The paper provides a brief overview of current discussions on the problems of foreign representations of the USSR and their institutional and agent dimensions in the Cold War era. Since the beginning of the period of unprecedented openness of the USSR after the death of Stalin, outbound tourism became an important area of application of the efforts of the Soviet cultural diplomacy. Though it did not reach the scale of the project of the Soviet “cultural expression” for foreigners in the numerical dimension, nevertheless, the travels of the Soviet citizens were purposefully devoid of recreational component and were viewed as an instrument of political indoctrination of both foreign communities and tourists themselves. On the basis of reflections on the monograph written by Orlov and Popov about the phenomenon of the Soviet outbound tourism, including its ideological and institutional dimensions, the forms and practices of its actual implementation, and the model of the Soviet man's behavior abroad, the author reveals some gaps and prospects for the development of research discussions. The most difficult question is the evaluation of the effectiveness of the Soviet tourism. The answer requires to create and applicate a very clear toolkit that includes political, economic, and statistical indicators. The picture is quite contradictory: attempts at the commercialization of the tourist project were hampered by the priority of ideological attitudes; global and intra-block crises limited tourist flows and contacts with the local population. At the same time, the variety of forms of international contacts and gaps in the control system contributed to the development of intercultural communication and to the formation of informal networks. Jubilee events, trips to countries with a lower standard of living, positive emotions of youth tourism conditioned the political and even “patriotic” mobilization of the Soviet citizens.
Key words: the Soviet outbound tourism, the Cold war, cultural diplomacy, intercultural communication.