruption get lost in misty eyed comfort of jobs for life, a house and a wife with childcare and a more simple life with no advertising, no decent consumer goods and a bit of blissful ignorance about the world.
I spent a good whack of my early life in and out of hospital and still do ocassionaly. There were times where I would get nostalgic about it, which I found very strange because deep down I knew I had a terrible time of it but I could remember the 'better times' more than the bad.

Everyone gets nostalgic and it's natural to look back at a pretty depressing situation with misty eyes. I'm sure the people of the DDR and USSR would quickly change their minds when they ended up disappeared to Siberia.
 

scottwoodburn

Active Member
I met an Orangeman in the late 90s who was trying to recruit me and a bunch of mates into a local lodge which was on the verge of closing. He would later get his wrists slapped for his recruitment drive. Anyway, when he wasn’t extolling the virtues of Orangeism he was an unashamed Communist and shared stories of his multiple trips to the USSR in the 80s. He went as both a tourist and a trade unionist so it was obviously possible. Last I heard of him was at a mates party in the mid 2000s. By that stage he had left the Orange and denounced Communism. How the world turns!
 
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