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Humanity Made To Order
by Harry Stekoll
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HUMANITY MADE TO ORDER BY HARRY STEKOLL INTRODUCTION Life is better. Life is more cheerful. Every where I went in Russia during a visit I made in the summer of 1936, placards bearing this optim istic declaration of Stalins greeted me, along with the ever present poster, Workers of the World, Unite It was what I had hoped was true, what I had come to Russia to find. I had made a similar trip five years before, covering widely separated and representative points in both European and Asiatic Russia. At that time I had found appalling filth everywhere. Now, as I saw at once a general improvement in cleanliness, I hoped that Stalins statement was true for clean liness is a significant factor in a country as back ward as Russia and is, of itself, evidence of both economic and cultural progress. All arrangements for a trip through Russia are made through the Intourist, part of the Arntorg, or foreign trade corporation of Soviet Russia, which has elaborate offices in New York and other large cities throughout the world. From those points they advertise and propagandize extensively in order to get tourists from all over the world to visit the country of the great social experiment. This is one of their ways of obtaining valuta, or foreign money. The prospectus of the trip contains a set itinerary, which may he chosen from a number of similar tours. Arrangements include transportation, food, hotel accommodations, and trained guides. There are first, second, and third class tours, with scales of prices depending on the quality of accommodations, fifteen dollars a day for first class, ten dollars for second, and five dollars for third. The differences which exist between the classes of tours is primarily in travel accommoda tions. A firstclass tourist is supposed to travel in international pullman cars, and is theoretically given a single compartment alone. Second class is designated as soft, and four persons are accom modated in one compartment and third class is hard, the mode of travel which the Russian peo ple use. When you travel hard you do the best you can for yourself and are packed in with others as tightly as possible, with no reservations for anybody. It often happens that a firstclass tourist, in order to reach his destination as scheduled, has to be satisfied with soft, or second class, as the trains in Russia are seldom on time, and are sometimes as much as twentyfour hours late. In our own experience, during a months travel we were accom modated only twice in firstclass compartments. The same custom applies to hotel accommoda tions. A firstclass tourist is entitled to a room alone, but it quite frequently happens that there are not enough rooms to go around and so visitors must double up. American tourists are favored because the majority of the tourist trade comes from the United States, and as a rule Americans travel first class and are free spenders.
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