In this article, Francesca Stella examines the notion of Moscow as a global city through the prism of cultural diversity and cosmopolitanism by exploring articulations of queer space in the Russian capital. Two types of queer space are explored: the “scene,” understood as a loose cluster of commercial venues and community organizations catering to an LGBT clientele, and Moscow Pride, a temporary but also highly visible and politicized appropriation of urban space by the LGBT community. The analysis of Moscow Pride as a putative cosmopolitan object is framed within a broader sociopolitical context characterized by the rise of authoritarian, sexually conservative, and anti-western nationalist discourses. Stella provides insights into the contextual ability of political strategies based on visibility, recognition, and the support of transnational solidarity networks to pursue cosmopolitan values of openness and respect toward sexual diversity, highlighting a crucial tension between global/local and universal/particular in current debates on cosmopolitanism.
Work on this article was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant ES/I038497/1). I also gratefully acknowledge funding for the original fieldwork from the Carnegie Trust from the University of Scotland, the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, and the Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies, University of Glasgow. I would also like to thank Mark D. Steinberg, Sarah Hudspith, and the anonymous reviewers for Slavic Review for their very helpful and constructive comments on the original manuscript.
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30. The study was based on multisited fieldwork and aimed to compare the experiences of nonheterosexual women from Moscow, a city with a relatively well established gay and lesbian scene, and from Ul'ianovsk, a provincial city of 700,000 in the middle Volga region with no commercial scene or community organizations. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in 2004 and 2005; methods of data collection included semistructured, in-depth interviews with 61 nonheterosexual women, aged 18 to 56 (34 living in the Moscow region and 27 in the city of Ul'ianovsk); 7 expert interviews with Moscowbased community activists and entrepreneurs; and participant observation of community events and social gatherings for lesbian and bisexual women. In the interest of preserving anonymity, all names have been changed.
31. Indeed, both in Moscow and in Ul'ianovsk, women played down the importance of being “out” as lesbian or bisexual and the ideals of authenticity and visibility associated with it, remarking instead on the importance of preserving boundaries between areas of their lives where their sexuality could be safely expressed and others where they considered disclosure inappropriate, uncomfortable, or dangerous. Similar findings on attitudes toward coming out among queer-identified young people in Russia emerge from other empirical work; see, for example, Nadezhda Nartova, “Lesbians in Modern Russia: Subjectivity or Soviet Practices of ‘Hypocrisy'?” in Mihaela Frunza and Theodora-Eliza Vacarescu, eds., Gender and the (Post) “East“/“West” Divide (Cluj-Napoca, 2004); Omel'chenko, Elena, “Izuchaia gomofobiiu: Mekhanizmy iskliucheniia ‘drugoi’ seksual'nosti v provintsial'noi molodezhnoi srede,” in Zdravomyslova, Elena and Temkina, Anna, eds., Vpoiskakh seksual'nosti: Sbornik statei (St. Petersburg, 2002).
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37. Outside the lesbian communuity, the colloquial term Pushka refers more generally to a broader area near Pushkin Square, comprising parts of Tverskoi and Strastnoi Boulevards. This is a popular meeting place for all sorts of youth tusovki and for Muscovites in general (see, for example, Pilkington, Hilary, Russia's Youth and Its Culture [London, 1994]).
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