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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Longer Classified

For paranoid reasons of state security, the residents of one sixth of the earth's territory were unable to take advantage of the simple amenity of looking up an address in a city map, or finding a number in a telephone directory, during the 70 years of Soviet rule.


I well remember the difficulties I faced in the 1970's when, working as an interpreter for Intourist in Leningrad, it proved impossible to acquire a comprehensive map of the city. At Intourist briefings we were told to lie about the use of the Admiralty building in the very heart of the city center, pretending that it was an administrative center rather than a Naval Academy.


Which reminds me that at that time a new city guidebook was published called "Leningrad in Three Days," which described the bronze statue of an angel atop Alexander's Column in Dvortsovaya Ploshchad' (Palace Square) as being "life-sized."


No residential telephone directory has been published in Moscow, St. Petersburg or any other Russian city as far as I know, since the 1960s.


However, several competing business directories now exist. You can choose between the serviceable official "Telephonny Spravochnik," published every year by Moscow City Phone Network, and various alternatives issued by commercial publishers.


A new Moscow Directory has just been published in Russian by the New York based Infoservices International, who also produce the Traveller's Yellow Pages series, called The Best in Moscow ("Luchsheye v Moskve").


This 656-page pocket book lists numbers and addresses of more than 10,000 organizations and companies. It also contains detailed maps of the city center, along with maps of Moscow theaters, exhibition and trade centers, airports and railway stations.


Well-produced in Canada, it is edited by Andrei Sidorkin and Michael Dohan.