jueves, 31 de octubre de 2013

Soviet goods and luxury brands in Moscow shopping mall

Moscow's shopping mall GUM - or State Universal Store - has reflected many of the changes in Russia's politics and history.

Self-study activity:
Watch this short BBC video clip by clicking on the picture below or on this link and answer the questions about it.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 When did the mall open?
2 What happened in the 1930s?
3 And in 1953?
4 What do many Russians feel nostalgic about?
5 What is GUM celebrating this year?
6 How many visitors does the store receive each year?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below.

This luxury shopping mall in the heart of Moscow echoes with the sound of Russia’s history and political upheavals. The vast corridors of GUM or the State Universal Store were originally opened in 1893. The steel and glass building was the testament of Czarist Russia’s architectural prowess and it was one of the largest shopping centers in Europe.
But Stalin closed the store in the 30s and used the building as offices and accommodation for bureaucrats. It was not until after his death in 1953 that the Soviet government decided to revive the store. GUM regained its cache and some queues of Muscovites eager to buy high and important goods started to stretch on for hours at times.
Even though the store was privatized in the early 90’s after the fall of Communism, many people in Russia still felt nostalgic about old Soviet products with their simple packaging. It is something that catering retailer Gastronom Number One kept in mind as it opened a Soviet-style food store in the shopping mall.
They are keeping the Soviet traditions, for example, here you can buy …, a traditional Soviet beverage, but also have new products from other countries, cheese, charcuterie, ham.
Now big name luxury brands wrestle to attention alongside the more retro stores. And as it celebrates its 120th birthday, GUM remains a consumer mecca for tourists and ordinary Russians alike, with around 15 million visitors flocking through the doors each year.

Leonid Louneev BBC news.