Deputy P.M. de Veulle gave a most interesting talk in French on his recent visit to the Soviet Union in company with Mr. Frank Le Maistre and Mr. George ("d'la Forge") Le Feuvre.
Deputy de Veulle and his companions visited four cities, Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev and Odessa, and he spoke, in particular, of the beauty of the first city, with its splendid classical and baroque churches, palaces, and public buildings, all carefully restored after the appalling damage of the last war. The Summer Palace, Tsarskoe Selo, 25 kms. outside Leningrad, built to emulate Versailles and completely gutted during the war, has been rebuilt in every detail, including every fountain and gilded statue in the grounds.
The speaker had been startled by the evident respect that the Russians must have for their cultural heritage in that so much attention and priority had been given to this restoration work when there must have been so many calls for work of more apparent economic and social urgency.
Deputy de Veulle mentioned the 17-year sojourn in Petersburg of the eminent 18th-century Jersey scholar and divine Daniel Dumaresq, benefactor of our Public Library, who devised, at the request of the Empress Catherine, a complete system for the establishment of primary and secondary schools throughout her dominions.
The audience was then taken on a visual tour of Moscow, where, as in Leningrad, all the old churches and monasteries and palaces have been superbly restored and maintained. Seen were many buildings in the vast complex of the Kremlin, where any eavesdropping secret policemen might well have been confused by the three tourists conversing in voluble Jersey Norman-French!
Kiev, in some ways, had seemed individually more prosperous than the other two cities, with much more motor traffic, for example, and completely rebuilt after its double destruction in the last war, once in 1941 as the Germans advanced, and again in 1943-4 as they retreated.
Odessa, similarly, with its famous steps leading to the waterfront, had greatly impressed the tourists.
Deputy de Veulle stressed the language difficulties for anyone not speaking Russian and urged those contemplating a visit to the Soviet Union to do so through a reputable travel organization. Apart from the trouble the individual tourist might have in making his needs understood, organized groups of foreign tourists generally have queueing priority as well as access to places which might otherwise be difficult to visit, such as the very large collective farm which they had seen in the Ukraine.
Jersey Evening Post 18/11/1971