What Souvenirs Does Moscow Need?


More than ten million tourists visit Moscow every year – and that’s just foreigners. Yet the Russian capital’s souvenir industry is in crisis. Other than tacky matryoshka dolls, t-shirts, fur-hats and other odd things that have been flooding Old Arbat since the 1990s, there is basically nothing to take home from Moscow. Other world capitals not only earn vast sums from the souvenir sales, but use them as a powerful advertising tool to attract even more tourists.

Against the back ground of this crisis, a recently published New Literary Map of Russia has caused a sensation amongst designers both at home and around the world.

Leading Russian designers gathered at Strelka to discuss how to deal with Moscow’s great souvenir deficit. How can we make souvenirs look interesting and come up with Moscow brands? How can souvenir production be improved, and how can we learn from the experience of other cities?

Joining the discussion will be Russia! magazine publisher Ilya Merenzon, who thought up the New Literary Map, designers Yuri Gordon, Dmitry Barbanel, and Igor Gurovich, and artist Alexander Shaburov, a member of the Blue Noses art group.