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Between the Labor Camp and the Clinic: Tema or the Shared Forms of Late Soviet Homosexual Subjectivities

  • Arthur Clech

Based on interviews with twenty-one women and fifteen men who expressed homosexual desires during the late Soviet period, this article seeks to shed light upon Soviet homosexual subjectivities in the Russian SFSR. As a result of the drive to “close off the entire topic of gay subjectivity to respectable inquiry, so as to prevent gayness from ever again being understood as a sickness,” queer studies has for a long time been “silent” on this topic (David Halperin). My objective here is to take into account both the effects produced by Soviet medical and penal discourse on the subjectification of individuals who experience homosexual desire and the room to maneuver open to individuals for constructing the subject of their sexuality from their experience. I suggest that men and women were able to construct homosexual subjectivities that cannot be reduced to binary stigmatization as either sickness or criminality. In reality, men and women rendered themselves the subjects of their homosexuality in confrontation simultaneously and non-exclusively with both the pathologizing and criminalizing definitions of homosexuality.

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1. Interview with Olga Krauze, Moscow, July 2014. I give invented male and female first names. The only cities I identify are Moscow and St. Petersburg. Olga Krauze and Nikolaï Baev, however, insisted on not being anonymized.

2. My sample size does not allow me to adequately address the 1950s. However, it is possible to take the new Soviet penal code of 1960 to mark the beginning of the late Soviet period. Designed to put an end to the Stalinist era, it ratifies the 1955 authorization of abortion while distancing itself from the penal codes of the popular Republics of Czechoslovakia and Hungary in not decriminalizing homosexuality. Thus, I understand the later Soviet period to begin in 1960 and end in the second half of the 1980s, extending in some areas, where the effects of perestroika were not immediately evident, until the end of the 1980s.

3. Interview with Olga Krauze, Moscow, July 2014.

4. A 1934 law introduced under Stalin stipulated five years’ imprisonment for sodomy between men and was not repealed until 1993. Women's same-sex desire at that time might be defined as “sluggishly manifesting schizophrenia” (vialotekushchaia shizofreniia), a “uniquely Soviet term,” or “transsexualism” by Soviet psychiatrists, who could order a psychiatric internment or propose a change in gender identity. See: Essig, Laurie, Queer in Russia: A Story of Sex, Self and the Other (Durham, NC, 1999), 28. Not until 1999 was homosexuality withdrawn from the list of psychiatric disorders. Medico-legal discourse divided homosexuality in gender terms, with men seen as subjects before the law, since they were responsible for their actions, while women were not: their homosexual desire could be subject to therapeutic intervention by the medical authorities. See: Essig, Queer in Russia, 28, 36–38; Gessen, Masha, The Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men in the Russian Federation: An International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Report (San Francisco, 1994); and Healey, Dan, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent (Chicago, 2001). It should be stressed that this notion of “sluggishly manifesting schizophrenia” (vialotekushchaia shizofreniia) is employed against a plurality of dissidents, not only against those who think differently (inakomysliashchie), but also against those who feel differently (inakochuvstvuiushchie).

5. Francesca Stella, “Lesbian identities and Everyday Space in Contemporary Urban Russia” (PhD diss., University of Glasgow, 2009), 134.

6. Heller, Dana, “t.A.T.u. you! Russia, the Global Politics of Eurovision, and Lesbian Pop,” Popular Music 26, no. 2, (May 2007): 197; see also Essig, Queer in Russia and Healey, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia.

7. Schluter, Daniel P., Gay Life In The Former USSR: Fraternity Without Community (New York, 2002), 6.

8. Martel, , Frédéric, . Global Gay: How Gay Culture is Changing the World, Cambridge, Mass., 2018. See also Altman, Dennis, “Global Gaze/ Global Gays,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 3, no. 4, (May 1997): 417–36. On the notion of community, Stephen O. Murray notes: “There are no clear-cut criteria with which to decide whether there is a “community.” Concerning North America before the Stonewall riots of 1969, the sociologist asserts: “So long as there were only friendship networks of homosexually-inclined men or women and systems of delivering sex, it was possible to argue there was not a ‘community,’” see Murray, Stephen O.The Institutional Elaboration of a Quasi-ethnic Community,” International Review of Modern Sociology 9, no. 2 (July-December 1979): 165–77.

9. Guenancia, Pierre, “Foucault / Descartes: la question de la subjectivité,” Archives de Philosophie 65, no. 2 (2002): 241. We should indeed note, following Frédéric Gros, that “the problem of the subject, of subjectivity, indeed of the self in Foucault is one of the most complex … that concepts such as subjectification, practice of self, and self-relation are markedly underdefined in and for themselves and are perhaps more to be understood as frames of reference for the interpretation of historical phenomenon than as concepts to be explored in strict autonomy from a philosophical perspective proper,” see Gros, Frédéric, “Sujet moral et soi éthique chez Foucault,” Archives de Philosophie 65, no. 2 (2002): 229–37.

10. My approach owes much to Alexei Yurchak, who shows both how the regime in practice encouraged the formation of new subjectivities and also how individuals selectively incorporated the values espoused by official discourse, thus cultivating a feeling of belonging to a Soviet collective identity that was far less uniform than it appeared, see Yurchak, Alexei, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton, 2006).

11. A minimum sentence for consenting relations was set at three years in 1934 to make sure homosexuals were sent to labor camps rather than ordinary prisons. This minimum sentence was then removed in 1961, see Healey, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia, 227.

12. Stella, Francesca, “The Language of Intersectionality: Researching ‘Lesbian’ Identity in Urban Russia,” in Taylor, Yvette, Hines, Sally, and Casey, Marke E., eds., Theorizing Intersectionality and Sexuality (New York, 2010), 2; Healey, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia.

13. Her attempt to write a “history of Russian sexuality” as distinct from that of western countries has, however, been criticized for its “exceptionalism.” Quoting Leo Bersani, Brian James Baer argues that queer approaches such as hers tend to “erase[s] gay and lesbian subjects,” see Bersani, Leo, Homos (Cambridge, MA, 1996): 3176, cited in Baer, Brian James, Other Russias: Homosexuality and the Crisis of Post-Soviet Identity (New York, 2009), 160. For my part, I would argue that appreciating the importance of subjectivities, in whatever form they might be, requires not only that we provide theoretical justification but also base ourselves on the speech of interviewees so that “sexual alterity” may be represented by “self-speaking subjects,” see Essig, Queer in Russia, 84. For an introduction to subjectivities in the USSR, some key references are Griesse, Malte, “Soviet Subjectivities: Discourse, Self-Criticism, Imposture,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 9, no. 3 (Summer 2008): 609–24; and Pinsky, Anatoly, “Soviet Modernity Post-Stalin: The State, Emotions, and Subjectivities,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 16, no. 2 (Spring 2015): 395411.

14. Stella, Francesca, Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia: Post/socialism and Gendered Sexualities (New York, 2015), 135.

15. Stella, Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia, 50. Zhabenko, Alisa, “‘Lesbiianstva ne bylo!’: nelegitimnyi gendernyi kontrakt v Sovetskoi Rossii,” in Konstruiruia “sovetskoe”? Politicheskoe soznanie, povsednevnye praktiki, novye identichnosti: materialy nauchnoi konferentsii studentov i aspirantov (14-15 Aprelia 2011 goda) (St. Petersburg, 2011), 89.

16. Stella, Francesca, “Issledovanie zhizni lesbiianok v sovetskii period: Pokolencheskii podkhod,” in Kondakov, Aleksandr ed., Na pereput΄e: Metodologiia, teoriia i praktika LGBT i kvir issledovanii (St. Petersburg, 2014), 239.

17. Boltanski, Luc and Thévenot, Laurent, De la justification: les économies de la grandeur (Paris, Gallimard, 1991), 15.

18. Halperin, David M., What Do Gay Men Want?: An Essay on Sex, Risk, and Subjectivity (Ann Arbor, MI, 2007), 3.

19. The Will to Knowledge is essential for understanding how in the west discourses on sex, far from being repressed, are encouraged to proliferate all the more within a new dispositive of power in large part nourished by psychiatry. The “scienta sexualis” constituted “sexuality” as an object of study in which the truth of individuality is to be found in discourse on sex. No longer a “subject” to be “subjugated,” from the nineteenth century onwards, the “individual” is issued the directive of interiorizing discourse on sexuality within the framework of a process of subjectification across which individuals constitute themselves as subjects, see Foucault, Michel, The History of Sexuality. Volume 1: An Introduction, trans. Hurley, Robert (New York, 1978).

20. For a Foucauldian history of homosexuality in Russia see: Engelstein, Laura, The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin-de-Siècle Russia (Ithaca, 1992); Healey, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia; and Essig, Queer in Russia. Dan Healey's Foucauldian approach in his history of homosexuality from 1870 to World War II is the reference monograph, crucial for any socio-historical approach to homosexuality in Russia, although it does not give enough space to the expression of homosexual subjectivities, see Arthur Clech, “Istoriografiia russkoi gomoseksualnosti do i posle Oktiabrskoi revoliutsii: Razlichnye podkhody i perspektivy,” [Historiography of Russian homosexuality before and after the October revolution: different approaches and research perspectives], Kak my pishem istoriiu eds. Dufaud, Grégory, Garreta, Guillaume, Pimenova, Liudmila, trans. Balakhoskoi, E. I., Dvornichenko, E.V., and Pimenovoi, L.A. (Moscow, 2013), 335–75. In a recent article, Ira Roldugina fills the lacuna while drawing on extensive archival research. See: Roldugina, Irina, “‘Pochemu my takie liudi?’ Rannesovetskie gomoseksualy ot pervogo litsa: Novye istochniki po istorii gomoseksual΄nykh identichnostei v Rossii” [“‘Why Are We Such People?’ Early Soviet Homosexuals Speaking in the First Person: New Sources on the History of Homosexual Identities in Russia”], Ab Imperio 2 (2016): 183216. In his last monograph, Dan Healey paid more attention to subjectivities. See his Russian Homophobia From Stalin To Sochi (New York, 2018).

21. “When one defines the exercise of power as a mode of action upon the actions of others, when one characterizes these actions as the government of men by other men-in the broadest sense of the term-one includes an important element: freedom.” See: Foucault, Michel, “The Subject and Power” in Power, ed. Faubion, James D., trans. Hurley, Robert and others. (New York, 2000): 341–42.

22. Rich, Adrienne, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (London, 1981) and Bersani, Homos.

23. Chauvin, Sébastien and Lerche, Arnaud, Sociologie de l'homosexualité (Paris, 2013), 4.

24. The bind between “nationality” (natsional΄nost΄), Soviet citizenship and sexuality is the subject of a French publication which gives a major place to fieldwork carried out in Georgia in 2015 and 2016. See: Clech, Arthur, “Des subjectivités homosexuelles dans une URSS multinationale,” Le mouvement social 260 (July–September 2017), 91110.

25. Rotkirch, Anna, The Man Question: Loves and Lives in Late 20th Century Russia (Helsinki, 2000): 132–33.

26. From the beginning of my first field trip to Moscow (2010–2011), I frequently consulted the private gay and lesbian archives. Indeed, I offered my services as a volunteer by scanning a portion of its database. These archives have the additional function of offering an important place of social gathering for women born before the seventies. I regularly took part in the activities of an informal group, the “Rainbow” association, which is now a member of ILGA-Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association. I also attended a support group run by gays (and a lesbian) which then held weekly meetings in the HIV screening center Jasen΄.

27. Given that the majority of doctoral students are not financed in France, a measure of tolerance is shown over the formal requirements concerning the duration of research.

28. Franeta, Sonja, Rozovye Flamingo: 10 Sibirskikh Interv΄iu (Tver, 2004).

29. Olga Krauze gave me two interviews in January 2010 and July 2014. She wrote an autobiographical text that was published in 2009. I only read it after the interviews. See Krauze, Olga, Otpetaia zhizn΄ (Tver, 2009).

30. For my part, I thought it best not to shape the perception of my interviewees. I elected to maintain a heuristic ambiguity concerning my own self-presentation given that it seemed to be the sincerest attitude to adopt and to be an authentic expression of the questioning of my own subjectivity. In addition, it seemed to me that this ambiguity allowed for a variable investment on the behalf of my interviewees. It was important to minimize the influence of my own presentation of self on their representations, and it was essential that participants should not be compelled by a normative, in particular heteronormative, injunction emanating from me. They were not to feel obliged to say who they were. Most of my respondents assumed that I was homosexual, and I did not think of contradicting them; a minority, meanwhile, whom I knew personally, realized that I might not wish to define myself with any sexual identity at all. The question of this self-presentation of sexual identity never arose explicitly in my interviews with people who had expressed their same-sex desire in the USSR, because the way in which they re/presented themselves and their past borrowed little, and at most in anachronistic fashion, from the vocabulary of their sexual identity. As I was being entrusted with their life stories, I was well aware that as a male, a French national, and an academic, without Russian heritage, I had to make a special effort not to exert any symbolic violence. Naturally the way in which my respondents recounted their stories was necessarily influenced by how I might appear to my respondents; yet as a Slavist who has spent eight years in the post-Soviet world since 2004, it was my national identity that was explicitly questioned, because of my unusual Russian accent, rather than my gender or sexual identity.

31. “Thirty years under the reign of a conspiracy of silence naturally led to an incredible level of ignorance concerning sexuality. Soviet children and adolescents in the 1950s to 1970s did not even know the most basic facts of the matter.” See: Kon, Igor΄ Semenovich, Seksual΄naia kul΄tura v Rossii: Klubnichka na berezke (Moscow, 1997), 184. This quotation, as with all the others taken from the original Russian, unless otherwise stated, is retranslated into English from the author's own French version.

32. This last statement is untrue because the German Paragraph 175 criminalizing homosexuality was repealed in the GDR in 1968, one year before the Federal Republic. Similar laws were abolished in Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1961, and in Bulgaria in 1968. In Communist Poland, there was no explicit criminalization of homosexuality whether male or female.

33. Nadezhda, interview, Saint Petersburg, October 2016. Laurie Essig mentions that they could be stopped by the police: “many women told me of threats from the internal security apparatus as well as the KGB: if the women did not ‘cooperate’ they would be outed to their families, at their place of employment, to their neighbors,” see Essig, Queer in Russia, 29.

34. Olga Krauze, interview, Moscow, July 2014.

35. Polina, interview, Moscow, June 2014.

36. Ibid.

37. Chistyi Zaliv nudist beach near Serebrianyi Bor. Liudmila, interview, Moscow, May 2014. According to an interview in May 2011 with a man born in 1938, this beach has been, since at least the 1970s, one of the few unvarying locations in Moscow's gay subculture.

38. Polina, interview, Moscow, June 2014.

39. Franeta, Rozovye Flamingo, 140. Interview, Krasnoiarsk, 1992.

40. Franeta, 100. Interview, Tomsk, 1995.

41. In one pioneering work, art historian and activist Olga Zhuk asserts, based on the memoirs of political detainees from the 1930s to the late 1970s, that the origin of the lesbian subculture in Russia in the 1990s lies in the Gulag. Quoting eye witnesses, she documents the authorities’ aversion to homosexuality, which they associated with common criminality. As a member of the St. Petersburg intelligentsia, she idealizes the prerevolutionary lesbian subculture of the salons to amplify her scorn for the homosexual subculture of the labor camp. The Israeli sociologist of Russian origin, Adi Kunstman, draws on Olga Zhuk's research in her explanation of this distaste for homosexuality. Such distaste actually served as a social marker for political prisoners who sought to distinguish themselves through their cultural baggage. Openness about homosexuality was possible only in the camps. Between men or between women, it was seen as morally and aesthetically degrading and associated with the lumpenproletariat or common people. Prior to de-Stalinization, political prisoners were still held together with common criminals, and were introduced to their world. To prove that they had nothing in common with people of that sort, who were portrayed as animals or monsters, they had to demonstrate their moral and aesthetic superiority, making any public show of sexuality impossible. They had to protect themselves from a “vice,” the first violence of which was its visibility considered as a force of corruption, or even a threat to their identity. See: Olga Zhuk, Russkie amazonki: Istoriia lesbiiskoi subkul΄tury Rossii, XX vek (Moscow, 1998); Adi Kuntsman, “‘With a Shade of Disgust’: Affective Politics of Sexuality and Class in Memoirs of the Stalinist Gulag,” Slavic Review 68, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 308–28.

42. I was not myself able to find any women who had spent time in a psychiatric hospital for their homosexuality.

43. Olga Krauze, interview, Moscow, July 2014.

44. Her account takes the form of a chapter, Eighteen years in the Gulag: Kuzmich …” in Franeta, Sonja, My Pink Road to Russia, Tales of Amazons, Peasants, and Queers (Oakland, CA, 2015): 201–31.

45. Ibid.

46. His experience was confirmed by someone eight years younger, Viktor, who avoided military service by using the psycho-pathologizing definition of homosexuality in the USSR: on his exemption papers he is classified 7B, meaning unfit for service because of “psycho-pathology,” with no explicit mention of Viktor's homosexuality. Franeta, Rozovye Flamingo, 115, 118, and 121. Viktor, interview, Novosibirsk, 1995.

47. The sociologist Elena Yurevna Rozhdestvenskaya gave me this six-page interview, which had been conducted within the framework of Master's (magistratura) research in sociology by her student Ksenia Komorova at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, in 2014. It describes the major features of a long, eventful life story (1945–2014).

48. Egor, interview, Moscow, April 2014, following an informal conversation in spring 2011.

49. Franeta, Rozovye Flamingo, interview, Krasnoiarsk, 1995, 63–78.

50. From 1983 to 1986, Igor reports that 136 people were convicted of homosexuality in six major trials in Krasnoiarsk. Ibid., 69.

51. Vasilii, interview, Moscow, June 2011.

52. Vladislav, interview, Moscow, June 2014.

53. Ibid.

54. Ibid. He explained to me how he understood this term: essentially, the fear that one's homosexuality would be made public derived from the fear of moral judgment (“moral΄noye osuzhdeniye”).

55. Blum, Alain, Naître vivre et mourir en URSS, 1917–1991 (Paris, 1994) : 22 and 159–208.

56. Essig, Queer Russia, x, 197; Laurie Essig, “Serdtsa geev nado zaryvat΄ v zemliu: Razmyshleniia ob okhote,” in Kondakov, ed., Na pereput΄e, 11; Aleksandr Kondakov, “Formirovanie kvir-arkhiva issledovanii seksual΄nostei,” Kondakov, ed., Na pereput΄e, xv-xvi.

57. Francesca Stella, Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia, 6.

58. In Russia, this term “gay” denotes a negatively loaded otherness: the west. See: Baer, Other Russias, 6. A vocabulary for the late Soviet period has been compiled by Kozlovskii, Vladimir, Argo russkoi gomoseksual΄noi subkul΄tury: Materialy k izucheniiu (Benson, VT, 1986): 119–46.

59. Chauncey, George, Shatan, Jessica, Ferguson, Archie, and Levi, Vicki Gold, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940 (New York, 1994), 28 and 312.

60. Stella, Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia, 46.

61. Rotkirch, The Man Question, 132–33.

62. Vadim (born in 1955), interview, Moscow, July 2014.

63. Ekaterina (born in 1954), interview, Moscow, July 2013.

64. Kozlovskii has published an interview he held with a homosexual man and a lesbian who got married in the early 1970s “as a cover” (dlia prikrytiia). See: Kozlovskii, Argo Russkoi Gomoseksualnoi Kultury, 211–28.

65. Interview with Olga Krauze, Moscow, July 2014, following an informal conversation in January 2010.

66. Olga Krauze, Otpetaia zhizn΄, 84.

67. Interview with Olga Krauze, Moscow, July 2014.

68. “As much as drag creates a unified picture of ‘woman’ (what its critics often oppose), it also reveals the distinctness of those aspects of gendered experience which are falsely naturalized as a unity through the regulatory fiction of heterosexual coherence. In imitating gender, drag implicitly reveals the imitative structure of gender itself—as well as its contingency.” Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: 1990), 175.

69. Nikolai Baev (activist, born in 1974), interview, Moscow, July 2014.

70. For evidence of this and some analysis, see Healey, Dan, “Comrades, Queers, and ‘Oddballs’: Sodomy, Masculinity, and Gendered Violence in Leningrad Province of the 1950s,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 21, no. 3 (September 2012): 496522.

71. Kandrashov, Serge, Mes vacances de printemps: Voyage vers ma jeunesse et ses amours (Neuilly-sur-Seine, 2011). The Russian original Kondrashov, Sergei.vesennie.pdf was downloaded from his blog and retranslated, last accessed October 26, 2013. Here, p. 217. This source is no longer available online in the original, taken down by the author.

72. Jean-Philippe Cazier, interview, “Sociologie de l'homosexualité,” on the latter's blog on the French participatory news website Médiapart at (last accessed December 17, 2017).

73. Olga Krauze, interview, Moscow, Summer 2014.

74. One example is the song “Druzhba” (Friendship) by the famous tenor Vadim Kozin (1903–1994), who was imprisoned at the end of the war under Article 121. This 1930s song could be understood as a romantic homage to love between men, because its first verses speak of closeness, “a tender, caressing glance,” the invitation to hold hands and “live together forever.” Dan Healey has dedicated a chapter to the diary of Vadim Kozin in his Russian Homophia From Stalin To Sochi, 73–89.

75. Born in the year of Stalin's death, she spent her childhood crossing the entire Soviet Union because of her father's job and then spent her adolescence in eastern Ukraine. She tells of men in the street just out of labor camps. In general, there was a resurgence of “banditry” after World War II and the release of many camp inmates, which was not always welcomed in Soviet society. And yet there was an “idealization” of this world, particularly in the song genre known as blatnaia pesnia, “rogues’ songs:” the criminal is seen in them as an authentic, solitary, free spirit who refuses laws that are not his own. This is the context for the terms “mafia” and “Gypsies” which she uses to designate homosexual men and women. Although abortion was legalized later under Khrushchev, the new penal code in 1960 maintained the Stalinist criminal offence of sodomy. Healey's explanation is that the release of 4.5 million camp inmates was a source of anxiety for the regime, which feared a generalization of homosexual behavior. See: Healey, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia, 239. See also Dobson, Miriam, Khrushchev's Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime and the Fate of Reform after Stalin (Ithaca, 2009).

76. Vasilii, interview, Moscow, June 2011.

77. I use this term as it is defined by Roland Barthes, a semiotician whose thought resists all essentialization. He saw ethos as “the character traits which the orator must show the public (his sincerity is of little account) to make a good impression: these are his ‘airs’ … the orator gives a piece of information and at the same time says: I am this, I am not that.” Roland Barthes, “Communications, no 8.” (Paris, 1966) in The Semiotic Challenge, trans. Howard, Richard, (New York, 1988), 74.

78. Egor, Interview, Moscow, April 2014. See Note 48.

79. Ibid.

80. Ibid.

81. Ibid.

82. Fainberg, Sarah, Les discriminés: L'antisémitisme soviétique après Staline (Paris, 2014).

83. Yuri, interview, March 2015, a town in the “red belt” of Russia. Nearly half my Russian respondents mentioned their Jewish roots, without necessarily claiming to belong to the intelligentsia. Yuri was one of them. In a hesitation similar to that observed in the context of their same sex desire, they also frequently avoided describing their Jewish roots in terms of identity, an interesting bias that may explain how Jewish roots may clash with Russian as same-sex desire may clash with Soviet identity.

84. Yuri, interview, March 2015, a town in the “red belt” of Russia.

85. Ibid.

86. Ibid.

87. “Because of the great rewards in being considered normal, almost all persons who are in a position to pass will do so on some occasion by intent.” Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (New York: 1963), 74.

88. Temkina, Anna and Rotkirch, AnnaSoviet Gender Contracts and Their Shifts in Contemporary Russia,” Idäntutkimus: Finnish Journal of Russian and Eastern European Studies 2 (1997): 624.

89. Lagrave, Rose-Marie, ed., Fragments du communisme en Europe centrale (Paris, 2011), 1213.

90. Stella, Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia, 134.

91. Kon, Seksual΄naia kul΄tura v Rossii, 176.

92. Vasilii, interview, Moscow, June 2011. See also Vērdiņš, Kārlis, “Queer Male (Post)Soviet Narratives in Interviews by Rita Ruduša and Fiktion by Klāvs Smilgzieds,” Interlitteraria 20, no. 1, (2015): 236.

I wish to thank the CEFR (Centre d'Études Franco-Russe de Moscou) for funding three research missions and part of the translation of this article, and for the scholarly support provided by its researchers, particularly Jean Radvanyi, Juliette Cadiot, Hélène Mélat, and Masha Cerovic. The article was presented at the Soviet history seminar held jointly by the CEFR and DHI (Deutsche Historische Institut) Moscow, for which I am grateful. I would also like to thank Harriet L. Murav, Richard Mole, and the anonymous reviewers for Slavic Review for their very helpful and constructive comments on the original manuscript. I am also in debt to Alain Blum, my research director at EHESS (CERCEC) (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Centre d'études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen), and to Irina Roldugina, Brendan McElmeel, Juliette Rennes, Ivan Chupin, Anna Åberg, Régis Schlagdenhauffen, Lina Tsrimova, Grégory Dufaut, Amandine Regamey, Mona Claro, Rose-Marie Lagrave, and Fabien Rothey for their re-reading and valuable advice. My field work gained enormously from crucial friendly support from Elena Grigorievna Gusyatinskaya, Igor Jasin, Olga Krauze, Nikolaj Baev, Ol΄ga Gert (pseudonym), Pavel Samburov, Valery Sozaev, and many others I prefer not to cite by name.

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