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HOW DID A SEXUAL MINORITIES MOVEMENT

EMERGE IN POST-SOVIET RUSSIA?


AN ESSAY
By
Mikhail Nemtsev
With a Preface by Prof. Laurie Essig
Tale !" #!$te$ts
Table of Contents.................................................................................................................................... 1
Preface..................................................................................................................................................... 2
Introduction............................................................................................................................................. 4
Acno!ledge"ents................................................................................................................................. #
$eneral idea% ey ter"s% and theoretical a&&roach.................................................................................. '
Cha&ter 1. (o"ose)uality in the *o+iet ,nion before its de-cri"inali.ation..................................... 1'
*o"e re"ars about /se)uality0 in the *o+iet ,nion...................................................................... 1'
(o"ose)ual co""unity in the ,**1 in late *o+iet ,nion............................................................ 22
(o! to na"e the co""unity3 The &roble" of rele+ant na"ing ....................................................24
Cha&ter 2. The e"ergence of the 1ussian se)ual "inorities "o+e"ent after 1565. Periodi.ation of
the "o+e"ent in the conte)t of late-*o+iet and Post-*o+iet 1ussia..................................................... 2'
The first &ublic ho"ose)ual organi.ations% their interests and ai"s............................................... 44
Cha&ter 2. As&ects of 1ussian se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent............................................................... #4
1ussian se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent and national &olitics............................................................ #4
8ational tradition and international L$BT Co""unity in the grou& identity of early 1ussian
se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent............................................................................................................ 92
Ethos of the "o+e"ent7s acti+ist. The case of :lga ;rau.e........................................................... '1
Conclusion............................................................................................................................................. 61
A&&endi). The list of the inter+ie!ees.................................................................................................. 6#
Literature and sources............................................................................................................................69
*ources............................................................................................................................................. 52
1
P%e"a&e
It has been nearly ten years since the &ublication of "y boo% Queer in Russia <=ue ,ni+ersity
Press% 1555>. What a &erfect ti"e% then% to read ?ihail 8e"tse+7s essay on the e"ergence of a
se)ual "inorities "o+e"ent in 1ussia. Let "e begin !ith the difference in our to&ics@ Aueer +s.
se)ual "inorities. I chose the !ord /Aueer0 <not gays or Aueers or se)ual "inorities> because I did
not !ant to tal about actual &eo&le but ho! non-nor"ati+e se)ual &ractices !ere thought about in
1ussian culture% both by those !ho &artici&ate in the" <i.e. se)ual "inorities> and those !ho do not.
8e"tse+7s !or slices into the &roble" fro" a different angle@ he !ants to no! !hy and ho! a
"o+e"ent of se)ual "inorities e"erged so Auicly after the fall of the *o+iet ,nion !hen before that
&oint there !as no s&ace in the &ublic s&here for se) of any ind% let alone Aueer se). This Auestion is
an e)tre"ely interesting one for anyone interested not Bust in se)ual "inorities or e+en "ore abstract
notions of Aueer se)% but in social "o+e"ents "ore generally.
8e"tse+7s ans!er to the Auestion of ho! a 1ussian gayClesbian "o+e"ent e"erged see"ingly out
of no!here is a good one. (e theori.es that such a "o+e"ent could e"erge in the &ost-*o+iet &eriod
because all the &ieces of a social "o+e"ent !ere already in &lace@ a shared notion of identity and
co""unity as !ell as a shared sense of !hat needed to be done first@ the decri"inali.ation of
ho"ose)ual acts. 8e"tse+7s ans!er to ho! a "o+e"ent could e"erge so Auicly is also !hy such a
"o+e"ent fell a&art soon after!ards@ once ho"ose)uality !as decri"inali.ed% the i"agined
co""unity of se)ual "inorities actually had no co""on agenda to hold it together.
This is% I thin% !hat 8e"tse+7s !or really gi+es us@ a !ay to thin through the &roble" of social
"o+e"ents based on identity &olitics. Dudith Butler% in her groundbreaing critiAue of fe"inis"
<Gender Trouble% 1565> suggests that no "o+e"ent based on an identity can last for long !ithout
endless fissures and fractures. As soon as a "o+e"ent is built u&on a clai" to be so"ething- lie /a
!o"an0 or /gay0- it "ust si"ultaneously engage in endless argu"ents about !ho is and is not that
so"ething. As Butler &oints out% this is the +ery &roble" Erederic 8iet.sche s&oe to in his
/"eta&hysics of being.0 *ince any clai" to /be0 reAuires that others acce&t that clai"% that one
successfully /&erfor"0 that identity% identity is al!ays an unstable clai" to &o!er. It is the +ery
instability of identity that "aes it difficult if not i"&ossible to build a social "o+e"ent- at least in
the long ter"- on the basis of identity- a lesson that A"erican acti+ists ha+e learned o+er and o+er
again as one identity-based "o+e"ent after another has fallen a&art since the height of their &o!er in
the 1594s and 15'4s.
Perha&s by co"&aring the birth <and death> of a "o+e"ent of se)ual "inorities in 1ussia !ith
si"ilar "o+e"ents in the ,*% !e get the best &ers&ecti+e on !hy the "o+e"ent did not last but
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"ight for" again around other &ressing issues. In the ,*% after a strong /gay liberation0 "o+e"ent
in the 1594s that lined the o&&ression of ho"ose)uals !ith other for"s of social &o!er <such as
racis" and se)is">% gay acti+is" faded a!ay as the radical &olitics of the ti"e !ere re&laced !ith
"ore assi"ilationist goals as o+ert discri"ination !as sto&&ed by changes in both the la! and the
culture. Then ca"e the 1564s and AI=* !hen gay "en once again rallied around a co""on goal and
identity. This "o+e"ent <e.g. ACT-,P> also broe u& once AI=* beca"e- at least for those !ith
access to &har"aceuticals- a controllable disease. A si"ilar series of e+ents ha&&ened for lesbians-
!ho reached the height of their acti+is" in the 15'4s% !hen they lined their se)ual identity to the
concerns of fe"inis" and a larger critiAue of &atriarchy. This acti+is" faded as fe"inis" too beca"e
"ore assi"ilationist in its goals as so"e !o"en !ere increasingly gi+en access to education and
&rofessions. Today !e see the ree"ergence of Aueer acti+is" in the ,* around t!o issues@ sa"e-se)
"arriage and transgender rights. Although these t!o "o+e"ents ha+e both changed the !ay
A"erican society o&erates% they too !ill fade a!ay as the needs of the &articular grou&s are "et.
*a"e se) "arriage is legal in a gro!ing nu"ber of states. /Transgender0 is increasingly listed as a
category in need of legal and institutional &rotection <for e)a"&le% "y uni+ersity &rotects /di+ersity
of gender e)&ression0 as do "any other schools and !or &laces>.
Perha&s !hat is "ost interesting for those interested in !hy social "o+e"ents for" or do not% is
that a rhetoric of social Bustice and yes% e+en re+olution% has been "ore or less absent fro" se)ual
"inorities social "o+e"ents in the ,* and 1ussia. Because se)ual "inorities ha+e organi.ed on the
basis of /identity0 and for their o!n interests% they ha+e been unable to build the sort of broad-based
coalitions that "ight actually create long lasting "o+e"ents. If% for instance% se)ual "inorities in
both countries began to fight for issues of econo"ic and social Bustice <e.g. healthcare for allF
s&ending less on the "ilitary and "ore on education>% then coalitions could be built bet!een acti+ists
regardless of se)ual orientation or gender e)&ression or any other &articular identity. But if the 21
st
century is anything lie the 24
th
% that &robably !on7t ha&&en. ?odernity de"ands that !e identify-
as a race% a nationality% a class% a se)ual orientation. ,nless !e finally lea+e the de"ands of
"odernity behind% identity &olitics !ill continue to do"inate social "o+e"ents. ?o+e"ents of
se)ual "inorities% in 1ussia and in the ,*% !ill &ush the interests of so"e Aueers to get their rights
<e.g. "arriage% AI=* drugs% etc>. These "o+e"ents !ill ebb and flo!% as they succeed and fail to get
!hat they !ant% but they !ill ne+er unite a broad-based coalition of &eo&le !oring for a better
!orld. Indeed% they !on7t e+en unite all the Aueers% !ho !ill continue to fracture and fight and &olice
the "eaning of their "o+e"ents Bust lie e+ery other identity-based social "o+e"ent.
La'%ie Essi(
Assistant Professor in Sociology,
Middlebury College, Vermont, USA
2
I$t%!)'&ti!$
This short essay is based on "y ?asterGs =issertation% co"&leted in the $ender *tudies =e&art"ent
of the Central Euro&ean ,ni+ersity in the s&ring of 244'. In this research% I tired to conce&tuali.e and
e)&lain Auic and <co"&arably> successful e"ergence of &ublic se)ual "inoritiesG acti+ity in the +ery
end of the ,**1 <in the !ae of Boris Elt.inGs 1ussia>% along !ith its subseAuent decline% &artially
&redestined by the &re+ious successes. It !as necessary to !rite a ind of social history of the
"o+e"ent first% for such a re+ie! still did not e)ist. Thus% I !as to co"&lete t!o Bobs si"ultaneously@
in+estigate the history of the "o+e"ent as "o+e"ent% and conce&tuali.e the history in ter"s of
sociology of social "o+e"ent. By its "ethod and subBect% the essay "ust be &laced on uncertain
inter"ediate land bet!een social anthro&ology and social history.
In this introduction% I !ould lie to say a fe! !ords about the boo in general. *tudying history of
non-nor"ati+e se)uality all o+er the !orld !hile in the CE,% I !as i"&ressed by the fact ho! &oorly
1ussia had been re&resented in the history. It !as &articularly strange in co"&arison !ith the general
interest to 1ussian society &aid by +arious scholars in do"ains of culture% society and &olitics. Thus% I
found it an urgent as !ell as interesting tas to e)&lore the history of non-nor"ati+e se)uality in
1ussia to contribute to the general history of se)uality and "ae in "ore co"&le). At the sa"e ti"e
one should understand the status and &osition of the &ractices% na"ed in this boo /non-nor"ati+e
se)uality0 to study history and sociology of se)uality in 1ussia &ro&erly.
1ussian society does not ha+e a tradition of /&olitics of identity0. Therefore% historical sociology
and anthro&ology of L$BT "o+e"ent in this &articular cultural en+iron"ent recei+es in &ost-*o+iet
1ussia an interesting case of ho! se)ual "inorities "ay for" a social "o+e"ent% taing ad+antages%
if any% of their &articular social and cultural circu"stances in the gi+en society.
There are other reasons to study situation !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality in 1ussia. =uring last t!o
years before the &a&er !as !ritten% the &olitical situation of 1ussian L$BT co""unity had changed.
Ero" the one side% ho"ose)uality has been &olitici.ed by right-!ing and conser+ati+e &olitics that
began &ublicly stig"ati.e ho"ose)uals7 in their &ublic s&eeches and la!-"aing discussions.
4
(o"o&hobic attitudes are still rather !ide-s&read in the country% but it !as only recently that they
entered the official &olitical discourse% recast as a "atter of the state &olicy <Haya+lenie 244'>. In
2449% /$ay Pride%0 &roBected and organi.ed by a grou& of L$BT acti+ists in ?osco! % united by
&roBect GayRussia.ru% !as banned and se+erely dis&ersed by "etro&olitan authorities. Thereby% the
+ery conce&t of /gay &ride0 Auite suddenly recei+ed nation-!ide &ublicity. The status and condition
of gays and lesbians in the country suddenly ha+e beco"e !idely dis&uted by "ass "edia and
citi.ens. *i"ultaneously% the co""unity itself is being challenged by slight but a&&rehensible
boosting of state ho"o&hobia% !hich &artially reflects acti+ity of the leaders of the Ggay &rideG% !hose
tactics of self-&resentation is not !holly a&&ro+ed by national L$BT co""unity. The situations
changes considerably Auicly. It "aes sense to co"&are this ongoing situation to !ith the &eriod
!hen lesbigay co""unity entered the &ublic discourse for the first ti"e <fifteen years ago>.
=ue to "y o!n &ersonal circu"stances I could not re+ie! and change the te)t before the
&ublication dee&ly enough. I ha+e "ade s"all refine"ents% e)&anded se+eral frag"ents that had been
abridged in the dissertation% and &ut so"e "ore references. The /original0 te)t of the dissertation is
freely a+ailable on the !eb-site of CE, library <.library.ceu.!u>. I ho&e this s"all essay !ould
contribute to the transfor"ation of se)ual and gender regi"es in 1ussia. I lie to thin about the te)t
as an initial &art in a research of transfor"ation of se)uality in conte"&orary 1ussia% !hich I ho&e to
be able% to continue !ith $od7s hel&% sooner or later.
A&k$!*le)(eme$ts
As far as the !or !as !ritten to be sub"itted to Central Euro&ean ,ni+ersity =e&art"ent of $ender
*tudies% the role of the =e&art"ent !as funda"ental on e+ery ste& of !riting the te)t% fro" the first
"o"ent I gras&ed the idea till the +ery defense. E+ery "e"ber of the defense co""ittee did so "uch to
"ae it a&&ear. These !ere &rof. Allaine Cer!ona% &rof. Elissa (el"s% "y su&er+isor% and Es.ter Ti"Ir%
!ho introduced "e into the alluring !orld of Aueer studies. I a" really grateful to all of the"% but I should
not "iss the chance to than the entire faculty% es&ecially the &rofessors and their assistants% along !ith
other CE, staff% under !hose instructions I got so "uch during that unforgettable acade"ic year@
Er.sJbet BarIt% Erancisca de (aan% K+a Eodor% =usica 1isti+oBe+ic% =a+id 1idout% Andrea PetL% *o&hie
(o!lett% Das"ina Luic% *usan Hi""er"ann% =a+id Weber"an% E"il Iuga% ?Iria *.JcsJnyi% Andreas
Meiter% 8atIlia Mersegi% Dudit Hotter% K+a Bodogan. I than $od for the &ossibility to discuss the idea and
content of dissertation !ith Anna ;utu.o+a% Artyo" ;os"arsy% ="itry Minni% ?aria I+anche+a <it
surely should not "ean that I forgot other CE, friends>. I !ant to than 8atalia P. ;os"arsy% 8atalia
;os"arsy% Petr ;os"arsy for their trust and friendshi&. Without selfless hel& of 8iolai Barasho+% for
#
his selfless hel& N !ithout hi"% this research si"&ly !on7t e)ist. I "ust than &eo&le !ho taught "e
gender studies and anthro&ology of se)uality for the first ti"e N Tatiana Barchuno+a <8o+osibirs> and
8ade.hda 8arto+a <*t. Petersburg>. A &erson !ho has effecti+ely influenced "y !ay of thining about
se)uality is &rof. Igor ;on <?osco!>. I a" es&ecially grateful to hi" for his collection of early 1ussian
gay and lesbian &ress that he ga+e into "y dis&osal.F the !or !ould be incurably &oor !ithout that
collection% !hich I &assed to the :&en *ociety Archi+e in Buda&est. *e+eral useful sources !ere recently
&ro+ided to "e by *+yatosla+ *here"et <;ie+>.
I !ant to than "y ?osco! and *t. Petersburg inter+ie!ees !ho al!ays !ere ready to s&end their ti"e
!ith "e% ans!ering Auestions and e)&laining ob+ious "atters. I cannot e)&ress ho! i"&ortant !as your
&ersonal i"&act on "e. =uring the research I !as lucy to beca"e acAuainted !ith !onderful &eo&le.
Prof. Laurie Essig% &aid attention to the essay and !rote an e)tensi+e and insightful introduction to it% it
!as s gesture of a gesture friendshi&. Than youO
?y &arents% Irina 8e"tse+a and Puri 8e"tse+% and "y brother *ergey% ne+er refuse to su&&ort "e in all
"y &roBects and initiati+es including Auite strange and shady ones% I cannot e)&ress ho! funda"entally
i"&ortant their trust and lo+e is for "e. I also !ant to than Malentina and ;atya.
The last% but not the least% to be &ointed out here is Merlag =r. ?Qller Publishing (ouse% !hich suggestion
to turn this ?A thesis into a boo !as a big sur&rise for "e. It !as Agnes 8elhQbel !ho hel&ed "e to
fulfill the &roBect.
9
Ge$e%al i)ea+ ke, te%ms+ a$) the!%eti&al a--%!a&h
The social history and anthro&ology of se)ual "inorities in the &ost *o+iet 1ussia has not been
studied &ro&erly yet. The fact is a"a.ing% if !e loo at co"&arably de+elo&ed scholarshi& on 1ussian
ho"oerotic literature <Engelstein 1552F ;arlinsy 1551% 1565>. =etailed histories of non-nor"ati+e
se)uality and sa"e-se) se)uality often did not &ay attention to history of this region <Ada" et al.
1555>.
There is only one social anthro&ological "onogra&h dedicated to the subBect <Essig 1555F I
consider one of its ey &oints belo!>. In 1ussia% u& till no!% the "ost &o&ular and !idely used !ors
are Igor ;on7s o+er+ie!s !ritten in "id-1554s% although one should not o+erloo se+eral
dissertations describing conte"&orary lesbian and gays co""unities that ha+e a&&eared in recent
years <;u&riyano+a 2444% 8oso+a 2442% Morontso+ 1555>. ,nfortunately% they do not go dee& into the
details of the co""unitiesG social history. Thus% I thin that e+ery ne! !or in this field is i"&ortant
both in ter"s of de+elo&"ent of anthro&ology and gender sociology of 1ussian society% and in ter"s
of hel&ing the co""unity to ad+ocate their rights% due to an ob+ious fact that &ublic no!ledge about
the co""unity legiti"i.es its clai"s for rights and &ublic acno!ledge"ent.
?y "ain !.e&tive is to offer a general +ie! at the history of the "o+e"ent !hich "ay hel& to
figure out the &rocess of self-establish"ent of the se)ual "inorities7 co""unity in this &articular
social and &olitical conte)t. I discern re&eated &atterns of self-deter"ination of the organi.ations%
!hich I ha+e na"ed /trends.0 (a+ing been sha&ed in the initial &eriod as they !ere% these trends are
still discernible today. I argue that the !hole &rocess of e"ergence !as &re-defined by the conditions
of the society that had been before first grou&s &erfor"ed their /co"ing out0. (ence% as "y &!%e
/'esti!$s about the se)ual "inorities7 co""unity I defined the follo!ing ones@
1> What !ere the social and &olitical conditions of the for"ing and e)istence of the co""unity
before its &ublic /co"ing out0 in 1565-15543 This Auestion is considered in the 1
st
cha&ter.
'
2> What ind of thing !as the /co""unity0 in general% as a co"&licated but united obBect of
research in the historical &eriod I loo at3 I !ould discuss this in the 2
nd
cha&ter.
2> What !ere the characteristic features of the "o+e"ent !hich !ould hel& to understand its
social% cultural ad &olitical self-organi.ation3 This Auestion is +ery co"&licated% therefore in the three
&arts of the 2
rd
cha&ter I concentrate on three as&ects of it@ 1> &olitical self-&ositioning of the
"o+e"ent <!ith the inner trends reflected by different relations to &olitical acti+ities a"ong the +ery
co""unity>% 2> its self-&ositioning in national and global cultures% and 2> !ays of indi+idual
&artici&ation in the &ublic acti+ities in that initial &eriod. In the Conclusion% I su""ari.e the findings
and try to su&&ose the directions for further in+estigations.
The first "ethodological &roble" one "ust face% e)&loring this to&ic is ho! to theori.e the +ery
subBect I dealt !ith. I ha+e already i"&lied the ter" /co""unity0 abo+e. (o!e+er% so"eti"es I
doubted !hether I should a&&ly this ter" s&eaing about a grou& of &eo&le !ho ha+e al"ost nothing
in co""on besides their se)ual orientation% !hich is considered <by outsiders% but often by
the"sel+es% too> /abnor"al0 and thereby /outla!0. It is necessary to ha+e e+idence in taing this
grou& of &eo&le for a co""unity% at least &otentially.
By /&!mm'$it,0 I denote <1> an analytically defined set of indi+iduals and their grou&s !ho
&ractice the sa"e social "ractice <in the &articular case of the grou& I s&ea about% such &ractice is the
sa"e-se) se)ual acti+ities and ho"oeroticis">% <2> !ho are interconnected by for"al and infor"al
relations% <2> ha+e a certain sense of grou& solidarity and are <4> socially defined <by others and by
the"sel+es> as belonging to one category. E+en if a &erson refuses to signify herself or hi"self by the
category% the +ery &ossibility of being signified in that "anner is "eaningful. These features allo! the
&ersons to for" a collecti+e identity. E+en if these &eo&le do not actually no! each other% and ha+e
no articulated feeling of solidarity% they ha+e sufficient reason to unite !ith other &eo&le !ho are able
to share the sa"e social e)&erience. Long before the end of the *o+iet regi"e% a real ho"ose)ual
/co""unity0 has e"erged in the country% considering a distinct cultural style% s&ecific sociolect and
!ides&read underground net!ors around !hich the co""unity has clustered itself.
6
It is i"&ortant to note that se+eral &ersons fro" the grou& &roduce a s&ecific attitude to the grou&%
!hich I !ill call an /et!os0% after ?ar Blasius <1552>. These &ersons imagine the grou& <any big
grou& is an /i"agined0 one% the sa"e "ust be said about any nation-!ide co""unity <Anderson
1551>> as a set of &eo&le !ho share the sa"e social e)&erience% ha+e co""on social and &olitical
interests and% conseAuently% may organi.e a social "o+e"ent to &ro"ote these interests. The
co""unity has !ishes and &roble"s% !hich should be satisfied and sol+ed% thus there a&&ear acti+ists
!ho identify the"sel+es !ith these needs. An e)e"&lary story of such acti+ist is &resented in the last
section.
In this research% it is set of +arious acti+ities of grou&s there &eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality
gathered that is conce&tuali.ed as /m!veme$t.0 I define the /social "o+e"ent0 as a set of &ublicly
acting grou&s% !ho ha+e their agendas and &rogra"s% and try to reali.e their social% cultural and
&olitical obBecti+es in the fa+or of the co""unity. We "ay s&ea about a "o+e"ent !hen these
grou&s share the sa"e agenda and "ay coo&erate <e+en being critici.ed by the "e"bers of the
co""unity for un!illingness to coo&erate effecti+ely>. The "o+e"ent is based on a co""unity% and
re&resents its /interests%0 as the "o+e"ent7s acti+ists a&&rehend the". *i"ultaneously% the
co""unity is being <re>for"ed and <re>sha&ed by the "o+e"ent.
?y argu"ent is that the Auic de+elo&"ent of a se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent at the end of the
*o+iet &eriod !as &ossible only because such a de+elo&ed and co"&licated <underground>
co""unity had e)isted before. (o!e+er% in order to "obili.e the co""unity7s &artici&ants% a
/mo#ement identity0 should e"erge in the "o+e"ent. It is a /collecti+e identity based on shared
"e"bershi& in a "o+e"ent0 <Polletta and Das&er 2441% &. 265>. I study ho! the "o+e"ent identity
has e"erged in the grou&s that ha+e a&&eared as &ersonal &roBects of certain indi+iduals% and ho! this
e"ergence !as sustained by the social situation of &ost-socialist transfor"ations.
If there is a "o+e"ent% it "ust act &ublicly. :ne creates and sustains the identity by &roclai"ing it
in &ublic s&here% i.e. gi+ing others a chance to discuss and critici.e it. The +ery act of &ublic
de"onstration of an identity is crucially i"&ortant. :ne al!ays can &artici&ate in the co""unity
5
!ithout &ublic disclosing of <this &art of> his or her identity. (o!e+er% to act as a social acti+ist%
!oring on behalf of se)ual "inorities7 co""unity% one ob+iously should /co"e out0. /Co"ing out0
is a funda"ental &rocess in !hich the "o+e"ent identity e"erges. This co"ing out "ay be &artial
<i.e. i"&ly nicna"es% a+oiding "ass-"edia &resentations etc.>% but it nonetheless "ust ha&&en once
in this or that !ay. It is &ossible to consider the e"ergence of se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent an effect
of "ass co"ing out of "any &eo&le !ho &re+iously &artici&ated in the "o+e"ent or !ere intended to
do it <but could not due to the lac of infor"ation or inordinate social control they suffered>. I
o+er+ie! the "o+e"ent as it has e"erged and self-organi.ed in the &rocess of its leaders7 co"ing out
<since 1565>. It !as t!e "eriod of t!e community$s transformation into t!e mo#ement.
The ending of Perestoia and colla&se of the *o+iet society surely ser+ed as the "ain social conte)t
in !hich all these e+ents ha+e ha&&ened. In 1565% the first &ublic /Association of *e)ual ?inorities0
established itself% and the first officially ad"itted <registered> s&eciali.ed ne!s&a&er a&&eared as !ell.
The unconditional colla&se of the ,**1 and t!o cou&s <failed in 1551 and successful in 1552>
follo!ed soon after. I argue that the first &eriod of the "o+e"ent7s de+elo&"ent has been finished% in
general% by 1559. =uring this &eriod in the country7s social and &olitical life% unusually high le+el of
&olitical &artici&ation and s&ontaneous e"ergence of "ass "o+e"ents !ere ty&ical <Einifter and
?icie!ic. 1552F Weigle and Butterfield 1552>
1
. At the sa"e ti"e% the deconstruction of &re-e)isting
social-&olitical syste" along !ith decline of the state econo"ic syste" led to harsh "ass
i"&o+erish"ent and disa&&oint"ent. The history of the "o+e"ent !as fra"ed by this
transfor"ation. The &eriod of social acti+ity !as follo!ed by a &eriod of e"barrass"ent and total
ano"ia <in =urhei"7s sense> that caused "ass retreats fro" any social acti+is". In the follo!ing%
s&eaing about /&ost-*o+iet0 1ussia% I "ean this e)tre"ely s&ecific &eriod in the life of the society.
The international L$BT co""unity should be considered another crucially i"&ortant conte)t.
Partici&ants in the 1ussian "o+e"ent could understand the"sel+es as &artici&ants in a !ider
co""unity. :bBecti+ely% the !hole "o+e"ent !as highly de&endent on donations and &ro"otion
1
It "aes no sense to "ention "any !ors about +arious as&ects of Perestroia social transfor"ation. It is easy to find
and access a huge nu"ber of !ors about Perestroia. I only !anted to highlight the conte)tual i"&ortance of the &eriod@
it !as genuinely uniAue ti"e@ so "any unusual things !ere &ossible neither se+eral years before nor se+eral years after it.
14
fro" abroad. *urely it !ould not ha+e been &ossible to reali.e "any of their educati+e and &olitical
acti+ities !ithout the international su&&ort. At the sa"e ti"e% the country% o&ened to the international
e)change and tra+els after a long &eriod of self-closure% attracted a lot of interest fro" abroad. After
the door !as o&ened% Euro&ean and A"erican acti+ists stri+ed to loo inside. The 1ussian
co""unity and acti+ists% re&resenting it in front of the &ublic eye% had to define the"sel+es in the
bigger international conte)t. I outline the role that the ne! infor"ation and financial &ossibilities%
&ro+ided by the international co""unity% both ha+e &layed in the designing of the "o+e"ent.
A social "o+e"ent usually &roclai"s its intention to achie+e certain social% &olitical and cultural
obBecti+es. To do it% the "o+e"ent should for" its infrastructure% consisting of organi.ations !ith
internal se&aration of res&onsibilities and <"ore or less> routinely &rofessionali.ed acti+ities. Besides%
+arious grou&s !ith +ague inner structure and loose "e"bershi& "ay share the "o+e"ent identity
and tae &art in it. Crucially i"&ortant is the relation bet!een the "o+e"ent and co""unity on the
basis of !hich all the acti+ities are gro!n u&. This relation is one of i"&ortant obBects in gay and
lesbian history studies. In his "ilestone studies in the history of A"erican $ay Liberation "o+e"ent%
Dohn =7E"ilio es&ecially e"&hasi.es that the gay and lesbian "o+e"ent cannot be understood
!ithout analysis of its relation !ith the co""unity it re&resents% although the co""unity often is not
so +isible <1556>. Lesbian and gay "en co""unities% to !hich the abbre+iation 0L$BT0 does not
al!ays fit% contributed into the gro! of collecti+e identity that later beco"e the indetitty of the &ublic
"o+e"ent <Ir+ine 1559>. In "y research I try to discern this relation bet!een &ublicly &roclai"ed
obBecti+es of the "o+e"ent7s acti+ities and &articular &ositions of the co""unity7s &artici&ants.
The social acti+ity of se)ual "inorities is a subBect for concei+ing it as a social "o+e"ent%
es&ecially in the /ne! social "o+e"ent0 &aradig" <Calhoun 1554>. They gi+e us a bright e)a"&le of
so-called /&olitics of identity.0 It "ay be argued that se)ual "inorities organi.ed in a social
"o+e"ent "ay &ro&ose as their clai"s "ore radical clai"s than %ust acno!ledge"ent of their life
style <Blasius 1552>. These social "o+e"ents +ary in their radicalis" and &referable &osition in
&oliticsF thus% the strategies they choose to "ae their &ublic i"age "ay be co"&ared according to
11
their attitude to the &olitical acti+ity <;lander"ans 1552>. At the sa"e ti"e% it "ay be argued that
/se)ual "inorities0 do not co"&ose a genuine subBect to for" an effecti+e &olitical "o+e"ent% at
least unless they ha+e strong su&&ort of a co""unity and stand for its "utual interests. /*e)uality0 is
not a &ro&er ite" for entering into &olitical field <*herrill 1559F Woods 155#>. I thin that in the case
of 1ussian "o+e"ent% these relations bet!een co""unities7 e)&ectations and the real results of the
acti+ists7 deals hel& to understand sha&ing and transfor"ation of the "o+e"ent identity.
The acti+ities of se)ual "inorities in 1ussia !ere studied by Laurie Essig. (er Queers in Russia.
T!e Study of Se&, Self and ot!er <1555> &ro+ides a theoretical fra"e!or for conce&tuali.ing the
uncertain set of non-nor"ati+e se)uality based acti+ities that beca"e &ossible after generl
liberali.ation of the society. *he argues that the acti+ities de+elo&ed by the first generation of acti+ists
since 1565 fade a!ay until "id-1554% !hile the s&ecific regi"e of &racticing the non-nor"ati+e
se)ualities !ithout necessity to disclose your /orientation0 ca"e instead. *he offers the ter" /Aueer0
to signify this regi"e% and co"&ares it !ith i"ages of /&ost-identity0 se)ual &olitics that "ay be
found in conte"&orary Aueer theory. ;e+in ?oss "entions that 1ussian se)ual "inorities7 situation%
on the contrary% "ust be understood as &re-/identity &olitics0 <155#% 2441>. (e argues that their
&ractices are based on social techniAues of closeting% &artial closeting and infor"al co""unication%
de+elo&ed by the &o&ulation in the *o+iet &eriod !hen &eo&le !ere to hide their &olitical +ie!s in a
!ay% that !as a "ode of /closeting0 <155#>. These techniAues ha+e not "iss their i"&ortance until
today <8arto+a 2444>. Thus% the 1ussian co""unity gi+es an e)a"&le of a relati#ely early stage of
mo#ement emergence% !hich !as already o+er in "any Western countries u& to 1564s. I agree !ith
?oss7s accentuation of the i"&ortance of national social culture and traditions of infor"al
coo&eration. Essig7s !or is the "ain theoretical and factual conte"&orary source on anthro&ology of
1ussian non-nor"ati+e se)uality.
:ther i"&ortant !ors are o+er+ie!s of Igor ;on <1554% 155#% 155'>. =ue to his uniAue e)&ertise
and acti+e &ublic &osition% he used to act as an ad+ocate and consultant for the e"erging co""unity%
thus his descri&tions of the se)ual "inorities7 &ublic acti+ity are +ery detailed and offer i"&ortant
12
facts. (o!e+er% the co""unity7s life before 1565% as !ell as +arious non-&olitical acti+ities of the
grou&s and organi.ations out of the ca&itals is not e)&lained there in desirable details. ;onGs !ritings
are not only e)tre"ely &o&ular in the co""unity% they also still ser+e as an authoritati+e source of
correct infor"ation about <ho"o>se)uality all o+er the country. *earching for the history of
ho"ose)uality on L$BT !eb-sites% one una+oidably co"es across scanned cha&ters of his boos.
Thus% these cha&ters% concise as they are% "ust be considered a /nor"al0 history of non-nor"ati+e
se)uality in the ,**1 and 1ussia. 8onetheless% this /history0 !as !ritten by Igor ;on as an organic
&art of his boos about the se)uality in 1ussia% so he got into details only then it !as necessary to
clarify the "ain ideas of his boos. =ue his o!n uniAue e)&erience as an e)&ert% he !as lucy to
de&end on his o!n i"&ressions of his /&artici&ant &artici&ation0 in the "o+e"ent for"ation.
An i"&ortant source for "y !or !as also *onya Eraneta7s collection of inter+ie! !ith gays%
lesbians and transse)uals fro" *iberian cities that sho! the life of the co""unity in &ro+ince <2444>.
It is see"ingly the first !or of this ind% &erfor"ed in a +ery e"&athic "anner% that gi+es chance to
loo into the life of gay "en and !o"en in big cities in 1ussia in 15'4-1564s. Mladi"ir ;irsano+7s
collection of biogra&hies hel&s to reconstruct se+eral less no!n acti+ities of the &eriod% hardly
"entioned in /nor"al0 ;on7s history <gay business% /gay art%0 &ublisher7s enter&rises> <244#>. =a+id
Tuller7s boo <1559> !ith his /included &artici&ant0 obser+ations of e+ents in ?osco! and
LeningradC*t. Petersburg /Aueer life0 include a nu"ber of i"&ortant details useful for reconstruction
both the life of co""unity in the &eriod before and right after decri"inali.ation of ho"ose)uality%
and of the "o+e"ent7s acti+ities. It &erfectly "atches Essig7s boo% for the authors s&oe about the
sa"e &eo&le at the sa"e &laces and at the sa"e ti"e% but the boo of Tuller gi+es a bright and
re"arable &icture in the "anner of /tra+elers7 diary0% !hile Essig &ro+ides also an anthro&ological
theoretical fra"e for the &icture.
(o!e+er% there is no de+elo&ed anthro&ological conce&tuali.ation of the e"ergence of se)ual
"inorities7 &ublic acti+ities in 1ussia yet. I &ro&ose to conce&tuali.e it fro" /social "o+e"ent0
theoretical &ers&ecti+e. In "y !or I concentrate on the analysis of historical facts and try to
12
construct a conce&t !hich !ould e)&lain the features of the "o+e"ent and dyna"ic of its inner
de+elo&"ent.
Meth!)!l!(, a$) %esea%&h )esi($
Although I !as not !riting an e)tensi+e history of the co""unity and ho! it ga+e birth to the
"o+e"ent% I had to reconstruct the chronology of e+ents and describe de+elo&"ent of certain
organi.ations chronologically. What I !anted to do !as to reconstruct intentions of the "o+e"ent7s
actors. ?y theoretical &resu"&tion !as that acti+ists !ho reali.ed <in their o!n !ays> needs and
interests of the co""unity% could not do anything else but "ae the "ost of situational o&tionsF thus%
I tried to reconstruct their o!n inter&retation of their beha+ior in that ti"e and ho! they had
a&&rehend their conditions. At the sa"e ti"e% the co""unity in general% as the o&erati+e conte)t of
their acti+ities% !as to be described as a co"&licated syste". There !ere three le+els of the analysis@
1> The /generali.ed0 history of the <underground> co""unity !hich as the basis of the "o+e"entF
2> transfor"ation of the sy"bolical syste" of re&resentation% that sho!s ho! the co""unity and
"o+e"ent !as sha&ed and resha&ed o+er ti"eF
2> indi+idual intentions of the acti+ists as they "ay be reconstructed on the basis of &resent-day
inter+ie!s and &ublications of that &eriod.
Thus% I tried to "ae a chronologically organi.ed reconstruction of the "o+e"ent7s e"ergence and
organi.ation follo!ing these three le+els si"ultaneously. As I could not reconstruct the !hole
history% I chose se+eral as&ects that !ould effecti+ely de"onstrate the s&ecificity of this /1ussian0
case. Although the !or is not designed as a /case-study%0 it includes considerations of so"e cases.
The "ain sources of /historical0 &art !or !ere &ublished historical descri&tions <Essig% ;irsano+%
;on% et al.>% and early lesbigay </tematic0> editions of that ti"e. The ongoing &rocess !as de&icted in
there. Prof. Igor ;on indly &ro+ided "e !ith "e his &ersonal collection of these editions% so I had a
uniAue o&&ortunity to !or !ith these uniAue "aterials. I also studied "aterials of ?osco! Archi+e
of Lesbians and $ays 0ALG1+ a &ri+ate collection of &ri"ary and secondary sources about the history
14
of the co""unity. Besides using of the gay and lesbian &ress as a <narrati+e> historical source% I "ade
content analysis studying their usage of different ter"s for the se)ual "inorities7 co""unity.
The field!or consisted of inter+ie!s !ith the "o+e"ent7s &artici&ants of different ages. Because
of the conditions of "y tra+el grant% recei+ed fro" CE, $ender *tudies =e&art"ent for this
field!or% and ti"e li"itations% I concentrated on the inter+ie!s in the t!o "ain centers of the se)ual
"inorities7 co""unity in 1ussia@ ?osco! and *t. Petersburg. I ho&e that results acAuired by
field!or e+en on such constrained field "ay be a&&lied to the co""unity and history in the !hole
country.
In "y search for the res&ondents I !as interested &ri"arily in inter+ie!s !ith the acti+e
&artici&ants% organi.ers of grou&s and organi.ations. In general% I "ade 12 in-de&th se"i-structured
inter+ie!s. Conducting the inter+ie!s I tried to &ro+ide "y res&ondents an o&&ortunity to tell "e
their stories as they could re-"e"ber and re-construct the" no!. Thus% the first &art of the inter+ie!
consisted of their self-&resentation. The second &art of the inter+ie! !as grounded on a unifor"
Auestionnaire that I had constructed after "y &reli"inary readings. It co+ered the follo!ing to&ics@
1> &referable categories to na"e the co""unity and &ersons !ith no-nor"ati+e se)ualityF 2>
i"&ortant chronological dates% 2 > the condition of the co""unity before the e"ergence of the first
&ublic organisations about 1565 R if the res&ondent ne! at least anything about itF 4> &ersonal story
of /co"ing out0 and entrance into the co""unity <this to&ic often !as the first one to discuss>% #>
condition and characteristic features of the co""unity in early 1554s% its structure% relations bet!een
the organisations and their leaders% 9> history of the &articular organisations and grou&s the &erson
belonged to !ith accent on the intra-organi.ational dyna"ics and the results of their acti+ities% '> the
ty&ical cultural features of the co""unity<s> R boos% songs etc.% relation to sy"bols and signs of
/global L$BT co""unity0% 6> social conte)t of their acti+ities and their inter&retation of "ain
&olitical and social trends in the society of that ti"eF 5> ideology of the "o+e"ent% !ho and ho!
discussed it and ho! the interests and ai"s of the "o+e"ent <could be> defined% 14> relations !ith
grant gi+ers and strategies of financial su&&ort% 11> <other> leaders% &ersonal relations !ith the"% and
1#
<retros&ecti+e> esti"ation of their acti+ities. I also "ade se+eral short e)changes !ith other
&artici&ants of the co""unity. Where !ere 2 &ersons to ser+e as e&"erts@ &rof. Igor7 ;on and
8ade.hda 8arto+a !ho !as an o&en lesbian and studied the co""unity as an anthro&ologist alie.
All res&ondents beside t!o had higher degrees% and belonged to three generations of the co""unity.
The a+erage length of the inter+ie!s !as 2% # -2 hours% e)ce&t for ;rau.e7s inter+ie! !hich !as
longer. 8ot all inter+ie!s !ere &ossible to record <three inter+ie!ees ased "e not to do it>. I also
"ade notes. All recorded inter+ie!s !ere transcribed by "yself. I also "ade follo!-u& Auestions by
e-"ail. This !ay of co""unication needed "ore ti"e than I actually had and se+eral acti+ists I
needed to contact !ere% &erha&s% too busy !ith &re&aration for the $ay Pride <it had to tae &lace in
Dune%2'> to ee& in regular contact.
As far as I !as not intended to co"&lete a genuine history of L$BT co""unity before and in the
ti"e of Perestroia% but tried only to gras& its "ain features% "eaningful in the fra"e!or of "y
research% I did not try to "eet and inter+ie! all re"arable &artici&ants of the e+ents. I s&oe neither
!ith Eugenia =ebryansaya nor !ith% say% ="itry Lyche+. :f course% it !ould undoubtedly "ae
sense to collect "ore inter+ie!s. (o!e+er% I thin that they !ould only add details to the story !hich
"ain line I ho&e I gras& correctly.
Po&ular in this ind of research% /sno!ball "ethod0 !as used for sa"&ling and search for
inter+ie!ees. A &reli"inary co""unication by e-"ail !as +ery effecti+e. In ?osco!% I "ade se+eral
inter+ie!s !ith lesbian !o"en fro" the circle of AL$. The acti+ists I s&oe !ith% being /&ublic
figures0 agreed !ith "entioning of their na"es <t!o of the had regular nicna"es and !ere
"entioned here by these nicna"es>F in se+eral cases the res&ondents did not !ant to be "entioned
by their full na"es% so I used only first na"es in "y te)t. The list of the inter+ie!ees is in the
A&&endi).
19
#ha-te% 23 H!m!se4'alit, i$ the S!viet U$i!$ e"!%e its )e-&%imi$ali5ati!$
/, nas sesa netO0 <We ha+e no se)O>
A notorious "ost'so#iet %o(e
S!me %ema%ks a!'t 6se4'alit,7 i$ the S!viet U$i!$
*ociocultural status of ho"ose)ual &ractices and intentions a"ong its citi.ens is affected by the
!hole syste"s of ideas held in the society about se)uality and its /&ro&er0 and /i"&ro&er0 for"s.
Therefore% it is necessary to sur+ey the status of se)uality in the society in the &eriod before the
legali.ation of ho"ose)uality in order to understand the broader socio-cultural conte)t% !here
ho"ose)uals had to reali.e their identity and in+ented organi.ing the"sel+es.
In this section% I outline the "ain features of the regi"e of se)uality established in the *o+iet
society. It is i"&ortant to study the" before looing at the s&ecificity of the /1ussian0 case of
introduction of non-nor"ati+e se)uality in the &ublic life of the society.
In ter"s of se)uality regi"e in the *o+iet ,nion% one should "ention three features% i"&ortant for
dra!ing the bacground of this research@
1> The state o&enly tried to &ut the !hole run of &ri+ate life of its citi.ens under control% and
succeeded in doing it to a high degree. =efinitely% se)uality !as under sus&ect as an i"&ortant as&ect
if indi+idual7s life% that !as hard for officials to control <(ealey 2441% ;on 155#F Hdra+o"yslo+a
2441>. :f course% any &ublic e)&ressions nd e+en "entions of it !ere &rohibited <;on sarcastically
&ro+ides surrealistic e)a"&les of this social control>% and e+en inti"ate "atters !ere &roclai"ed to be
a legiti"ate site of &arty care for the citi.ens.
2
Igor ;on conce&tuali.ed this relation to se)uality as an
2
In 1ussian discussion of this to&ic% song /1ed Triangle0 by the se"i-underground singer of that ti"e% Ale)ander $alich%
is being often "entioned. The song told ho! a !o"an !rote a re&ort about her husband7s infidelity to their factory7s
Trade-,nion and Party co""ittee. The husband7s beha+ior !as &ublicly discussed in the Co""unist7s "eeting <he had to
1'
atte"&t to build u& /se&less ci#ili)ation0 !here not only e)&ressions of se)uality as a &art of hu"an
e+eryday life% but also any hints to it !ere e)cluded fro" &ublic <;on 155'>. 8o /no!ledge0 about
ho"ose)uality !as tolerable under that condition.
The cri"inali.ation of ho"ose)uality% co"bined !ith its "edicali.ation% functioned effecti+ely as a
truly effecti+e tool to erase it fro" the citi.ens7 "inds <$essen 1554>. This regi"e of total /closeting0
of ho"ose)uality "ay be co"&ared to Western societies before the /se)ual re+olution0F ho!e+er%
1ussian society ne+er had such strict &rohibition of ho"ose)uality before the "iddle of 24 Century
neither by la! nor in &ublic o&inion <(ealey 2441% ;on% 1556>. The ,**1 allegedly had the biggest
&rison &o&ulation in the !orld% and huge nu"ber of "en !ere actually in+ol+ed in ho"ose)ual acts
!hile their i"&rison"ent <;on 155'F ;o.lo+sy 1569> I"&risoned ho"ose)uals !ere stig"ati.ed
and hu"iliated% forced to sur+i+e in inhu"an conditions.
2> Any infor"ation and no!ledge about se)uality !as e)cluded fro" "edia and literature. :r%
should I rather say% the state did e+erything it could /to de-se)ualise0 art and "eida. <ConseAuently%
terrifying "yths had a fertile ground to gro!. ?any stories of gay and lesbian self-understanding of
that &eriod include e&isodes of &urifying their self-identity fro" these "yths>. Although the
authorities ne+er could sto& circulation of no!ledge about these "atters and <illegal> distribution of
se)uality-related "aterials al!ays continued% &eo&le often had no rational, science'based no!ledge
about se)uality. This circu"stance e+en had been considered a social &roble" by s&ecialists in
sociology of fa"ily% because it influenced relations in fa"ilies and bet!een adults and children
<$olod 1559>. In the 15'4s% in the &eriod of late socialis" </*re)!ne#ism+>% a slight "o+e"ent to
discuss such "atters could be detected but it !as not sufficient enough to transfor" the regi"e of
/se)less ci+ili.ation0.
2> 8e+ertheless% the country7s &o&ulation could not a+oid se)ual life. It !as sho!n that the history
of se)uality in the *o+iet ,nion ca"e through basically the sa"e &eriods as /Westerner7s0 se)uality
did <;on 2442% 1otirch 2442>. Anna 1otirch% for e)a"&le% discerned three generations in the *o+iet
detali.e the case ans!ering Auestions>% after !hich he !as &ublicly re&ri"anded and instructed to /beha+e hi"self.0
16
&o&ulation% gradually "o+ing fro" condition of /constrained and o&&ressed se)uality0 to "ore free
and /e)&erienced0 se)ualityF this generational transfor"ation "ay be co"&ared !ith si"ultaneous
transfor"ations of attitude to se)uality in other Euro&ean societies% as she had sho!n by her
co"&arison !ith Einnish society <2444>. ;on <2442> suggested that 1ussian society under!ent the
sa"e dee& transfor"ation of relation to se)uality% that beca"e conce&tuali.ed in the West as the
/se)ual re+olution0% but under the conditions of s&ecific discursi+e regi"e of *o+iet society% this
re+olution beca"e a ind of /stalled0 one <to borro! an a&t e)&ression of Arlie (ochschild <1565>>.
To the end of the *o+iet &eriod the citi.ens of the country already !ere not /dese)uali.ed%0 and the
state already could not control their inti"ate life as effecti+ely as it had tried to do it decades before.
But the /regi"e of solitude0 !as still enforced. =istribution of se)uality-related "aterials !as still
illegalF but u& to that ti"e% a !ell-"aintained and co"&licated syste" of &roduction and distribution
of +arious self-"ade &rinted issues <sami)dat> !as established in the country% and it !ould not be
!rong to say that se)uality-related "aterials !ere &roduced and distributed the sa"e !ay <Tuller
1556% &. 64>. Besides illegal &ornogra&hy% these issues had to include +arious self-"ade translations
of foreign se)ual "anuals and erotic literature. /*a"i.dat0 acti+ists had connections !ith Western
&ublishers and Bournalists. The sa"e "ust be said about ho"ose)uality-related issues. Eor e)a"&le%
!hile the Leningrad gay &oet and !riter $ennady Trifono+ !as i"&risoned in 15'9% his +erses !ere
&ublished abroad but ne+er in the ,**1 <$ay% sla+ianeO 1552% &&. 21-2'>.
We can su""ari.e that until the 1564s there !as a &al&able contradiction bet!een the real state of
affairs !ith a se)ual life that lead to strong social de"and for no!ledge about se)uality% and its
/officially a&&ro+ed0 non-e)istence. The lac of such no!ledge !as recogni.ed as a feature of the
general regime of (noledge established in the country. This regi"e !as Bu)ta&osed !ith &resu"ed
/Western0 o&enness and freedo". $orbache+7s Perestroia% had% as one of its "ain "ottos% a stri+e
for GlasnostS. Besides other "eanings <1e"ington 1565>% this "otto i"&lied freedo" of s&eech and
freedo" of the &ress@ for /erotic "aterials0% of course% too. ?asha $essen sho!ed ho! this freedo"
had been Auicly utili.ed by <"ainly young> &ublishers and Bournalists in the country <155#>. The
15
e)tre"ely fast de+elo&"ent of /se)ing "edia0% as she called it% !as caused by the long &eriod of its
absence in the state-controlled "edia. This &rocess of /se)ing "edia0 ga+e a significant ad+antage to
e"erging gay and lesbian &ress.
It !as the state cri"inali.ation of ho"ose)uality that "ade its history in the *o+iet ,nion so
&ainful and% at the sa"e ti"e uniAue a"ong other national cases. The cri"inali.ation follo!ed a
&eriod of e"anci&ation and si"&lification of fa"ily relations in the ,**1 in 1524s. The
cri"inali.ation of ho"ose)ual relations !as a &o!erful tool in the general trend of &utting all the
&ri+ate life of *o+iet citi.ens under the state control <Edge 155#F $essen 1554<rus>% &.9F (ealey
2441>. The la!% officially &ublished as /t!e ,a of - Marc! ./010% &layed a crucial role in the
history of ho"ose)uality in 1ussia. 8ote% that the la! !as a&&ro+ed by *talin in the sa"e day !hen
8a.i too &o!er in $er"any< so"e authors doubt it !as a "ere coincidence
2
>. An act of ho"ose)ual
intercourse led to four or fi+e years of i"&rison"ent. This la! effecti+ely introduced the idea of
ho"ose)uality as a cri"e into "ass consciousness. (o"ose)uals ne! that their acti+ity !as
unla!ful% and this no!ledge often &re+ented the" fro" engaging any acti+ity to see &rotection of
their rights as citi.ens and hu"ans. 8aturally enough% the decri"inali.ation of ho"ose)uality beca"e
the first and "ain de"and of the self-constituting gay and lesbian "o+e"ent in the late Perestroia
&eriod.
It is not no!n u& till no!% ho! "any &eo&le !ere factually sentenced by this la!. These data
!ould hel& to esti"ate distribution and features of ho"ose)ual &ractices in the ,**1% but there are
se+eral obstacles in such an in+estigation. Eirstly% ho"ose)ual "en often !ere not i"&risoned but
blac"ailed and thereby forced to coo&eration by ;$B. 2omitet <the co""ittee3 syste"atically
collected infor"ation about ho"ose)uals. ?any ho"ose)ual "en could stay free only if they agreed
to !or for !ith the ;$B. They !ere forced to !or as secret infor"ers% &ro+ocateurs etc. <$essen
1554% &. 16-24F ;o.lo+sy 1569% &.1##-1#9F *cherbao+ 1552>. Thus% although they truly suffered
fro" the state% they !ere not taen into account in any statistics. *econdly% this /obscene article0 !as
2
*o"e Bournalists !rote it !as ?a)i" $ory !ho once had ad+iced *talin to "ae se)ual relations a"ong "en illegal.
They e)&lain it an indirect hint against 8a.is !ho" $ory considered /ho"ose)uals0.
24
so"eti"es used against &olitical dissidents to !orsen their /guilt0 and "ae their situation in the
&rison "uch "ore se+ere. Thirdly% as &rof. Ale)ei Ignato+ es&ecially used to &oint out% there !ere
"any "ore cri"es because of this article than under this article <blac"ailing% slander% e)tortion>.
:ne s&ecialist in 1ussian cri"inality !rote that the a+erage nu"ber of "en sentenced according to
the article !as about 4.1T of all the &risoners that !ould "ean about a thousand e+ery year. <cited in@
$essen 1554<eng> &. 14>. After eli"ination of the la! at 25 A&ril 1552% about t!o hundred of &eo&le
accused of /sodo"y0 !ere in Bail% a"ong the" '2 !ho !ere there e)clusi+ely because of this cri"e
<$essen 1554<rus> &. 22>. :ne of *onya Eraneta7s res&ondents described her a "ilitia7s /o&eration0
against ho"ose)uals that too &lace in *iberian cities as late as in 1569 !hen "ore than 124 "en
!ere i"&risoned. <Eraneta 2444% &. 95>.
According to =an (ealey <2441>% not less that 29 thousands had been accused of ho"ose)uality
and i"&risoned since 1524 till 1552. (o!e+er% he ad"its that the accounting is only a&&ro)i"ate.
The real nu"ber "ust be higher% es&ecially taing into consideration the 1524s. E+en !ithout
counting the &recise nu"ber arrested under it% one can easily see that this la! ob+iously !as a big
danger for *o+iet ho"ose)uals. It "ade any &ublic "o+e"ent of ho"ose)uals absolutely i"&ossible
until the +ery colla&se of the *o+iet syste" <but e+en the first &ublic% /o&en0 gay acti+ists began their
acti+ity under &seudony"s% because they had to care for this danger to be &rosecuted <inter+ie! !ith
:rtano+>>. The la! &ined the ideological connection bet!een /ho"ose)uality0 and /cri"e0 in the
"ass consciousness.
At the sa"e ti"e% this co""on danger unified &eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality and &roduced
the feeling of affinity and solidarity bet!een &eo&le !ith ho"oerotic intentions. It !as an i"&ortant
factor for de+elo&"ent of the co""unity. Coo"unity "e"bers of older generation s&oe and !rite
about i"&ortance of infor"al hel& to each other. /4ur0 &eo&le <nas!i lyudi>% as they referred to
the"sel+es <loo the cha&ter 2> !ere to hel& /our0 &eo&le. A certain e)&erience in a+oiding the
&rosecution certainly !as attenti+ely analy.ed and accu"ulated% at least by /influential0 &ersons in
the co""unity. Eor e)a"&le% Ale)ander ;uharsy describes different !ays of beha+ior at "ilitia
21
and interrogation. (e es&ecially studied the &rocedure and la!s to be able to consult "en !ho needed
that ind of hel&. (e reco""ended different strategies for different &eo&le in the early 1564s% and
studied the Penal Code es&ecially for this ai".
This infor"al net!or of /our &eo&le0 !as sustained by the &er"anent threat of &rosecution. These
connections did not disa&&ear after the eli"ination of the la!@ "y res&ondents "entioned relations
!ith the /our &eo&le0 in &resent ti"es as set of &eo&le they can call on in case of urgency. In the late
Perestroia era% the first official organi.ations of ho"ose)uals !ere organi.ed by s"all grou&s of
&eo&le !ho intensi+ely used these infor"al net!or channels to find allies.
Thus% the e)&erience of dealing !ith the la! and the security ser+ice !as accu"ulated in the
co""unity under &ressure of this constant danger. This e)&erience ob+iously !as used in the
de+elo&"ent of grou& and indi+idual tactics of being a ho"ose)ual in an intolerant en+iron"ent that
!as Bust one &articular e)a"&le of /double life0 techniAues. According to ;e+in ?oss <2442>% in such
a highly &olitici.ed society as *o+iet society% the citi.ens !ere trained to ha+e a double life% !hat
should be defined as the /underground closet.0 The sa"e indi+idual social techniAues !ere a&&lied to
hide unorthodo) &olitical +ie!s and non-nor"ati+e se)uality alie. Perha&s% it !ould e+en "ae sense to
s&ea about /closeting0 as a uni+ersal social and co""unicati+e techniAue% +itally i"&ortant for +ast
"aBority of adult &o&ulation of this ty&e of society.
To su""ari.e this% I suggest that the !ell-no!n &rohibition of "ale ho"ose)uality% acco"&anied
by consistent "edicali.ation of fe"ale ho"ose)uality as a dangerous &athology% &layed an
a"biguous role in its history in 1ussia. It destroyed li+es of thousands of &eo&le% yet forced the" to
understand their unity "ean!hile. 1ussian se)ual "inorities% being an o&&ressed social grou&%
established a subculture% !hich effecti+ely !ould /ca"e out0 in Perestroia ti"e. Thus% the state
o&&ression !as a factor of creation of the subculture.
As "any conte"&orary society% 1ussian is definitely ho"o&hobic one. ?oreo+er% e+idence if a slight
de+elo&"ent of this attitude is a+ailable
4
<Baraban 2442>. Although since /co"ing out0 of ho"ose)uality
4
(elena :"el7cheno <2442> &ro+ides an e)cellent e)&lanation of anthro&ological fra"e!or for studies of ongoing
ho"o&hobia in 1ussian youngster7s co""unities.
22
t!enty years ago% sociological sur+eys ha+e used to dis&lay gradual gro!th of tolerance to the se)ual
"inorities% the society is still ho"o&hobic% and the "ass su&&ort for &rohibition of $ay Pride in ?osco!
<Haya+lenie 244'> is a sign of this state of things. Brian Baer discerns s&ecific for" of ho"o&hobia% that
he considers an unusual feature of 1ussian fol conce&tion of ho"ose)uality@
1ussians a&&ear to recogni.e t!o sources of
ho"ose)uality@ biology and culture. And so% it is not unco""on then to
see &leas for tolerance <of natural ho"ose)uality> side-by-side !ith
i"&assionated against ho"ose)uality &ercei+ed as unnatural trend% foreign
borro!ing% cultural aberration. U"any 1ussian !riters% co""entators%
and e+en doctors today ty&ically recogni.e biological and cultural sources
of ho"ose)uality. It7s a sur&risingly &o&ular duality <Baer 2446% &. #>.
This obser+ation is not so tri+ial% as far as the idea of necessity to find an effecti+e criteria to se&arate
GtrueG ho"ose)uals fro" Gs&oiledG <!ho !ould stay heterose)ual% if the &ro&aganda orVand ceduction !onGt
"islead the"> &er"eates e+eryday discussion o+er this to&ic < here I can refer to "y o!n /cultural
e)&erience0>
#
. I thin it hel&s to reali.e !hy the idea of &ublic celebrating of non-nor"ati+e se)uality
<!hat is% of /gay R&rides0> hardly finds !ide su&&ort in the society. 1ussians /are not ho"ose)uals%0 they
dislie /the culture of ho"ose)uality0 because it "ay distort the se)ual desire of /nor"al0 &ersons. I !ill
not go further into discussion if this &osition% &artly because it is ob+ious% &artly because I "ust &roceed to
"y "ain to&ics.
H!m!se4'al &!mm'$it, i$ the USSR i$ late S!viet U$i!$
Long before its /e"ergence in the &ublic discourse0 in 1565% ho"ose)ual "en and !o"en surely
did e)ist in the *o+iet ,nion. (o"ose)uality and ho"oeroticis" certainly has a long history in
1ussian society <as% for e)a"&le% &rof. *i"on ;arlinsy has in+estigated it in nu"erous &ublications>.
There !ere e+en "ore or less successful atte"&ts to theori.e the &heno"enon <1o.ano+ 1511>. E+en
under the threat of &rosecution% ho"ose)uals "anaged so"eho! to get no! &eo&le /of their ind0
#
Although the author traces the idea bac to Massily 1o.ano+7s &ioneering research of &sychology and esthetics of
ho"ose)uality <1511>% I cannot agree !ith this reconstruction. This !or of 1o.ano+% !hich !as a &art of his studies in
the &sychology of religion% ne+er !ould beco"e his "ost read and &o&ular boo% thus its influence could not be so strong.
The genealogy of this idea ass for "ore dee& in+estigation.
22
and created a +ogue net of social contacts. Life of the net !as% of course% closed fro" the eyes of the
authority.
The nation-!ide /co""unity0 I s&ea about consisted of "any s"all grou&s as !ell as indi+iduals%
often ha+ing no infor"ation about each other or connected only by &ersonal acAuaintance bet!een
/old0 &artici&ants of the grou&s. ?any s"all co""unities !ere established by socially acti+e
&ersons% thus those !ho Boint he" !ere &eo&le fro" their e+eryday en+iron"ent
9
. The +ery usage of
the !ord /co""unity0 in relation to *o+iet ho"ose)uals !ould not be adeAuate enough because it
i"&lies a certain a"ount of solidarity bet!een "e"bers of a co""unityF nonetheless% as I said abo+e%
I ha+e no better !ord. Ero" the researcher7s &oint of +ie!% it is i"&ortant to distinguish bet!een the
co""unity and the outer en+iron"ent in a "ore or less consistent !ay. Therefore% it is "ore correct
to thin about ho"ose)uals in the *o+iet ,nion as an indefinite netor( of "eo"le, unified only by
their hidden se)ual &references <one could not allo! herself or hi"self to be no!n as a ho"ose)ual
to his en+iron"ent% e+en being !ell-no!n to local ho"ose)uals>. A definition of the Gco""unityG%
used by Chris Woods in his analysis of Britain gay life% "ay find its aa&lication here@ /Wthe
co""unity is a set ofX series of co""unal identities based on +arious ele"ents <such as gender% se)
&reference% geogra&hic location% "usical taste or class> !hich coincide in +arying degrees under the
nebulous label of Gho"ose)ualityG0 <Woods 155#>. These &eo&le should not necessarily thin about
the"sel+es that they &ersonally belong to /a co""unity%0 but they feel affinities !ith &eo&le of a
certain indF they all are also i""ediately interested in the s&ecial infrastructure for &articular
&ractices.
In the follo!ing% I "ae a setched outline of infrastructure of this hidden co""unity as it
see"ingly !as sha&ed to the end of 1564s. The biggest cities of the country and its regional centers
already had infor"al gay and lesbian infrastructure R a set of s&ecial "eeting and cruising &laces
<usually called /"les!(as0% YZ[\]^ R the !ord is no!n to all "e"bers of the co""unity% although
its ety"ology is unclear <;o.lo+sy 1569>>. Certain urban sites% lie cafJs and &ublic toilets !ere also
9
Eor e)a"&le% :lga ;rau.e told about se+eral lesbian grou&s that consisted of !o"en !ho !ere e"&loyed and resided
together. These !o"en "et together regularly% and they still do it no! !ithout any need to coo&erate !ith other grou&s.
24
a&&ro&riated by the co""unity as "eeting &laces. A hidden syste" of infor"al co""unication
e"erged as !ell.
The sy"bolical centers of the local urban co""unities7 infrastructures !ere cruising sites R
"les!(as. E+en the oldest "e"bers of the co""unity did not no! for sure ho! the "les!(as
a&&eared. These &laces are e)cessi+ely described in the gay follore that dates bac to 15'4ties. In
?osco! The "ain cruising &laces !ere a big sAuare in front of the Bolshoi Theatre
'
<according to
legends% this _Aueered_ &lace !as no!n as cruising site already in the beginning of the 24th Century
<Lyche+ 1552>>% and "e"orial sAuare near ;itai-gorod "etro station. In Leningrad ho"ose)uals "et
in the fa"ous /Catherine7s garden0 in 8e+sy &ros&ect
.
. In 8o+osibirs% cruising &laces !ere
Per+o"aBsy &ar <along !ith cafJ /*&utni0> <Eraneta 2444% &. 124>.
In ?osco!% ho"ose)uals "et in fa"ous cafJs Artistic!es(oe and Sad(o. ="itry Lyche+ !rote that
there !ere gays in the staff of the cafJ% !ho used to in+ite their friends% and gradually the !hole cafJ
!as a&&ro&riated by gays. Laurie Essig calls Sad(o /the only &ublic shelter in !hich Aueers could
gatherU so"eho! the &lace !as /no!n%0 not only a"ong those !ho gathered there but a"ong
"any in ?osco!7s nonAueer &o&ulation as !ell0 <Essig 1555% &. 64>. $oing to a ne! to!n% a
ho"ose)ual could easily acAuire infor"ation about /&leshas0 and got there &ossibility to find
co"&any% lodging and se)ual distractions. In big cities there could be se+eral cruising &laces and
&ersons !ho regularly sho!ed the"sel+es u& at one &lace could ha+e only uncertain no!ledge about
other &laces. Eor e)a"&le% ;rau.e "entions /tra" &ar /;onyashino%0 R a "unici&al trans&ortation
enter&rise% !here !ere "any lesbians as !ell a fe"ale transse)uals e"&loyed. *o"e of the" surely
!ere influenced in their se)ual beha+ior scenarios by &rison e)&erience. They had a traditionally
"asculine Bob therefore certain "asculini.ation !as /allo!ed0 to the". This co""unity of !oring
class !o"en did not ha+e connections !ith grou&s of !o"en interested in ho"oerotics but belonged
to u&&er classes.
'
:n the co+er of her /`ueers in 1ussia0 <1555>% Laurie Essig is de&icted as a "an in drag standing on this &laceF ?oss
ironically "entions this gesture of de"onstrating true national !ay to beha+e in a Aueer !ay <?oss% 2441>.
2#
There !as a struggle for sy"bolic leadershi& in the co""unity. Mladi"ir ;o.lo+sy7s infor"ants
&ro+ided hi" !ith detailed descri&tions of inter&ersonal relations at "les!(a% e"&hasi.ing inter-
generational e)change and contradictions. It is !orth "entioning that Mladi"ir ;o.lo+sy7s
dictionary includes the critical re"ar of an anony"ous ho"ose)ual% !ho se+erely critici.ed the
dictionary% because it !as filled !ith !ords &roduced by a considerably s"all co"&any of aesthetes
!ho tried to &resent the"sel+es as an intellectual centre of the /&lesha co""unity0 <;o.lo+sy%
1569% &. '#>. The leaders !ere necessary to gather the /our &eo&le0 togetherF in fact their figures !ere
a necessary ele"ent of fi)ing the subculture style and s&irit. In Barnaul gay cafJ% as a local
co""unity7s &artici&ant describes it%
/Uthis society has its stars% and the rest hung around the". It ha&&ened often that is so"e
of the /soul of the society0 did not co"e the circle Bust left the &lace saying 0I see nobody
ca"e today0% although there !as a considerable nu"ber of &eo&le0 <La.are+% 1552>.
To su""ari.e% the &leshas along !ith nude beaches% aafJs and <of course> certain &ublic toilets
!ere the &ri"ary city infrastructure of ho"ose)ual co""unity in that &eriod% locali.ed in the urban
and suburban s&aceF not al!ays recogni.able for an outsider% the infrastructure e)isted as a set of sites
for &articular &ractices <co"&arably to the si"ilar infrastructure in 8e! Por% as =eirdre Conlon
described <2444>>. This infrastructure "ade for the &ractices hel&s the co""unity sur+i+e% sustains it.
These &ractices are re&roduced in certain sites and these sites recei+e additional cultural and social
"eaning thereby <Bro!n 2444% Conlon 2444>. ?ore so&histicated sociali.ing !as &ossible in
co"&anies !ere hosted by &eo&le ha+ing se&arate a&art"ent <not e+ery citi.en could enBoy it in that
ti"e>F these co"&anies !ere "ore or less e)clusi+e. :ther &arts of the infrastructure !ere net!ors
of infor"ation e)change +ia /their0 &eo&le% distribution of literature and +isual "aterials <there !ere
collections of erotic "aterials gathered by leaders% for e)a"&le% Alesandr ;uharsy had such
collection% at least &artially consisting fro" &ictures "ade by hi"self>. Collections of +arious articles%
&ictures% and other resources about ho"ose)uality and related to&ics <true libraries% in fact> !ere
collected by enthusiasts <on the basis of such &ri+ate collection% AL$ !as later established>. After
1554% the first s&eciali.ed editions used these collections for co"&leting their content <inter+ie! !ith
29
:rtano+>
6
. As soon as it beca"e &ossible% Western organi.ations used to send their editions for these
collections% +ery often R for free.
Besides% se"i-underground ho"oerotic art e)isted. Eugene ;haritono+
5
<1541-1561> and $ennady
Trifono+ !ere considered the "ost &ro"inent gay &oets% but they !ere the "ost distinguished but
certainly not the only !riters and &oets% celebrating ho"oerotics. *i"ultaneously ho"ose)ual the"es
a&&eared in !ors of !riters !ho did not belong to the co""unity <Mishne+sy 1556>. ?usician and
&oet :lga ;rau.e !ould re"e"ber trans+estite ho"e-staged sho!s in ?osco!. *tories and &oe"s%
&ublished in gay and lesbian "edia soon after their e"ergence% so"eti"es are dated bac to the
15'4s. The audience !as not o&en e)clusi+ely for /se)ual "inorities0% and she considered it as a big
ad+antage of that actions.
=e+elo&ed as it !as% the infrastructure could not effecti+ely e)clude /our &eo&le0 fro" hostile
en+iron"ent. All these acti+ities !ere "ore or less illegal or &aralegal. (o!e+er% its e)istence
signifies that there !as a ind of ho"ose)ual subculture% and e+en if these grou&s did not constitute a
bigger co""unity% that could not sur+i+e !ithout solidarity and infor"ation circulation. Therefore%
the later acti+ities of the first L$BT organi.ations !ere grounded on these &re+iously e)isting
net!ors and s"aller co""unities and the agendas of these acti+ists !ere articulated before their
official e"ergence. The acti+ists tried to &olitici.e the co""unity and to create a "ore consistent
&olitical body
14
.
Ples!(as !ere s&ecial sites !here one could "eet a "ate <fulfilling infor"ational and sociali.ing
function>% &artici&ate in collecti+e cultural &ractices <fulfilling sociali.ing function>% and !ere%
factually% tiny se&arated s&aces inside of urban en+iron"ent !here socially unacce&ted <and e+en
&rohibited in general> &ractices !ere tolerated by the en+iron"ent. *y"bolically% "les!(as could not
6
As Mladisla+ :rtano+ e)&lained to "e% al"ost e+ery for"ali.ed <institutionally> grou& of later &eriod had a collection of
luterature on ho"ose)uality along !ith AI=*-related "aterials.
5
;haritono+ E. Under 5ouse Arrest C transl. by Arch Tait. L@ *er&ent7s Tail% 1556.
14
These atte"&ts failed% as I !ould sho! belo!. :ne should consider the on-going e+ents around gay-&rides in ?osco!
and *t. Petersburg% organi.ed by a ne! generation of gay &olitical entre&reneurs <Yb[cYb^d^efg[Z[h> <as 8. 8arto+a
defines the" in sociological ter"s>% the second !a+e of &olitici.ation of ho"ose)uality in 1ussia. (o!e+er% this self-
establish"ent of gay and lesbian identity &olitics no!adays% fifteen years after the first !a+e% taes &lace in sufficiently
different en+iron"ent% !ith o&en state su&&ort of ho"o&hobia.
2'
hel& but ghettoi.ed ho"ose)uals. 8o!adays% "les!(as ha+e lost their i"&ortance significantly after
the legali.ation of ho"ose)ual acti+ities and de+elo&"ent of Internet% although they still e)ist. The
"aBority ha+e shifted to s&eciali.ed clubs and discos. Cruising &laces - o&en-air &laces in the central
&arts of to!n and cities continue their e)istence but they do not ha+e the "eaning of uniAue loci for
s&ecial /Aueer0 acti+ities. Pounger re&resentati+es of the subculture% s&eaing about conte"&orary
gay and lesbian co""unity% !ould refer to clubs and /discos0. I thin no!adays the co""unity does
not need to ha+e such a central and stable &lace for "eeting and sociali.ing because a 1ussian city7s
do!nto!n &ublic &laces together !ith s&ecial !eb-sites &erfectly fulfill these functions.
According to =ic (ebdige <15'5>% subcultures are &roduced by subordinate grou&s. They
challenge the o+erarching do"inance by &roducing their o!n grou& culture. They "ae their o!n set
of sy"bols and re"arable &atterns of beha+ior R the /style0 of the subculture <for sa"&les.% -
$olubaya ;niga 2444>. Looing fro" this side% one can consider the set of ho"ose)uals7 co""unities
in late-socialist 1ussia a subculture% at least as far as it had the recogni.able culture style.
:ne of s&ecific features of the style !as surely its s&ecial language.
Besides slang% a s&ecific subcultural s&eech &ractice de+elo&ed in it as late as "id-15'4s. A
s&ecific "anner of s&eaing and co""unicating has e"erged a"ong "e"bers of the ho"ose)ual
co""unity% called /(!abal$st#o0 <ijfkfZlagmnoF the +erb R jfkfZ^gl% /(!abalit$0>. As far as I could
figure it out% /habal7st+o0 !ould i"&ly an o+ert e)&ression of se)ual arousal% and interest% Boes
about /&er+ersion0% and a co"&licated &lay !ith gendered e)&ressions in language.
/;habal7st+o0 as a ind of s&eech &ractice !as used in s&ecial &laces% a"ong 0the"atic &eo&le0 N
at 0&leshas%0 s&ecial &arties% at social gatherings. Its function !as to create the s&ecial closed s&ace
that sustains the regi"e of se)ual relations used in the co""unities. I !ould consider /habal7st+o0
an i"&ortant &art of subculture syste" of cultural &atterns@ the ca&acity to s&ea and co""unicate in
this "anner functionally reinforced the inCout di+ide and sustained grou& solidarity.
*e+eral of "y res&ondents used the ter" /habal7st+o0 as a synony" for a +ulgar and un&leasant
"anner of ho"ose)ual beha+ior% so"ething they distantiate the"sel+es fro". Closer to the &oint%
26
/habal7st+o0 is often related to femini)ed ho"ose)uals &erfor"ing a fe"ale "anneris" and
"entioning the"sel+es in fe"inine gender. Persons &erfor"ing this style are a rather recogni.able
&art of the ho"ose)ual co""unity but "any gays and lesbians try to ha+e nothing to do !ith the".
Pet they share acAuaintance !ith this ty&e of s&eech &ractice and thus a &erosn !ho &ractices
habal7st+o is defenitely recogni.able as so"eone belonging to the co""unity.
/;habal7st+o0 "ay be co"&ared !ith another ho"ose)ual subculture slang languages% such as
Britain /"olari0 <Baer 2442% =enning 2442>% although I failed to find any co"&arati+e research. The
"ain ob+ious difference is that /&olari0 has its o!n +ocabulary% !hereas /habal7st+o0 has al"ost no
s&ecial !ords
11
. ?any !ords are used !ith transfor"ed "eaning% but there see"s to be no roo" for a
/habal7st+o0 dictionaryF thus it is not slang% but rather a sociolect. Its usage has been and still is a
&erfor"ati+e% used in s&ecial situations and conte)ts% and the fact of the e)istence of the "anner I
&ro&ose to consider a feature of a de+elo&ed and co"&licated < as far as /habal7st+o0 is attributed to
a subgrou& inside of the bigger subculture> social grou&. This s&eech &ractice !as used &ri"arily not
to hide relations and intentions by re-na"ing the" <that !ould be a &ro&er funcction of a slang>% but
to refra"e attitude to gender and se)uality by their ironical alienation. *i"ultaneously% /&ure slang0
+ocabulary of /habal7st+o0 does e)ists% too <in addition to ;o.lo+sy 1569% I should "ention recently
&resented co"&ilation by *aburoff <2446>F short as it is% the collection is see"ingly an introduction of
continuing &roBect% but it is ob+ious a collection of slang% !here (!abal$st#o is not e+en "entioned>.
An interesting fact "ay be "entioned to argue for the le+el of self-organi.ation of the co""unity.
In this &eriod lesbians "anaged to ha+e secret "arriages. T!o girls !ho decided to li+e as a cou&le
R/fa"ily0 Rcould not go to the state registry house <pqrs>% but they used another ritual instead of it@
secret "arriage in a church <I !as told about such cases in ?osco!>. They could by&ass the social
nor" by e"&loy"ent of an alternati+e social nor". 1eligious _!edding_ !ould be e"&loyed as a
sy"bolic alternati+e to the /secular0 "arriage. In Mladi"ir ;o.lo+sy7s boo% /lesbian "arriages0
are "entioned in the inter+ie! as a ty&ical and not an e)ce&tional e+ent !ith a s&ecial recogni.able
11
There is a s&ecial Internet-resource gathering e)a"&les of /(!abal$st#o0 and related "aterials@ htt&@CC)abala.gay.ru
25
ritual <1569% a&&. MI>. Essig "entioned these "arriages once as !ell <1555% &.41>. A"ong "y
res&ondents% only Dulia Certlich could re"e"ber such a Gsecred "arriageG.
There !ere other signs used by lesbians and gays to recogni.e each other. :lga ;rau.e had an
earring in her ear in 1561 because% said she% /IGd heard that lesbians !ore one earring0F si"ilarly% one
of Essig7s res&ondents "entioned one earring as a feature of an /acti+e0 <butch-lie> lesbian <Essig
1551% &. 119>. There !ere also s&ecial &atterns of acAuaintance-ai"ed beha+ior% only so"e of !hich
could be recogni.ed by outsiders.
In this cha&ter% I tried to argue that the &ri"er "anifestation and sho!ing-u& of the se)ual
"inorities7 "o+e"ent !as de+elo&ed by its de+elo&"ent in the &re+ious &eriod. Although
ho"ose)uality !as officially &rohibited% the la! did not &re+ent &eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)ual
orientations fro" for"ing a nation-!ide subculture. E"ergence of this &ublic "o+e"ent and its
features !ere sha&ed by si"ultaneous /o&ening0 of se)uality to &ublic discussion and a sudden rise of
social tolerance to!ards its "arers.
H!* t! $ame the &!mm'$it,? The -%!lem !" %eleva$t $ami$(
In this section I e)&lain "y a&&roach to na"ing the co""unity. I !ill also analy.e self-descri&tion
through na"es being used in the co""unity% along !ith connotati+e "eaning of the na"es. In the
last &art of the te)t I a" going to e)&lain ho! international ter"s for non-nor"ati+e se)uality based
co""unities are used in this &articular national conte)t.
There ne+er !as any co""only acce&ted na"e for the co""unity based on non-nor"ati+e
se)uality in 1ussia% although there certainly !ere s&ecial ter"s to signify &ersons% attached to these
&ractices. A researcher can not use the /nati+e0 ter"s all the ti"e% as far as they relate to a &art of the
!hole co""unity% e+en if /the co""unity0 !as analytically reconstructed as an entity. (o!e+er%
these /nati+e0 ter"s al!ays ha+e connotations that cannot be controlled thoroughly. I &refer to use
the ter" /se4'al mi$!%it,0 in order to a+oid &roBecting of Western categories% such as /gay<s>0%
/L$BT0 or /Aueer0 to this co""unity !hich still does not ha+e any united self-descri&tion and has
24
acce&ted these ter"s only recently. I also try to a+oid references to the theoretical &ers&ecti+es these
ter"s had been attached to.
The "ost often used /nati+e0 ter" !as tema. It literally "eans /the"e0F it is easy to say about
so"ebody that he or she is /the"atic0% or /sheChe is about the the"e0. The first official *o+iet
ne!s&a&er for ho"ose)uals !as entitled Tema. <At the sa"e ti"e% young &artici&ants of the
co""unity !ith !ho" I discussed the to&ic in 8o+osibirs and ;rasnoyars in 244'-2446 told they
hardly ne! the ter" and did not ha+e an idea of na"ing the"sel+es as /the"atic0 N so% the ter"
!ould be already ina&&ro&riate for younger generation>.
The "ost often used "anner to i"&ly in+ol+e"ent in the co""unity% if only &otentially% !as to
signify <to s&ea about> a certain &erson "ere as ours. *urely it !as a co""on !ay to s&ea about
"e"ber of the sa"e co""unity or society. ?y res&ondents used to signify by this e)&ression a
/hidden%0 or /latent0 ho"ose)ual <!ho could Boin the co""unity% be he or she a!are about his or her
/nature0>. The third "eaning of the !ord !as to signify a /hel&er0 - a &erson% !ho feels sy"&athy for
&eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality and "ay hel& to get a social ad+antage% or ad+ocate for the"%
regardless of the &erson7s o!n se)uality. In short% Gour6 related to any &erson !ho &ossibly could
&artici&ate in the co""unity7s acti+ity. It did not necessarily "ean that the &erson used to &ractice
sa"e-se) se)ualityF the &erson could only sy"&athi.e to se)ual "inorities and so"eho! enhance the
co""unity.
The ter"s% "ost often used for ho"ose)uals !ere /blues0 for "en% and /lesbians0 for !o"en. In
the s&eech of /blues0 the"sel+es this !ord had no hu"iliating connotations and !as neutral
12
. This
ter" !as liely introduced after the $reat Patriotic War% because% according to one /+eteran0% it !as
not used in the Leningrad blue co""unity before the !arF as one Eraneta7s inter+ie!ee fro"
8o+osibirs e)&lained% the ter" had successfully re&laced offensi+e &rison argot that had do"ineered
before <2444% &. 121>
12
.
12
The ter" !as used by ;e+in ?oss in the title of his anthology of 1ussian ho"oerotic literature% entitled :ut of the Blue
<155'>.
12
The sa"e is stated in an anony"ous inter+ie!@ /I !as a shy boyU0 R in@ Tema 1552% t4% &. 16
21
In his English-language article !hich basically re&eats his earlier te)ts <not !ithout ne! details>
Igor ;on "ainly uses the ter" /blues0 <1554>F in 1ussian-language boos of the sa"e &eriod he
&refers to use /gays0% &ossibly in order to facilitate the introduction of the ter" into 1ussian ordinary
language <155#% 155'>. In contrast% the gendered eAui+alent for /blues0% /&in%0 !as rarely used by
ho"ose)ual !o"en for the"sel+es% and !as "ore distincti+ely hu"iliating. The !ord /lesbian0 has
al!ays been used for ho"ose)ual !o"en. Partly because it !as &ossible to find the ter" in 1ussian
&oetry of the *il+er Age e&och and e"igration <the story is re+ealed in !ors of =iana Le!is Burgin>
The !ord /ho"ose)ual0 is not usually used in relation to a !o"an in the 1ussian language.
The !ord /gay0 gradually beca"e used in English s&eaing ho"ose)ual co""unities and societies
only in the 2
nd
&art of the 24
th
Century <*&eirs 2444>. In the 1ussian conte)t it !as introduced in
1564s. ;irsano+ suggested that the !ord !as used for the first ti"e by the first official *o+iet
ne!s&a&er of se)ual "inorities Tema <2449% &. 4'5>. In this ne!s&a&er% ho!e+er% the !ord /gay0 is
"et relati+ely rarely. If !e co"&are usage of !ords /gay0% /ho"ose)ualist0 and /blue<s>0 as
synony"s in three leading /blue0 editions of that &eriod R Tema, .7.8 and R9S2% a slight difference
"ay be discerned. Ter"s /ho"ose)ual0 along !ith /ho"ose)ualists0 <a "ore strict distinction
bet!een the ter"s !as de+elo&ed later> &referably !ere used in abstract cases% then the s&eech is
about a &erson !ith /non-traditional0 se)ual orientation% or in &ieces of infor"ation about
ho"ose)ual life abroad. The !ord /blue0 tends to be used in relation to the co""unity itself <not
e)clusi+ely>% its history <for e)a"&le% Tchaio+sy !as &referably characteri.ed by his gay
biogra&hers as a /blue0 &erson rather than as a /gay0 one> and foreign issues. /$ay<s>0 is used in the
te)ts &ublished in that early gay and lesbian &ress !ith the least alienation% and in conte)ts that "ae
it &ossible to thin that they s&ea about the"sel+es or /our &eo&le0 as a re&resentati+es of an
i"aginary 1ussian se)ual "inorities7 co""unity that !as in becoming. If an article !as !ritten
about history of /!estern0 gays% the !ord /ho"ose)ual0 !as used "ore liely than /gay0 but%
s&eaing about conte"&orary e+ents or co""unities !hich !ould be used as cultural sa"&les% they
!ould use the !ords /blue0 or /gay.0 The latter !ord has "ore ob+ious &ositi+e connotations. Eor
22
e)a"&le% in one issue of /1C140 <1552% t4 <11>>% the !ord /blue<s>0 is used 25 ti"es% /ho"ose)ualist0
- 12 ti"es% and /gay<s>0 -1# ti"es% but the !ord a&&ears in ne!s% in a re&ort about the Eounding
Conference of an Association% and in a descri&tions of co""unal life <&.'>. In +arious issues of the
ne!s&a&er .7.8% /blue<s>0 al"ost all the ti"e goes in Auotation "ars% that alienates this !ord%
!hereas /gay<s>0 is used !ithout Auotation "ars% although the !ord has been ada&ted relati+ely
recently.
The co""unity !as in the &rocess of de+elo&ing a ne! identity for itself% co"&lying !ith ne!
&ossibilities to s&ea about ho"ose)uality &ublicly and to act in &olitical field. The ter" /gay0
signifies reference to this &ositi+e i"age of a ne! <i"agined> co""unity% gathering &eo&le !ith non-
nor"ati+e se)ual orientations% !ho !ould be free of constant social o&&ression and sociali.e as they
lie.
The o&&ressed grou&s% co""unities% and indi+iduals try to redefine their &osition and legiti"i.e
their social and &olitical acti+ities through solidarity. It is i"&ortant for their leaders to establish a
social ground for their acti+ities% and the "ore different grou&s and &ractitioners they !ould gather%
the better. 8eedless to say% the ter" use)ual "inorities0 "ay include not only ho"ose)uals but%
&otentially% any other non-traditional se)uality-based identities% such as bise)uals and trans+estites.
This ter" !as no!n to all of the"% therefore it !ould be relati+ely easy to &olitici.e it. As Laurie
Essig has discussed the ter"% it /does not rely on a si"&le binary o&&osition R heteroCho"o. Instead%
non-nor"ati+e se)ualities are "ulti&le and can easily o+erla& !ith heterose)uality <e.g. &rostitution>0
<1555% &. )>. I use the ter" /se&ual minorities0 as an u"brella ter" !hich includes not only lesbians
and gay "en% but other non-nor"ati+e se)ualities as !ell. (o!e+er% in fact I "ainly !rite about "ale
and fe"ale ho"ose)uals.
/*e)ual "inority0 is a neutral ter" !idely used in this co""unity% through "ainly by "en <in this
case it co"&lies !ith /lesbians0 as gendered ter" for fe"ales>% ha+ing no o&enly gendered
connotations and signifying the basic characteristics of the co""unity@ their orientation to sa"e-se)
22
se)ual &ractices
14
. Then I !rite about the !hole co""unity !hich "ay include &eo&le !ith any /non-
nor"ati+e0 se)uality% !hether such a co""unity actually e)ists or not% I use ter" /se)ual
"inorities0. Conte"&orary L$BT acti+ists so"eti"es !ould decline the ter"% but they often &ro&ose
/L$BT0 to na"e the co""unity and the "o+e"ent. I do not thin it is a good o&tion to a&&ly the
ter" in relation to a te)t describing e+ents 24 years ago% !hen the +ery abbre+iation /L$BT0 !as
hardly no!n e+en to the leaders. As /se)ual "inorities0 is a ter" used in the title of the 1
st
self-
&roclai"ed &ublic organi.ation in 1565% thus the ter" could be at least acce&ted in that ti"e.
1ussian co""unity based on non-nor"ati+e se)uality used _se)ual "inorities_ as an u"brella
ter"F ho!e+er% it ne+er !as co""only acce&ted. ?y res&ondents &referred not to use it% although
:rtano+% co-founder /Association of *e)ual ?inorities0 in ?osco! told "e he lied the ter" for its
uni+ersality. They acce&ted its "eaning but !ere not inclined to use it constantly% s&eaing about
their co""unity<s>. Eor "e% this is a ter" of descri&tion% a+ailable for an outsider-anthro&ologistF
thus it stresses s&ecificity of the "o+e"ent as &resenting interests of &eo&le !ith different non-
nor"ati+e se)ualities <not only /gay "en0 and /lesbians0>. (o!e+er% it is !orth "entioning that the
status of the ter" illustrates one feature of the co""unity% !hich beca"e +isible during fifteen years
of its &ublic de+elo&"ent. It consists al"ost e)clusi+ely of ho"ose)uals Rgays and lesbiansF other
&ossible non-nor"ati+e se)uality-based identities <lie trans+estites% transgender &ersons% B=*?%
s!ingers and others> are not +isible as se&arate grou&s. The &o&ular Western ter" L$BT is not
!idely used in the 1ussian co""unity. This ter" is an a&&arent a&&ro&riation of identity belonging
to another cultural area. It is used no!adays by acti+ists !ho try to e"&hasi.e their &artici&ation in
global L$BT net!ors <and allegedly to get access to the recourses of the net!or>. 8one of "y
res&ondents agreed !ith this ter". In fact% there !as no reason to acce&t it. Classic Western definition
of the ter" i"&lies different grou&s a!are of si"ilarities of their situations and interests coo&erating
in social and &olitical struggle. In 1ussia% /gays0 and /lesbians0 see" to be t!o do"inant grou&s%
14
:ne of "y res&ondents% M. :rtano+% defined the co""unity through /h!m!e%!ti& interests0 as o&&osed to
/heteroerotic0 interests% shared by the surrounding "aBority. I thin this a&&roach is +ery hel&ful in understanding of the
life-!orld of the co""unities &artici&ants% but too co"&licated to be used is a socio-anthro&ological !or. I loo at
&eo&le7s beha+ior and &ublic self-&resentation% not daring get into their "inds !here their lo+es and /true0 desires li+e.
24
enco"&assing other <e)isting or +irtually &ossible> grou&s lie /bise)uals%0 /transgender0 &ersons
and others. As 8ade.hda 8arto+a found in her research of a *t. Petersburg "iddle class lesbian
co""unity% it7s sha&e and "ode of e)istence !as highly nor"ali.ed% according to heteronor"ati+e
"odels. It ha&&ened to be &ossible to nor"ali.e /lesbians0% but not for the &ersons !hose se)ual
identities &roble"ati.e gender contract as such <for e)a"&le% transse)uals> <Inter+ie! !ith 8ade.hda
8arto+a>. Thus% the routine usage of this ter" "ay sho! a le+el of &oliti.ation of a grou& or acti+ist
<or at least the &resence of a &olitical clai">. To &roclai" oneself /L$BT0 is to try to &resent one7s
agenda as &art of global &olitical agenda of /se)ual "inorities0F that7s !hy a national &olitical
association established in su""er of 2449 in order to act together against ho"o&hobia and
discri"ination in 1ussian society% !as entitled /L$BT 8et!or 1ussia0
1#
<?*?U% 244'>.
The &rocess of introduction of the na"es continues no!adays. The ter" /Aueer0 used by Laurie
Essig as a ter" of theoretical descri&tion is used neither in the &ublished "aterials aboutCof the
co""unity% nor by any of "y res&ondents% it is not e+en a&&reciated by the" <although it is
interesting that :rtano+ ga+e "e an inter&retation of his fa+orite ter" /se)ual "inority0 striingly
si"ilar to "ainstrea" "eaning of the ter" /Aueer0
19
>. But as soon as a &o&ular gay Bournal is entitled
/`ueer0 <;m^b>% it !ould &ossibly beco"e "ore &o&ular soon in younger generation.
To su""ari.e this% I should state that there has ne+er been single definite !ay to s&ea about
&eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality as a grou&. In the legendary ti"es of /underground life0% they
de+elo&ed a set of s&eech techniAues to "ention &eo&le belonging to the co""unity. In the &eriod
after 1554% a slight a&&ro&riation of the na"e /gay0 could be discerned. This ter" related to the
i"agined /co""unity0 !hich !ould be sha&ed on the basis of the &re-e)isting one. The ter"
!omose&ual:ist3 !as in use% too. The ter"s used for self-descri&tion a"ong Western co""unities of
&eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality <L$BT% Aueer> ha+e not been a&&ro&riated <this fact should be
in+estigted together !ith the state"ent about reluctant and !ea a&&ro&riation of /"ainstrea"0
1#
htt&@CClgbtnet.ruF te)t of foundational agree"ent <in 1ussian> is a+ailable at@ htt&@CClgbtnet.ruCne!sCdetail.&h&3I=v2421.
19
It !as interesting for "e to found that he defined as /se)ual "inority0 any &erson !hose se)ual &ractices do not fall
under ideas and attitudes to /nor"al0 se)uality of his or her en+iron"ent. I thought he eAuated /se)ual "inority0 and
/Aueer0. When I ased hi" about his usage of the ter" /Aueer0 he said that he &ractically did not need it.
2#
!estern gay identities by the 1ussian co""unity>. The best ter" that "ay be used in the descri&tion
of the co""unity and its "o+e"ent is /se)ual "inorities0. It does not hide the &resence of other
grou&s lie transgender &eo&les !ho &artici&ate in the life of the co""unity% but ha+e not been acti+e
<or lucy> enough to for" se&arate grou&s based on an identity of their o!n.
29
#ha-te% 83 The eme%(e$&e !" the R'ssia$ se4'al mi$!%ities m!veme$t a"te% 29:93 Pe%i!)i5ati!$
!" the m!veme$t i$ the &!$te4t !" late-S!viet a$) P!st-S!viet R'ssia
In this section% I try to "ae a general chronological fra"e!or for analy.ing the e"ergence and
de+elo&"ent of the gay and lesbian "o+e"ent in conte"&orary 1ussia. I loo at a &ossible
&eriodi.ation of the "o+e"ent% and e)&lain &olitical and cultural s&ecificity of the &eriod.
A &eriodi.ation is i"&ortant for research lie this one because !e need to fra"e the obser+ed
&rocess in ti"e. :ne &ossible &eriodi.ation is already introduced by Igor ;on <155'% &. 2#4>. It is
based on the degree of /&ublicity0 of the se)ual "inorities and their acti+ities. The cha&ter !ith this
te)t fro" ;on7s boo is being re&eatedly re&roduced on 1ussian se)ual "inorities grou&s7 !eb-sitesF
therefore it stands to reason that it influences the self-understanding of the grou&s. ;on discerns four
"ain &eriods in history of se)ual "inorities in the ,**1C1ussia@
1524-1569 &eriod of discri"ination% &enal &rosecution and silencingF
156'-1554 beginning of o&en% &ublic discussion of the &roble" by scientists and BournalistsF
1554- Dune 1552 se)ual "inorities enter the /&ublic scene0% /hu"an rights0 are accentuated in the
discussions% the &roble" is transfor"ed fro" "edical to &olitical oneF and the first organi.ations
e"erge. After declining of the article 121.1 in ?ay% 155'% the ne! &eriod follo!s@ the situation for
gays and lesbians gets better% /the ho"ose)ual underground0 begins transfor"ing itself into a /blue0
subculture0 <;on 155'% &. 292>% and "ore o&tions for struggle against ho"o&hobia and for legal
guarantees of non-discri"ination a&&ear.
The disad+antage of this &eriodi.ation is that the 2
nd
and 2
rd
&eriod are not distincti+ely e"&hasi.ed.
The first organi.ation of se)ual "inorities has a&&eared in the ,**1 as soon as in 1564% and it
already for"ulates its &olitical de"ands <the grou& of Ale)andr Hare"ba>. It see"s to "e that these
t!o &eriods should be co"bined into one. In the broader social fra"e% that ti"e !as the ti"e of late
Perestroia and the colla&se of the ,**1. *ocial acti+ities and identity-building of the co""unity
2'
utili.ed o&&ortunities that e)isted in that certain &eriod. Although any generali.ation of this ind is
ine+itably shallo!% it is necessary to connect the co""unity7s transfor"ations !ith broader
transfor"ations of the 1ussian society in that &eriod <&ost state-socialist transition>% and in the global
conte)t <intensification of globali.ation &rocesses> as !ell.
The i$itial -e%i!) of se)ual "inorities7 acti+ities has begun% I thin% for"ally in 29:9% !hen the
first ne!s&a&er <officially registered only later> and the first &ublic organi.ations of the se)ual
"inorities ha+e a&&eared. Before% /co"ing out0 did not ha&&en in "ublic s&here and could not
beca"e a basis for any &olitical &rogra". *ince that ti"e% the real "o+e"ent is being reinforced by
/co"ing out0 of its leaders. In the ne)t t!o years% the "o+e"ent institutiali.es itself re"arably fast.
This /initial0 &eriod finishes in 155#-1559. In this ti"e% <1> social acti+ity of the &o&ulation in general
beco"es !eaer% and the !hole situation in the &ublic s&here changes <beco"es "ore nor"ali.ed>%
<2> organi.ational "odels of the organi.ations are e)hausted% and their leaders often decide to gi+e u&
&ublic acti+ity% thus "any organi.ations% if they e+en still stay ali+e% gi+e u& acti+e &artici&ation in
the &ublic s&ace% and <2> the ne! generation of gay-business entre&reneurs e"erges. In short% the
country changes% thus the !ay ho! the co""unity !as structured and organi.ed% is to change as !ell.
The last &oint in this chronological transition is the shar& econo"ical crisis in 1ussia in A'('st+
299:3 At that ti"e nu"erous social acti+ities !ere abandoned because &eo&le beca"e i"&o+erished
and could not continue the". As :rtano+ has e)&lained it%
This &eriod !as about its end in 155#% but I !as absolutely sure% that the breado!n
!as in 1556. I ne! "any &eo&le !ho had interests in acti+ities% and &roBects% but
after 1556 they Bust ga+e it all u&. Eirstly% they beco"e &oorer. *econdly% the
de"ocrats7 &o!er betrayed us then for the first ti"e. We had a great deal of
o&ti"is" before 1556% but thenU
At the sa"e ti"e% <4> the generational change too &lace. Certlich says bet!een the /old guard0%
!ho ca"e into the co""unity already in the ti"e of the ,**1% or Bust in ti"e of its colla&se% and
could easily re"e"ber that sad e)&erience of total /closet0% and o&&oses the +eterans to the /young0
or /ne! guard0 !ho ca"e in after 1552. The latter already could not share that e)&erience of being in
o&&osition to the state and the society. This /ne! guard0% re&resenting "ainly younger generations%
beha+ed the"sel+es differently% had another i"age of the co""unity and another e)&ectations. *he
26
argued that at least in the lesbian co""unity this difference !as reali.ed and o&enly discussed.
Laurie Essig% !ho finished her obser+ations at Bust about that ti"e% concluded that the <first> &eriod of
gay and lesbian self-organi.ation !as al"ost o+er in 1554F she e+en entitled the related section in her
boo /the fall of Aueer &oliticsCthe rise of Aueer subBecti+ities0 <Essig 1555% &. 9'>. Ero" her &oint of
+ie!% the transfor"ation of the society she s&oe about &erfectly confor"ed to her theory. *he argued
that the first &eriod !as o+er% and
/...there !ere still "any organi.ations and grou&s based &ri"arily on se)ual identity
but fe! of the" !ere as successful and ho&eful as they had been in the &astU WtXhe
fissures that a&&eared early a"ong Aueer acti+ists ha+e only dee&enedU
=isillusion"ent !ith Western "odels of organi.ing and identity% a shar& decrease
in interest and funding fro" Western sources% and a general feeling that the &olitics
of se)ual identity !as not "eant to flourish on 1ussian soil ha+e all da"&ened the
early glo! of Aueer acti+ists.0 <ibid.% &.96-95>
Einally% the ra&id de+elo&"ent of internet sol+ed the infor"ation &roble" !hich !as so crucially
i"&ortant before the late 1554s% and &ro+ided ne! recourses for ne! leaders
1'
. This essayGs target is
descri&tion of the initial &eriod.
The social and &olitical i"&act of the loss of the "ain organi.ationsG influence should be discussed
se&arately. (ere I Bust state that the /ne! guard0 &o&ulation could not sociali.e in these organi.ations
si"&ly because of their disa&&earanceF thus% the /ne! guard0 had to re-in+ite the co""unities again.
<The reasons of this ru&ture are discussed belo!>. This &eriod still continues no!adays. *e+eral "ain
leaders of the conte"&orary co""unity ha+e acAuired their influence in this &eriod. It does not "ean
that all &re+ios leaders &eriod lost their influenceF rather% no! they ha+e to continue their acti+ities in
a refra"ed field.
1'
A bright e)a"&le of the"% according to all of "y res&ondents% is the o!ner of !!!.gay.ru Ed ?ishin <?ihail
Ede"sy>. (e !as re&eatedly "entioned by "y res&ondents as an e)a"&le of the ne! generation7s leader.
25
The "i%st -'li& h!m!se4'al !%(a$i5ati!$s+ thei% i$te%ests a$) aims
In this section I describe the e"ergence of the first organi.ed grou&s and true organi.ations% not
only in the ca&ital% but in other 1ussian cities as !ell. I loo at the details of se+eral acti+ities of that
ti"e and try to discern differences of their a&&roaches to the future of the co""unity. These
differences "ay be effecti+ely used for ty&ologi.ation of these &ublic acti+ities. In the end of the
section% I "ae a co"&arison of their acti+ities.
The first stable grou& of acti+ists% !oring on behalf of se)ual "inorities% !as organi.ed in
Leningrad in 1562 by Alesandr Hare"ba. It !as na"ed /the Blue laboratory0. Its history !as
described by one of the ey figures of *t. Petersburg7 gay scene% Alesei *cherbao+ <1551>.
Hare"ba !as a Aualified linguist and could co""unicate !ith foreigners. It !as re"arable in this
organi.ation that its acti+ity included all the "ain to&ics of future organi.ations of ho"ose)uals in
1ussia. There !ere about 24 &ersons of both se)es in the /Laboratory0
16
<Hare"ba7s !ife !as
characteri.ed in the article as /lesbian0>. Ero" the +ery beginning% this grou& achie+ed contacts !ith
!estern organi.ations. Hare"ba !rote to the International Lesbian and $ay Association <IL$A>% and
in Duly 1564 re&resentati+es of IL$A +isited Leningrad. It !as at that ti"e that the IL$A7s
international conference !as held in (elsini <so that they did not ha+e to tra+el a long distance to get
to Leningrad>. The Einnish organi.ation *ETA !as the grou&s7 re&resentati+e at the conference. The
/laboratory0 also tried to establish contacts !ith other /the"atic0 organi.ations in order to recei+e not
only "oral su&&ort but infor"ation useful fin the organi.ation of &olitical struggle. As :lga ;rau.e
re"e"bers about this grou&%
I ne! an astonishing story of ho! they established contacts !ith the 8etherlands@
one of the" had !ritten a letter to /I.+estia0 Wleading national ne!s&a&erX asing if
any &olitical "o+e"ent of ho"ose)uals e)isted WabroadX and ho! one could learn
about it. Than $od% the letter ca"e into the hands of one of /our0 &eo&le% and they
ga+e the" the address of =utch Co""unist Party% or for!arded the letterU
16
Laurie Essig "entions this grou& as /gay laboratory0 <1555> The sa"e does Igor ;on. (o!e+er% as :lga ;rau.e
&ointed out in inter+ie!% the !ord /gay0 absolutely !as not used in the co""unity in that ti"e. *cherbao+ !rote about
/grou&0 !ithout gi+ing it a &articular na"e.
44
I thin that the /blue laboratory0 antici&ated the &ers&ecti+es and interests of later L$BT
organi.ations. A"ong their acti+ities !ere@
1> *tudies in history of ho"ose)uality and distribution of infor"ation about it.
2> *earch for contacts !ith foreign organi.ations and centers% using &ersonal and infor"al <+ia
/our0 &eo&le> channels.
2> Atte"&ts to co"bine and coordinate acti+ities in cultural and &olitical areas. The grou& began to
sub"it corres&ondence to Einnish ne!sletter /*ETA0. ,nsur&risingly% the grou& fell under ;$B
obser+ation fro" the +ery beginning% but could continue its acti+ity until the first o&en threats fro"
the ;$B till August of 1564F is not clear% !hy they !ere let to be acti+e for longer than t!o years.
It !as "ainly &roBect of one bright &ersonality% Alesandr Hare"ba. (e "o+ed to ;ie+ <he !ould
beco"e a distinguished acade"ician there>% but other "e"bers of the grou&% *cherbao+ and :lga
Hhu !ould &lay an i"&ortant role in the later establish"ent of /the"atic0 associations in
LeningradC*t. Petersburg. The /blue laboratory0 did not establish any tradition% and !as al"ost ne+er
"entioned by other acti+ists in their stories. (o!e+er% its i"&ortance !as in this antici&ation of future
acti+ities of this ind. Dust as the /laboratory0 !as% all the subseAuent organi.ations !ere de&endent
on the !ill of their founders and leaders and did not beco"e inde&endently li+ing &roBects.
?osco! and Leningrad <*t. Petersburg since 1551>% t!o "ain cities of the country% !ere the t!o
"ain centers of the se)ual "inorities7 co""unity in the ,**1. Therefore% researchers usually &aid
their "ain attention to e+ents and &rocesses in these t!o central "ega&olices
15
. At the sa"e ti"e% self-
organi.ation of the se)ual "inorities7 co""unity !as rising in "any &laces in the country
si"ultaneously% and the grou&s in the ca&itals7 !ere not the only national &ioneers in it. =ifferent
grou&s had si"ilar agendas and &resented the"sel+es to their en+iron"ent in si"ilar "anner% because
<1> se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent !as an organic &art of a broader and "ore general rise of social self-
organi.ation of that ti"e. The Perestroia effecti+ely sti"ulated "ass acti+ities all o+er the country.
As "y res&ondents% along !ith authors of different !ors about these e+ents ha+e "entioned% there
15
They !ere also the "ost /accessible0 sites for Western researchers. There they !ould find &eo&le !ho !ould s&ea
foreign languages% +ibrant cultural life etc. It is clear for" =a+id TullerG boo% for e)a"&le% ho! hea+ily he de&ended on
the e"erging infrastructure of e)&atriates7 life in ?osco! and *t.Petersburg.
41
!as a feeling of ne! and ho&eful o&&ortunities% o&ened by the social transfor"ation% and this "ass
enthusias" "ade recently incredible e)&eri"ents and enter&rises &ossible. The &olitical syste" !as
considerably tolerant in that ti"e. As M. :rtano+ told "e%
one can say that gays began only because the Perestroia had begun. If it hadn7t
begun% as it had not in the ti"e of Hare"ba% all the acti+is" !ould be finished in the
sa"e !ay by the ;$B. As the Perestroia began% the gay7s "o+e"ent started to
"o+e itself ahead.
<2> The nation-!ide co""unity !as already ready to launch &ublic self-organi.ation. There !as a
co""on agenda that had been reali.ed and for"ed inside the co""unity in the &re+ious &eriod.
ConseAuently% as soon as the socio&olitical en+iron"ent had changed% grou&s in different &laces
began to e"erge. Acti+ists <&otential leaders of the co""unity> too ad+antage of these ne! o&tions
o&ened by the social transfor"ation% and the /co""unity0 &roduced the "o+e"ent by their acti+ities.
There !as a &ro"inent e)&ert !ho &layed funda"entally i"&ortant role in the early sha&e of the
"o+e"ent. It !as Igor ;on% the "ost !ell-no!n 1ussian s&ecialist in se)ology and sociology of
se)uality
24
% !ho &aid great efforts for it. (is ey role !as not only of an authoritati+e consultant and
&ublic ad+ocate of the "o+e"ent. (e effecti+ely !ored as a connecting "oint to!ards international
intellectual co""unity in this field <his o!n uniAue library of related literature "ust be "entioned as
an i"&ortant recourse that influences the !hole nation co""unity>. As an e)&ert% he &ro+ided the
acti+ists !ith necessary scientific no!ledge% references and facts <he !ould still do it no!adays>.
Thus% the "o+e"ent7s leaders had an influential ad+ocate and consultant !ho hel&ed the" find their
!ay to organi.e.
The e+ent that triggered self-organi.ation and collecti+e co"ing out of the "inorities !as
international scientific conference /Minorities and society. T!e c!anging attitudes toards
!omose&uality in ;8
t!
century <uro"e0 that ha&&ened in Tallinn% Estonia% in 26-24 ?ay. 1554. It !as
the first &ublic discussions of ho"ose)uality on the territory of the ,**1 <Parias and Meis&a
1551>. ?any future leaders of the "o+e"ent !ere in+ited to the conference on basis of &ersonal
reco""endations of Igor ;on. The conference effecti+ely encouraged the" to co"e out &ublicly.
24
(is 9ntroduction to se&ology </M+edenie + sesologiyu0<1566>> !as the "ost &o&ular and acno!ledged !or about
se)ology% consu"ed by the 1ussian audience in this historical &eriod. (is influence !as characteri.ed in@ <$essen 2442>.
42
A concise outline of the &eriod7 history belo! is based on the inter+ie!s% AL$ "aterials and !ors
of other researchers <Essig 1555% ;irsano+ 2449F ;on 1554% 155#% 155'F Tuller 1556>. It !as
co""only acno!ledged that the first grou& of se)ual "inorities7 acti+ists !as the 6Ass!&iati!$ !"
Se4'al Mi$!%ities7 0ASM1 established by Eugenia =ebryansaya% 1o"an ;alinin and Mladisla+
:rtano+. This organi.ation a&&eared as a collecti+e action of a grou& of &ersons% e+eryone of !ho"
had &ersonal &olitical ai"s. Eugenia =ebraynsaya already had e)&erience of o&&ositional &olitical
acti+ity. *he !as a"ong the co-founders of /=e"ocratic ,nion0% the first &ublic "o+e"ent for
&olitical refor"ation of the *o+iet syste" and% at the sa"e ti"e% !as in inti"ate relations !ithin the
circle of Ale.andr =ougin <!ho !as her lo+er>% one of the "ost influential &ro-fascist% reactionary
intellectuals in 1ussiaF thus% she si"ultaneously &artici&ated in the e"ergence of t!o o&&osite
&olitical &ers&ecti+es in the country
21
. In that ti"e% her flat in ?osco! beca"e a "eeting &lace for
&olitical discussions and conferences. Thus% =ebryansaya consciously tried to enter the &olitical
field. I ho&e her acti+ities of that &eriod "ay be su""ari.ed in conclusion that =ebryansaya turned
herself into a /&ublic character%0 as ?itchell =uneier defines this ty&e of social actor% Auoting Dane
Dacobs@ /a &ublic character is anyone !ho is in freAuent contact !ith a !ide circle of &eo&le and !ho
is sufficiently interested to "ae hi"self a &ublic character. A &ublic character need ha+e no s&ecial
talents or !isdo"U he Bust needs to be &resent% and there need to be enough of his counter&artsU0
<1555% &. 9>. It is i"&ortant for sur+i+al of infor"al net!ors that certain &ersons function as an
interconnection of different societies and infor"ation flo!sF they also facilitate gro!ing u& of
different concrete grou&s. Additionally% the situation allo!ed =ebryansaya to tae &art in /&olitical
ga"es0 a"ong others.
A"ong other co-founders of A*? !ere :rtano+ and ;alinin% !ho began &ublishing of the first
officially registered ne!s&a&er for gays and lesbians /Tema0. :rtano+ !as a scientist !ith a stable
social and &rofessional status. (e !as intended to &artici&ate in de-cri"inali.ation of ho"ose)uality%
and he !as interested in s&eciali.ed editions for gays <due to his &ersonal interests in gay erotics and
21
;irsano+% 2449% &&. 411-412F Laurie Essig <1555% &. 141-142> characteri.es her &olitical +isions as conser+ati+e-
nationalistic% that is% according to Essig% unusual for lesbigay acti+ists and should be thought of as a s&ecific feature of
1ussian "o+e"ent.
42
de&ending on his &ersonal acAuaintance !ith foreign sa"&les of it during tri&s abroad !hich he did as
a scientist>. (e also tried to facilitate counter-AI=* acti+ities. In a sense% Vlad 4rtano# as t!e (ey
figure in t!e early gay mo#ement of "ost'So#iet Russia. We "ay get to the conclusion considering that
these three trends of his &ersonal targeting of his acti+ities N &olitical struggle for decri"inali.ation
and antidiscri"ination
22
% de+elo&"ent of national /gay culture0% anti-AI=* &rogra"s <de+elo&"ent of
se)ual education% in broad sense> N !ould beco"e the "ain ai"s of the "o+e"ent. Pet% he ne+er
tried to gat any &ublic acno!ledge"ent% enBoing being Bust a /"ere &artici&ant0 of the "o+e"ent.
1o"an ;alinin% !ho !as a student at that ti"e% !as a socially acti+e &erson not afraid to /co"e
out0 and beca"e /the first o&en gay in 1ussia0 < ;irsano+ 244#>. (e !as acAuainted !ith
=ebryansaya% and she &ro"ised hi" su&&ort in his acti+ities. Before co""encing the !hole
enter&rise !ith the Te"a% ;alinin !ored in a ne! &olitical ne!s&a&er =o#aya >!i)n$ </8e! Life0>%
acAuiring the necessary e)&erience in ne!s&a&er-"aing. Eollo!ing an announce"ent in that
ne!s&a&er% :rtano+ had got in touch !ith ;alinin% and in the +ery end of 8o+e"ber they co"&leted
the first nu"ber of Tema. Thus% initially it !as a result of coo&eration of t!o enthusiasts% !ho
checed the Bust-transfor"ed social situation !hether it !as tolerant enough for dis&lay of such
unusual identity. They e)&erienced that this initiati+e could acAuire success in the ne! circu"stances.
The ne!s&a&er !as &rinted in 1iga by ;alinin. (e used his &ersonal contacts !ith a &rinting house to
do it. In that ti"e% the three <still *o+iet> Baltic countries !ere a ind of recourse base for e"erging
&ublishing and Bournalist &roBects fro" all o+er the ,**1
22
. In ter"s of net!or building% these
countries !ere a s&ecial &oint in the infor"al syste" of infor"ation e)change that &ro+ided the
&ossibility for &rinting.
The first issue !as distributed by +endor "erchants in ?osco! N by those of the" !ho too on
the"sel+es the ris to sell this ind of &rinting stuff N it !as more dangerous than to sell
&ornogra&hy. As :rtano+ e)&lained% if they !anted to register the ne!s&a&er officially% they had to
22
In the inter+ie!% he stated that the struggle for legislati+e &rohibition of discri"ination "ust be and actually is the "ain
&olitical obBecti+e for 1ussian se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ents since the decri"inali.ation.
22
As :rtano+ &ut it% /E+erything !as &rinted there. It !as chea&er% and it !as easier0. The first 1ussian edition of Ed!ard
Li"ono+7s scandalous no+el /It7s "e% Eddie0% !hich introduced ho"oerotic i"ages to the broad national audience !as
&rinted there% too.
44
be an organi.ation running the ne!s&a&er <a &ri+ate &erson could not ha+e a &rinted edition>.
Thereby% A*? !as established at the +ery end of 1565. It !as "ade as an /u"brella0-organi.ation
for any &ublic acti+ities in fa+or of se)ual "inorities. It did not ha+e a fi)ed "e"bershi&@ anyone
!ho !ored in accordance !ith its ideas could &roclai" hi"self or herself a "e"ber of the
organi.ation. *oon after% M!s&!* Ass!&iati!$ !" Ga,s a$) Lesia$s ca"e instead of A*?. The
grou& !as not better for"ed or organi.ed. The transfor"ation of na"e !as significant@ it beca"e
"ore defined and "ore 0&resentable0% I !ould suggest% for Western &artners. The years 1554-1551
!ere ti"e of e)&eri"ents and self-deter"ination for the grou& of acti+ists. At that ti"e% they !ere in
the center of &ublic attention <Essig 1555F 1obinson 1552>.
The grou& that had established A*? and se+eral other si"ilar e&he"eral /organi.ations0 after it%
constituted one &ers&ecti+e in the self-organi.ation of the ?osco! se)ual "inorities7 co""unity.
They tried to establish a tradition of /o&enly gay acti+ist0. As far as there !as no tradition of identity
&olitics in 1ussia before <or it !as ther only for se+eral years right after the :ctober 1e+olution>% they
found their analogues and s"&le &atterns in the West. They !ere "ainly oriented at the ,*A <!ith
/A"erican0 "odels of tough &olitical conflict for recognition of the identity>% !hereas /culturally
oriented0 acti+ists
24
!as in closer contact !ith Euro&ean <$er"any% the 8etherlands> acti+ists and
organi.ations.
The acti+ity of the sa"e grou& of leaders led to the e"ergence of an organi.ation !hich &ossibly
!ould beco"e the first official and &ublicly legiti"i.ed organi.ation for re&resentation the interests
of non-nor"ati+e se)ual identities in 1ussian society and &ublic s&here and ad+ocating their
<&resu"ed> grou& interests. It !as called 6R'ssia$ Ga,+ Lesia$ a$) ;ise4'als O%(a$i5ati!$
#e$te% <T%ia$(le=7. Leaders of the &re+iously e)isting /,nion of Co"ing :ut
2#
0 and the /?osco!
$ay and Lesbian Center0% as !ell as editors uthe"atic0 &ress re&resentati+es of anti-AI=*
24
The distinction is e)&lained bello! in ch. 2.2.
2#
In 1ussian% this grou& !as na"ed +erbati" /,nion of Liberation0 <snwx yamnknzc[d^{>% !hile in English
&resentation te)ts they used ter" /co"ing out0% &erha&s% ada&ting the"sel+es to the e)&ectation of their Western
addressees.
4#
organi.ations Boined it. The Center uTriangle7 !as established at Eounding Conference in August%
1552 in ?osco!.
This organi.ation !as &lanned as nation-!ide. A !o"an fro" 8o+osibirs !as elected as the
President. The real acti+ity of the Triangle !as in the res&onsibility of the Coordination Co""ittee
<about 14 &ersons% al"ost all of the" ?osco! residents>. The organi.ation de+elo&ed +arious
acti+ities. It !as i"&ortant that the Center uTriangle7 !as for" the +ery beginning &lanned as a
&rofessionali.ed 8$:% &ro"oting interests of a &articular social grou& in the nation scale. They e+en
!ired a director <Andrey ?ai"ylahin>% !ho !as chosen for his &rofessional Aualifications as a
&erson able to "anage the organi.ational !or. I considered this fact a sign of a ne! a&&roach to
organi.ation building
29
.
The Center7s "ain foreign &artner !as IL$A% !hich !as interested in ha+ing a united center for
"anaging different &roBects in the country. The Center Triangle beca"e a full "e"ber of IL$A
2'
in
Danuary of 155#. ,nfortunately% the regular fundraising !as not de+elo&ed.. When the fund recei+ed
fro" IL$A !as e)hausted% the organi.ation had got no official registration yet. If it had% it !ould
ha+e been the first organi.ation re&resenting interests of the L$BT co""unity in the country. The
&ersonal conflicts bet!een the organi.ers co"bined !ith its financial difficulties% and as late as the
end of 1559% the Center Triangle disintegrated. A successor organi.ation% the ,G*T =etor( Russia%
!ould a&&ear only in 2449.
In LeningradC*t. Petersburg% the e"ergence of the "o+e"ent ca"e another !ay. This city had its
o!n long traditions of underground ho"ose)ual life <1otio+ 1556>. The grou&s7 relation to
traditions !as "uch "ore reflected in this site than in other "o+e"ent sites of the country. An acti+e
&artici&ant of /Blue laboratory0% *ergei *cherbao+% Boined grou&s established in this &eriod.
The "ost !ell-no!n and &o&ulari.ed organi.ations !ere St3 Pete%s'%( Ga, a$) Lesia$
H'ma$ Ri(hts #e$te% <initially -Association of $ays and Lesbians> >%,lia% lead by &rof. Alesandr
;uharsy% and the T&haik!vsk, ?'$) "!% #'lt'%al I$itiatives lead by :lga Hhu. They did not
29
After the ter"ination of The Center Triangle acti+ities% ?ai"ulahin "o+ed to ,raine and beca"e a leader of a health
care organi.ation in Lugans.
2'
The Letter of confir"ation of full "e"bershi& in IL$A% signed 16.41.155# <AL$% Eile 9#>.
49
ha+e any "utual coo&eration% although there !as no &rinci&al contradiction a"ong the"F ho!e+er%
the both organi.ations !ere distincti+ely one-leader styled% and their acti+ities !ere dri+en by single
acti+e &erson. Lie other less recogni.able grou&s in both ?osco! and *t. Petersburg% their leaders
&aid s&ecial attention to official organi.ational for"s.
8a"es of both grou&s !ere reclai"ings of the 1ussian ho"oerotic /tradition0 <!hich they !ere re-
in+enting>. The ;rylia !as na"ed after the boo of the *il+er age &oet ?ihail ;u."in% !hich had
been fetishi.ed a"ong certain grou&s already in *o+iet ho"ose)ual underground. It !as one of the
&ro"inent ho"oerotic te)ts in 1ussian tradition. /Tchaio+sy Eond0 recei+ed its na"e after Petr
Tchaio+sy% a $reat 1ussian co"&oser% !hose <closeted> ho"ose)uality !as a subBect of
discussions and nu"erous e)&lorations. (e !as a hero and ey historical figure for those !ho tried to
re-construct the /tradition0 of non-nor"ati+e se)uality in 1ussia. At the sa"e ti"e% the fund7s na"e
!as a signal for /the"atic0 &eo&le. As :lga Hhu e)&lained it later% !hen they atte"&ted to register
the organi.ation%
WWhile registrationX !e had difficulties !ith "ayor. They did not !ant to allo! us
to use the na"e of the co"&oser% because it !ould offend hi" Whis "e"oryX% but for
us it !as a &rinci&al &osition. We !anted to say by that@ /you ha+e acno!ledged
that gay co"&oser% so tae all the rest of us% gays% no!O0 In &a&ers !e !ere
officially entitled /Eund for Cultural Initiati+e and se)ual "inorities7 &ro"otion0%
but in "edia !e a&&eared e)actly as /Tchaio+sy Eund0 <An"egiBan 244#>.

The ;rylia "ay be described as an interesting <and al"ost uniAue> case of L$BT organi.ation in
1ussia% ha+ing e)isted and been acti+e for such a long ti"e. Ero" the +ery establish"ent it "aid its
tas Buridical consultations and other hel& for gays. ;uharsy had been successfully &racticing this
for a long &eriod before the organi.ation !as de+elo&ed. (e !as al!ays &roud for his &ersonal
contribution to the de+elo&"ent of regional /blue culture.0 The organi.ation organi.ed se"inars and
lectures by different s&ecialists and regular "eetings
26
.
There !as also a &articular e)&erience of coo&eration bet!een the "o+e"ent and fe"inists
organi.ations. The "ost !ell-no!n case !as in LeningradC*t.Petersburg. It !as the site of the "ost
26
*t.Peterburg7s lesbians !ith !ho" I s&oe had no interest in /;rylia07s acti+ities. I can suggest these acti+ities are
oriented "ainly at a relati+ely closed circle of gays% belonging to one or closer generation !ho use the" &ri"arily as a
good &ossibility for regular "eetings !ith old friends. The i"&act of such acti+ity for the !hole local co""unity is not
clear.
4'
de+elo&ed 0tradition0 of fe"inist organi.ing in 1ussia. The first 1ussian underground fe"inist
organi.ation% /Maria%0 a&&eared here as soon as in 15'5 <$essen 1556>. In 1566% :lga Li&o+saya
began editing and &ublishing self-"ade fe"inists Bournal >!ens(o%e C!tenie </1eading for Wo"en0>%
and in 1551 began to "anage different fe"inist acti+ities% the "ost successful of !hich !as St.
Petersburg Center for Gender Problems. Li&o+saya coo&erated !ith se)ual "inorities7 acti+ists%
although this coo&eration !as not al!ays successful
25
. 8e+ertheless% her Center should be "entioned
a"ong the organi.ations that &ro"oted lesbian acti+is" in the country. It !as a rare case of fe"inists
!oring together !ith se)ual "inorities7 acti+ists.
Another ey figure of the LeningradC*t. Petersburg "o+e"ent !as singer :lga ;rau.e% !hose
&ersonal story is analy.ed in the last section.
At the sa"e ti"e% there !ere other local initiati+es% !hich !ere not successful in recei+ing an
official registration. They should be "entioned here. Eor e)a"&le% a grou& of girls calling the"sel+es
/Sa--h! Pete%s'%(0 began to organi.e disco &arties for se)ual "inorities. It !as necessary to ha+e
negations !ith the ad"inistrators of clubs% and to infor" the rest of the co""unity. Both tass !ere
not easy <a disa&&ointing descri&tion of their &arties can be found in@ Essig 1555% &&.''-'6>. The
grou& !as lucy to be officially in+ited to Berlin and later to :"s <a regional center in *iberia> to
&artici&ate in festi+als. /*a&&ho Peter0 also a&&eared as an situational ans!er to the need of gathering
&eo&le together. :ne of its obBecti+es !as to &ro+ide the" infor"ation and hel&. Established by
lesbians% it !as &ri"arily% although not e)clusi+ely% oriented at this audience. Poung lesbian acti+ists
!ho &artici&ated in these actions e&t !oring in ne)t years% then the leaders of the &re+ious
/generation0 ceased their acti+ity.
*i"ultaneously% se)ual "inorities7 organi.ations e"erged in regional cities. In :"s% a grou& of
ho"ose)uals tried to establish itself as an unofficial organi.ation. Its history could be &artially traced
by their self-"ade ne!sletter 4ms(aya Tema </Te"a in :"s0>
24
. Initially% that organi.ation !as
25
Eor the instance% she encouraged "y inter+ie!ee 8atalia and her friends to organi.e% but &roduced burdens for :lga
;rau.e7s organi.ational efforts at the sa"e ti"e <according to inter+ie!s !ith the">.
24
There are 14 issues in the collection of ?osco! Lesbian and $ay Archi+e. The ne!sletter is ty&e!ritten. The language
is +ery colloAuial% and I consider it "ust be classified as a /fan.ine0 targeted to a s"all and close co"&any.
46
entitled /yry|}~0 <3>% but in Duly it !as re-na"ed 6>l' <P!isk=7. There !as a list of its "e"bers
in issue 5 <*e&te"ber 1551>% including 4# na"es !ith 4 /enlisted fore+er0. The content consisted of
descri&tions of +isits to other cities <"ainly 8o+osibirs>% club ne!s <not understandable for an
outsider>F the issue 9 had a re&rint fro" ?osco! gay editions /Te"a0 and /1I*;0. It !as re"arable
that the descri&tion of the /club0 changed !ith e+ery issue. In the beginning it !as re&resented in a
"anner% a&ing official *o+iet re&orts about +arious official "eetingsF in later ne!s% besides the
change of the na"e and the "otto of the ne!sletter <fro" the &arody /gays of the !orld% uniteO0 to
the less alienated /I no longer !ant to hide "y lo+eU0>. :b+iously% there !as a ra&id &rocess of self-
deter"ination in that local co""unity. E)tracts for" the Te"a and 1I*; sho!n that this grou& !as
connected !ith other se)ual "inorities7 co""unities in the country.
In ;rasnoyars% Sie%ia$ Ass!&iati!$ !" Se4'al Mi$!%ities !as established about 1554 by a
grou& of gay friends. A gay "an% !ho !as inter+ie!ed by Eraneta% thought that the "ain result of the
Association7s e)istence !as to create the acAuaintance and friendshi& bet!een gays and lesbians in
the city. According to Eraneta% the "an considered his organi.ation the third one in the country by the
ti"e of a&&earance <2444% &. '#>. Again% its establisher ne! about organi.ational &rocesses in other
cities but !as autono"ous in co""encing this acti+ity. Malery ;li"o+% an acti+ist fro" the ,rals
regional center city 8i.hniy Tagil% facilitated infor"ation e)change a"ong se)ual "inorities in his
region. *ince the late 1564s% he has been consistently in+ol+ed hi"self in infor"ation search and
&ro"otion of hel& for i"&risoned ho"ose)uals and later <since 1552 till 2444> &ublished a s&ecial
ne!sletter for the" <Lasareno 2444a>
21
. *i"ilar acti+ists soon sho!ed the"sel+es u& in T+er7%
8o+osibirs% Barnaul and other centers. ,nfortunately% they usually did not ha+e "uch &ublic
+isibility or constant &ossibility to &artici&ate in acti+ities in the center. Three &ersons fro" Barnaul
and ;rasnoyars +isited ?osco! and *t. Petersburg in the su""er of 1551 and after returning began
their local initiati+es. 8atalia I+ano+a tried to begin a /the"atic0 radio in ;rasnoyars <Essig 1555% &.
9'>% and t!o acti+ists in Barnaul established a regional NGO 6Sie%ia$ I$itiative7 as soon as in
21
In AL$% a"ong other "aterials of the 1552 Conference% ;li"o+7s registration for" for the conference is e&t.
45
1552. They both &artici&ated in the Triangle conference in 1552% but their interests !ere targeted
"ainly to!ards anti-AI=* &rogra"s. This 8$:% lead by Menia"in Molno+% is +ery acti+e today in
(IMCAI=*-ser+ice &rogra"s and education
22
.
Thus% the e"ergence of se)uality "inorities7 organi.ations too &lace in different &arts of the
country si"ultaneously. The ca&ital cities had the biggest concentration of these acti+ities% and their
co"&arison !ould hel& to discern "ain trends of the co""unity7s de+elo&"ent.
It is &ossible to discern three "ain trends in the sha&e of the organi.ations7 acti+ities. The first one%
a /radical "olitical trend0% is surely re&resented by the A*?% !hich !as a &roduct of acti+ities of a
close% through not closed grou& of coo&erators. They !ere in search of a &ro&er organi.ational for"%
!hich !ould be a +ehicle for their &ublic acti+ities.
Another discernible trend in the "o+e"ent should be attributed to the acti+ities of grou&s such as
the editing collecti+e of 1I*; and /Argo0 Bournals <!ith :rtano+ and =". ;u."in as leaders>%
Tchaio+sy Eond in *t. Petersburg% and regional grou&s lie the one gathered in T+er7 by Alesei
Minogrado+. These grou&s !ere based on the &re+iously e)isting net!or but they !ere less
&olitici.ed and targeted at the urgent needs of the co""unity. They tried to a+oid any o&en
confrontation !ith the authorities and &ossibly !ere not ready to "ae full /co"ing out0.
The third trend I !ould define as orientation at /"urely cultural0 &roBects% although nobody could
dra! shar& boards bet!een culture i"itati+e and &olitical &osition. They !ere "ost characteristic for
lesbian organi.ations% lie /?:LLI0 <?osco! Association of Lesbians in Literature and *cience>% or
:lga ;rau.e7s &roBects% and +arious s"all short-li+ed grou&s. They intentionally a+oided &oliti.ationF
an acti+e coo&eration !ith anti-AI=* and "edicine organi.ations !as not an urgent and i"&ortant
issue for the" <since (IMCAI=* issues !ere not so i"&ortant for lesbians>. They concentrated on the
establish"ent of co""unicati+e s&ace for &eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality. This trend "ay "e
na"ed /the line of co""unity7s culture de+elo&"ent0. These three trends should be understood as
22
Its !ebsite@ !!!.sibin.ru. The analogous organi.ation !as officially registered in To"s 24.45.1552F it !as 1egional
:rgani.ation Astarta.
#4
ideal strategies of &ossible grou& acti+ities of the described &eriod% and used as ty&ology of these
acti+ities.
It "ay be seen that the struggle for hu"an rights did not ha+e a strong su&&ort in the co""unity at
that ti"e <although it !as &roclai"ed as an ai" of their struggle>. A"ong the organi.ations in the
ca&itals7% only ;rylia insisted on the necessity to !or o+er the legislation and to co""unicate !ith
the officials in order to ha+e adeAuate re&resentation of the ho"ose)uals7 &osition in la! "aing
<&erha&s% due to the &ersonal e)&ertise of its founder>. The de+elo&"ent of the co""unity% !ith its
<ho"oerotic> culture and facilitation of infor"ation e)change !ere the "ost i"&ortant &ers&ecti+e of
!or for the "aBority of the acti+ists% es&ecially after 1552. At that ti"e% the hu"an rights discourse
!as not de"anded at all. I can suggest% that in the circu"stances of /de"ocrati.ation eu&horia0 of the
early 1554s% !ith its selebration of unbelie+able liberali.ation% securing of /hu"an rights0 see"ed an
al"ost sol+ed &roble" for the ne!born% de"ocrati.ed 1ussia.
The history of this &eriod reflects "ain features of grou& e"ergence in that ti"e@
1> As I ha+e already &ointed out% the organi.ations !ere grounded on the basis of s"all
co""unities and infor"al net!ors that e)isted before the &eriod of legiti"ation. The fast and
si"ultaneous e"ergence of se)ual "inorities7 acti+is"s all o+er the country !ould not ha+e been
&ossible !ithout this co""unity.
2> The organi.ations that a&&eared at that ti"e !ere "ade by indi+iduals and e)isted only by their
&ersonal efforts. ConseAuently% the leaders could o&enly loo at their registered and <"ore often> non-
registered organi.ations as a +ehicle for reali.ation of their o!n &roBects. At the sa"e ti"e% the
international conte)t &ro+ided the" !ith considerably easy o&&ortunities to !or on !ith
international funds and nets. The organi.ations effecti+ely &ro"oted their founders to ha+e an access
to the /!orld L$BT co""unity0. Al"ost all the leading figures of the "o+e"ent laced solid social
and cultural ca&ital% but in that situation they could in+ent their o!n ne! social &ractice. This
state"ent !on7t relate to e+eryone of the" eAually. Eor e)a"&le% :rtano+ and ;uharsy%
authoritati+e leaaders as they !ere% dis&layed co"&arable /"odesty0 in their &olitical clai"s fro" the
#1
+ery beginning. They follo!ed another strategy@ they only needed to sociali.e their interests% to get an
o&&ortunity to de+elo& their /&referable0 &ractice% but had no reason to beca"e actors of a &ublic
&olitical scene. :rtano+ too &art in e"ergence and design of three "ain editions@ Tema <!ith
;alinin>% R9S2 <continued by ="itry ;u."in> and Argo. Although the t!o latter &roBects certainly
had &olitical i"&ortance% in ter"s of o&en &erfor"ing gay identity% :rtano+7s "ain ai" !as to
de+elo& a ne! ind of edition N an art Bournal for gays rese"bling the sa"&les he had seen abroad
22
.
This acti+ity !as ter"inated
24
by the econo"ic crisis of 1556. ;uharsy successfully continued his
cultural and legal initiati+es@ ha+ing high social status and cultural and social ca&itals% he !as able not
to de&end on financial su&&ort fro" abroad too "uch. These t!o leaders <as !ell as the initiators of
that "ay be na"ed /classic0 gay business lie *hatalo+ </Glagol$+ &ublishing house> and Abaturo+
<fa"ous de+elo&er of first gay clubs in ?osco!>> had another strategy of sociali.ation of their
acti+ities in fa+or of se)ual "inorities. They a+oided additional &oliti.ation of their acti+ities. It !as
interesting that they had both been abroad before and had "utual relations !ith foreign L$BT
co""unities. Thus% stage of acAuaintance !ith &ossible "odels of beha+ior of a L$BT "o+e"ent
leader !as not so crucially i"&ortant for the" as for /younger0 leaders.
2> In "any cases% it !ould be easy to discern a ga& bet!een the leaders% !ho could afford
international tra+els <funded by foreign L$BT funds>% and /"ere0 "e"bers of the co""unity. The
Perestroia o&ened ne! o&&ortunities and chances but not e+erybody could use the" eAually. The
ne! field of grant-based acti+ities in "utual coo&eration !ith foreign &artners needed ne! techniAues
of coo&eration !hich !ere not accessible to &art of the co""unity. Ero" the &ers&ecti+e of a
&artici&ant of the "o+e"ent% it see"ed that the se+eral "ain organi.ations and their leaders !ere in
constant co"&etition for foreign grants. Their acti+ity did not acAuire full legiti"acy in the
co""unity !hich !as outside of the fund-raising acti+ities that !ere "ore or less /nor"al0 for the
"anage"ent of these ne! organi.ations. At the sa"e ti"e% the lacs of organi.ational e)&erience
22
(e e+en "anaged an official registration of /Argo0 as /gay erotic Bournal0 in 1554F that registration !as "entioned as a
feature of factually high le+el of tolerance to se)ual "inorities a"ong officials in that short &eriod.
24
Another &o&ular gay erotic edition% Partner% disa&&eared at the sa"e ti"e because of the sa"e reason <;irsano+ 2449%
&. 444>.
#2
lead to the !asting of recei+ed "oney. Perha&s% !e should suggest that in that situation% it !as easier
for the young organi.ations to find financial su&&ort than to use it &ro&erly. The stage of
&rofessionali.ation of 8$: acti+ity ca"e later% in ti"es then the "ain organi.ations described abo+e
!ere o+er. Thus% then the &artici&ants of the co""unity of that ti"e !ould s&ea about the realities
of organi.ational &roBects% regrets of the i"&ro&er e)&enditure of "oney often !ould ha+e been
heard.
4> ?any organi.ations of that ti"e had si"ilarities in their agenda@ &olitical unification of the
co""unity in struggle for decri"inali.ation% infor"ation su&&ort of the co""unity life co"bined
!ith &ublic introduction of ne! nor"s of lesbian and gay culture. In 1552% the first ai" !as achie+ed.
8e)t &olitical obBecti+e% !hich !ould continue "obili.e the co""unity to "o+e"ent - struggle
against discri"ination R !as not e+en for"ulated in a co""only acce&ted !ay. The tas of
infor"ation su&&ort !ould be "ore effecti+ely sol+ed by the Internet. The initial se+ere lac of
infor"ation !as not so i"&ortant to the "id-1554s. That7s !hy these acti+ities% nurtured by the
Perestroia% had to undergo structural transfor"ation.
In this analysis% I do not touch one i"&ortant as&ect of the se)ual "inorities7 co"ing out in the
&ost-so+iet 1ussia% !hich should be discussed in details in any historical research of this &eriod. I
"ean the set of &roble"s of anti-AI=* acti+ities and &rogra"s. In fact% the e"ergence of AI=* that
funda"entally changed the L$BT co""unity e)istence all o+er the !orld Bust in that ti"e <as !ell as
hu"anind7s relation to its se)uality in general>% no less influenced the for"s of the "o+e"ent7s self-
organi.ation. In the *o+iet ,nion% the first official registration of AI=* ha&&ened on 1 of ?arch
156'% but the state officials !ere not ready to discuss &re+enti+e "easures or to in+ite any ne!
"ethods to fight against the e&ide"ic <Allo+a 1566>. In the ,**1% unlie other countries%
ho"ose)uals !ere al"ost ne+er "entioned in the discussion of the e&ide"ic% "ainly because they
!ere not /recogni.able0 for the &ublic eye in that ti"e. The allegedly /guilty grou&s0 !ere drug
addicts <nar(omany3 and &rostitutes. (o!e+er% ho"ose)ual "en-acti+ists &layed an i"&ortant role in
distribution of the no!ledge about the disease. These acti+ities relate to the second trend.
#2
#ha-te% @3 As-e&ts !" R'ssia$ se4'al mi$!%ities= m!veme$t
R'ssia$ se4'al mi$!%ities= m!veme$t a$) $ati!$al -!liti&s
If there are no gays in =u"a W1ussian *tate &arlia"entX%
the =u"a is not re&resentati+e.
Igor ;on <cited by :rtano+>
Although% I ha+e &resu&&osed in the &re+ious cha&ter that the first &eriod of the se)ual "inorities7
"o+e"ent in the &ost-*o+iet 1ussia ca"e to its end in &eriod bet!een 1554-1556% it does not "ae
sense to try to define a &recise date of its di"inishing. Laurie Essig taes the disintegration of the
Center Triangle in 1559 as such land"ar e+ent% !hereas so"e of "y infor"ants !ould rather
"ention the financial crisis in the su""er of 1556. The "o+e"ent !as gradually transfor"ed along
!ith the transfor"ation of the !hole social syste". Thus% it !ould "ae sense to co"&are different
as&ects of the first &eriod acti+ities !ith these that ha+e a&&eared in the second one and still continue
to e)ist no!adays. Lea+ing aside the o+erall transfor"ation of the &ost-*o+iet 1ussian society% I !ill
concentrate in this section on the "o+e"ent7s atte"&t to &artici&ate in national &olitics. This
&ers&ecti+e of their acti+ity !as the "ost +isible for the citi.ens of the country and% at the sa"e ti"e%
forced the co""unity to reflect on its identity and &ublic &resentation.
By /-!liti5ati!$0 I "ean transfor"ing a grou& of acti+ists into a &olitical subBect !ho tries to force
other &olitical subBects of the country consider its clai"s and so"eho! collaborate. 8ot e+ery grou&
of acti+ists !ould need to enter the &olitical field. (o!e+er% so"eti"es the grou& finds it necessary to
attract &ublic o&inion to achie+e its basic obBecti+es. *o"eti"es it is &ersonal interest of the grou&7s
leader. In general% certain &oliti.ation regularly acco"&anies rises of social acti+ities% so in this &eriod
it ha&&ened too.
:ne of the ob+ious distinctions bet!een the first and the second &eriod of the "o+e"ent is their
relation to <i"aginary and &roBected> inter+ention into state inner &olitics. In its initial &eriod% the
#4
"o+e"ent !as "ore &olitici.ed% then in late 1554s. There !ere acti+ists and organi.ations !ho tried
to &resent the"sel+es in the &olitical field. This cannot be said about the second &eriod. Belo!% I
outline the &olitical acti+ities of the first &eriod. I s&ea about different trends in the "o+e"ents7 self-
organi.ation <as they ha+e been characteri.ed in &re+ious section>% !ith a s&ecial attention to the
/&olitical0 trend% and co"&are the". Abo+e I ha+e concentrated on the organi.ational &rocess in the
co""unity% thus no! I !ould loo at their relation to the &olitical &rocess.
In the ?osco! &art of the co""unity% the &oliti.ation !as reinfoced by the re&resentati+es of the
/radical0 trend% and it cul"inated in the Center Triangle7s efforts to establish coo&eration !ith
&arlia"entary &olitical &arties and social "o+e"ents. The /radicals0 did not ha+e a chance to de+elo&
any long-ter" strategy of !oring !ith other &olitical actors or the state a&&aratus. :ne can say that
their &olitics !as to construct and declare a &olitical &osition of se)ual "inorities7 co""unity as
suc!. The second line in &olitical acti+ity% oriented to!ards coo&eration !ith state &o!er and gradual
i"&ro+e"ent of the condition of ho"ose)uals in the society% is re&resented in that &eriod al"ost
solely by the ;rylia. Its "ain targets !ere <and !ould be> anti-discri"ination of ho"ose)ulity and
resistance to +arious e"erging &roBects of such discri"inatory la!-"aing.
The !hole &oliti.ation of the "o+e"ent began as consolidation in the struggle for
decriminali)ation. The ai" of non'discrimination !as articulated at the sa"e ti"e% too% but its
&ossible legal decisions !ere not strictly defined at that ti"e. *urely% the +ery &ublic a&&earance of
&eo&le !ho ca"e out% de"anding for the abolition of the legal &rosecution !as i"&ortant. This
&olitical clai" recei+ed its social su&&ort !hile signatures gathering &rocesses. :ne of effects of
struggle for decri"inali.ation !as te"&orary unification of lesbian and gay grou&s in their &olitical
struggle. In the "o"ent of the article7s re&ose% this &o!erful factor of gathering and coo&eration
+anished. The ne)t and &ers&ecti+e ai" of the acti+ities !ould be struggle against discri"ination. But
the ne)t ten years !ould not see any rise of social resistance on the side of se)ual "inorities.
There !ere se+eral ca"&aigns of signature gathering% in !hich different strata of elites !ere
in+ol+ed. The "ost !ell no!n action !as an act of gathering signatures for decri"inali.ation a"ong
##
"usicians% organi.ed by underground &erfor"er Mladi"ir Meselin <artistic &seudony">
2#
. Mlad
:rtano+ did the sa"e a"ong scientists and acade"ics% and :lga ;rau.e R a"ong "iddle class
intelligentsia in LeningradC*t Petersburg. It "ust be noted% that gathering signatures under o&en
letters and &rocla"ations !as a ty&ical for" of &olitical &artici&ation during the *o+iet &eriod. It
ob+iously had an affir"ati+e effect in constituting elites7 &ositi+e o&inion for the decri"inali.ation.
Authoritati+e Bournals and ne!s&a&ers su&&orted this de"and in their &ublications. An o&en letter
to the state authorities !ith the de"and to decri"inali.e ho"ose)uality and guarantee the rights of
se)ual "inorities !as &ublished in a &o&ular ne!s&a&er
29
in 1565 soon after the establish"ent of
A*?. It !as% &ossibly% the first &ublic state"ent of &olitical interest and obBecti+es of the se)ual
"inorities% an a&&arent feature of their co"ing out.
The infa"ous article 121.1 !as re&osed along !ith the &rocess of refor"ation of the &enal
legislation. It !as not at all an ans!er by the state authorities7 to the acti+is"% but as a &art of a
routine bureaucratic &rocedure. The ey figure !as &rof. Alesei Ignato+
2'
. Being one of the "ost
e)&erienced e)&erts in la!% he !as in+ol+ed into the ne! la!7s draft &re&aration &rocess and used
this o&&ortunity to eli"inate the infa"ous article fro" the code. Eor hi"% se)ual beha+ior could not
be a subBect for cri"inal la!% for it had nothing co""on !ith a cri"e <unless +iolence !as in+ol+ed>.
*ince 1551% he e&t in touch !ith se+eral se)ual "inorities7 acti+ists% ad+ocating their interests !ith
the full authority of a distinguished la! e)&ert. In the end of the day% consensual ho"ose)ual acts
bet!een adults !ere decri"inali.ed <$essen 1554% ;on 155#% Petro+ 2449>. The decri"inali.ation
had been !idely discussed and &rotested in the co""unity% but the +ery action ha&&ened !ithout
direct &artici&ation of the "o+e"ent.Although there !ere uncertainties in the legislation about se)ual
cri"es% no!n and dis&uted by the e)&erts% the ground &roble" !as totally sol+ed. Eor the "aBority
of the co""unity% it !as all they drea"t of.
2#
Meselin is a bise)ual inde&endent roc-"usician !ho ca"e out in early 1554s. Although he is not often "entioned in
articles about the history of the "o+e"ent% his o&enly Aueer &erfor"ances !ere i"&ortant for the legiti"ation of &ublic
Aueerness in 1ussian /inde&endent0 culture in 1554s <;irsano+ 244#% &. 492-96>.
29
In !as /*PI=-Info0 <AI=*-Info>% not an official ne!s&a&er% but the one that !as &o&ular and read all o+er the country
<$essen 2442>. `uic de+elo&"ent of "edia s&here along !ith its liberali.ation created a situation in !hich se)ual
"inorities e+en did not ha+e to struggle to a&&ear in "ass "edia. 8obody !ould seriously stand against it.
2'
Personal infor"ation about hi" <in 1ussian>@ htt&@CCla!.edu.ruC&ersonC&erson.as&3&ersI=v1121295.
#9
Eor co"&arison% in ne!born ,raine decri"inali.ation ha&&ened t!o years earlier@ the 14th la!
a&&ro+ed by the ne! national go+ern"ent after ,raine beco"e inde&endent% decri"inali.ed
ho"ose)uality <mu)!elo)!st#o3. It ha&&ened in =ece"ber% 12% 1551 <Blue Boo 2444>.
A great &art of the co""unity distanced itself fro" any o&en &olitical clai"s. Eor e)a"&le such
leader as ?ila ,gol7o+a% co-founder of ?:LLI <see"ingly the "ost i"&ortant &urely lesbian grou&
of the early 1554s> tried to concentrate on the de+elo&"ent of /lesbian art0 and a+oid &olitical
confrontations <Essig 1555% &.'2F Certlich7s inter+ie!>. The "aBority !as satisfied by the
decri"inali.ation and thought that the ho"o&hobic attitude of the &o&ulation should be transfor"ed
&ri"arily by cultural and social introduction of the +ery idea of non-nor"ati+e se)uality <ho"oerotic>
into the life of the country. It "eant that they concentrated on the de+elo&"ent of their &articular
acti+ities !ithout any atte"&t to offer co""on &olitical agenda for the !hole co""unity.
There !as no &erson !ho !ould try to "ae a &olitical &rogra" based on the se)ual "inorities7
clai"s <&ossibly% included into a broad &olitical agenda>. The only atte"&t !as "ade by 1o"an
;alinin. In 1551% he announced that he !ould be a candidate in Presidential elections fro" the
Libertarian Party <established soon before on the basis of 1ussian branch of the Transnational 1adical
Party>. In fact% he hardly could &artici&ate in elections because of his age% so it !as Bust a ind of
e)tra+agant gesture. This de"onstrati+e /co"ing out0 !as !idely discussed in the national &ress
26
.
,ntil the Eirst gay-&ride in 2449% this case !as% &erha&s% the "ost !ell no!n case of gay7s &olitical
&artici&ation <;irsano+ 244#% &. 461-462F La.areno 2444>. *i"ultaneously% a recless inter+ie!
!ith ;alinin !as !idely distributed by national "ass-"edia and that &ublication !as e+en discussed
in a court as offensi+e. ;alinin and his friends also "anaged the first 1ussian festi+al of se)ual
"inorities in the Dune of 1551% !hose initially &roBected "otto !as /Turn 1ed sAuare into &in
trianglesO0 As ;on rightly "entioned that "otto reflected not only the courage of the /radicals0 but
also their A"erican &artner7s ignorance% and could beca"e a &ure &ro+ocation
25
.
26
:rtano+ re"e"bers that a student of hi"% !ho !as far fro" any &olitics% told hi" she !ould +ote only for ;alinin. In
"y inter+ie!% he retold this story including it into his o!n re-e+aluation of ;alinin7s acti+ities of that ti"e. Eor hi"% the
student7s utterance !as a sign of the &ublic acno!ledge"ent of ;alinin7s acti+ities.
25
I$L(1C leaflet% 1551 <AL$>. The "otto !as disclai"ed after &rotests of "any authoritati+e acti+ists lie :rtano+ and
;on hi"self <Inter+ie! !ith ;on>.
#'
*ince 1552% the "ain agent of the &olitical &ositioning beca"e the Center Triangle <since 1552>%
!hich gathered together the "ain acti+ists of ?osco! ho"ose)uals7 co""unity. At this &eriod%
1o"an ;alinin left the field of &ublic &olitical acti+ity for his o!n &roBect% the first ?osco! gay club
/,nderground0F thus he e"bodied the co""on trend to de-&olitisation and concentration on &ri+ate
business enter&rises. This ind of turn is ty&ical for acti+ists of his /generation0.
The Center Triangle7s strategy !as to influence the &olitical decision "aing in fields !hich !ere
i"&ortant for the co""unity. In 5 of Dune% 1559% they sent at least one letter to *tate =u"a
Co""ittee for Wo"en% Ea"ily and Pouth !ith de"and to consider the sa"e-se) fa"ilies in the
&roBect of the ne! *tate Ea"ily Code
44
. In the sa"e day% a national conference about L$BT issues
had to tae &lace under Triangle7s "anage"ent
41
. The Triangle e+en sent a congratulation letter to
ne!ly-elected President of the ,*A Bill Clinton
42
. `uite e)&ectedly% none of the letters !as ans!ered
or other!ise co""ented by the authorities.
While the Third conference% an unusual ally !as found a"ong :rthodo) Christian &riests. A s"all
religious grou& calling itself the 1ussian :rthodo) Catholic Church sent a letter !ith blessing and
congratulation to the &artici&ants of the conference
42
. Although this religious grou& !as highly
"arginali.ed in :rthodo) Christianity% the act of co""unication &ossibly could be used as a
&recedent of coo&eration bet!een se)ual "inoritiesG "o+e"ent and a di+ision of Christian Church.
The Center Triangle had a !ide range of acti+ities ai"ed to &osition itself as a &olitical actor. In
this acti+ity% it fully de+elo&ed the /&olitical orientation0 of the ?osco! se)ual "inorities7
44
The letter is in AL$% file 9#. It is !ritten there that there !ere about 6 "illions of ho"ose)uals li+ing in the sa"e-se)
cou&les in the country. I consider this nu"ber +ery o+eresti"ated% but I cannot say !hether it !as an atte"&t to influence
the officials <i. e. conscious disinfor"ation> or the Trangle si"&ly did not care about the factual nu"ber.
41
The infor"ation leaflet is in AL$% file 9#.
42
AL$% file 9#.
42
This /Church0 !as established by ?ihail Anashin and ?anuil Plato+% both of !ho" later !ere accused of &edo&hilia
and atte"&ts of ho"ose)ual ra&e <untitled ne!s at htt&@CC!!!.rus.ruCne!sdata.&h&3idarv244#64F last access
21.4#.244'>. There !ere "any ho"ose)uals in its co""unity. According to a !ell-no!n s&ecialist in history of church
in 1ussia f. Pao+ ;roto+% this /church0 has not and is not being acno!ledged a"ong other church officials in ?osco!%
and did not "irror the :rthodo) church7s &osition at all. It "ust be stated% further% that their &ersonal interests to non-
nor"ati+e se)uality% their &ublic action as the heads of the /church0 follo! the sa"e logics of coo&eration bet!een
"arginal &ositions !ith &ossible e"ergence of a shared solidarity as a result of the coo&eration. In the letter of the church%
a &roBect of an official docu"ent about the church7s relation to the sa"e-se) se)ual relations is "entioned. These &eo&le
tired to refra"e inter&retation of their o!n se)ual intentions e+en &acing into religious orthodo)yGs do"ain.
#6
co""unity. The first issue of its ne!sletter% /The Bulletin0% included /the o&inions of gay acti+ists
about the :ctober
44
e+ents0.
As !as "entioned abo+e% A*? !as established by the sa"e &erson that founded fa"ous
=e"ocratic ,nion <=*> t!o years before. This "utual coo&eration !ith a leftist <in that &eriod>
&olitical "o+e"ent !as an e)ce&tional case% that ha&&ened because of !ar" relation to the se)ual
"inorities7 struggle fro" the &art of the =* leader Maleria 8o+od+orsaya. *he &ublicly a&&ro+ed
their acti+ities% although did not &artici&ate in the". Another de"ocratic &olitician !ho &ublicly
su&&orted the" !as *t.Petersburg &olitician $alina *taro+oito+a
4#
. They both !ere e)ce&tional
&oliticians !ith highly indi+iduali.ed &olitical &ositions. 8obody else dared to follo! the"@ as the
Center /Triangle0 stated in the end of 155#% none of influential &oliticians fro" left and right ca"&s
alie agreed to su&&ort the "o+e"ent and include its clai"s into their &olitical &rogra"s
49
.
At the sa"e ti"e% the "o+e"ent found Ghel&ersG a"ong radical nationalists. At the sa"e articles
"entioned abo+e the Triangle &roclai"ed about negotiations !ith the 8ational-Bolshe+is Party
<8BP>% recently found by Ed!ard Li"ono+. Li"ono+ hi"self !as no!n as a reluctant /&o&ulari.er0
of ho"ose)uality in 1ussia due to his fascinating descri&tion of his sa"e-se) ad+entures in 8e!
Por in /It7s "e% Eddie0 no+el
4'
. Another &olitical leader !ho &ro"ised su&&ort !as Mladi"ir
Hhirino+sy% !hose &ersonal relation to ho"ose)uality !as a"biguous for the &ublic <Tuller 1556%
&&.152-15#>. At the sa"e ti"e% the !ell-no!n gay Bournalist and &oet Parosla+ ?ogutin &ublished
o&enly nationalistic articles
46
% and Hhirino+sy suggested hi" &osition of his &ress-secretary. ?ogutin
reBected it.
,ntil the "id-1554s% the 1ussian se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent failed to find any su&&ort or
coo&eration fro" &olitical &arties and "o+e"ents. This "ay be e)&lained% &ri"arily% by co""on
44
The tae-o+er of the state &o!er co""itted by Boris El7tsin at 2-4 of :ctober.
4#
Inter+ie! !ith :lga ;rau.e. $alina *atro+oito+a !as one of the "ain 1ussian urban ethnologists. In the late
Perestroia% she had beco"e fa"ous in the country as an e)&ert in hu"an rights and in nationalists "o+e"ents. *he !as
"urdered in 1556.
49
Mechernya ?os+a% 21. 11. 155#F *e) i &olitia7 <*e) and &olitics> Rin@ P,US Center% t#4% 1554. Both article !ithout
authorshi&. In the last one t!o &hotos are &rinted% of =ebryansaya and Li"ono+ res&ecti+ely.
4'
It !as e)tre"ely &o&ular in the country in that ti"e. Then /$lagol0 &ublishing house had been established to &ublish
gay literature% this no+el !as its first and the "ost successful &roduct <;irsano+% 2449% &. 446-#4>
46
Lie the one@ ?ogutin 155#. This scandalous "en !as threatened by state security ser+ices and finally recei+ed
&olitical asylu" in the ,*A.
#5
ho"o&hobia of the &olicy "aers and the "o+e"ents7 inability to &resent itself as a &ers&ecti+e
&artner !ho !ould hel& !ith "ass "obili.ations. Thus% se+eral leaders decided to find coo&eration on
the side of "arginal &olitical grou&s <&arties>% !ho had Bust e"erged and !ere less constrained by
co""on /rules of the &olitical ga"e0 in their search for coo&eration
45
. Laurie Essig "inutely
describes this /nationalistic0 trend in &olitical self-&ositioning of se+eral leaders of the 1ussian
/Aueer co""unity0 <1555% ch. '>. (o!e+er% she does not clarify% to that e)tent the co""unity has
been% in fact% i"&acted by these initiati+es of its leaders. I thin she o+eresti"ates the influence of
both ?ogutin and =ebryansaya in the co""unity. The o+er!hel"ing "aBority in the co""unity
has been and still is intuiti+ely liberal in their &olitical &references. (o!e+er% one of t!e
c!aracteristic features of t!e "eriod is t!at t!e "arties and mo#ements !o by t!eir claims s!ould
su""ort t!is ?o""ressed$ social grou" o"enly ignored t!em.
At the sa"e ti"e% the utraditions0 of hu"an rights su&&ort !as continued by the ;rylia% led al"ost
in solitude by Alesandr ;uharsy. *ince its a&&earance% this organi.ation !as "onitoring the la!s.
Possibly% the "ain case in !hich the ;rylia7s legal e)&erience and social ca&ital !as to be used to
influence on the la!-"aers% ha&&ened in 2442% !hen anti-&ornogra&hy legislation !as "ade "ore
strict <and lea+ing &lace for "isinter&retation> and the age of consent <for both se)es> !as raised u&
fro" 14 to 19 years. The efforts to influence the "ass o&inion and rise u& a &rotest in elites !ere
unsuccessful
#4
.
A co"&arison of the for"s of the se)ual "inorities7 &resence in &olitics !ith other countries7
e)a"&les sho!s that so"e &ossible "ethods !ere not used. Eor e)a"&le% /outing0 <&roclai"ing that
&oliticians !ho are against ho"ose)uality are intended to or actually are secretly engaged in sa"e-
se) relations> !as not a&&ro&riated as &olitical "ethod. In countries lie the ,*A% /outing0 of
&ro"inent figures% hostile to se)ual "inorities% is a !idely used "ethod of the "o+e"entGs &olitical
&osition i"&ro+e"ent <Dohansson and Percy 1554>. It is highly &roble"atic tool in "any as&ects but
45
The latter cannot be said% surely% about Mladi"ir Hhirino+sy% !ho !as and !ould be an absolute uniAue figure in
1ussian &olitical landsca&e R &erfor"ing as "ainstrea" and "arginal charis"atic &oliticain si"ultaneously.
#4
A"ong other actions% ;uharsy send a letter to the office of President M. Putin. The docu"ents of the &ole"ics are in@
A"ollo@ 9nformation *ulletin. <2442> t2.
94
it is used. In 1ussia% this &rocedure !as not a&&ro&riated by the co""unity and did not beca"e a
"ethod of &olitical acti+ity. The /outing0 entirely !as left entirely to the &ul& &ress% !hich surely
!ould do it in its notorious "anner and could only reinforce ho"o&hobia and /ho"ose)ual &anic0 in
the society
#1
.
In the ,*A and other English-s&eaing countries% the early 1554s !ere a &eriod of the /Aueer-
nation0 "o+e"ent. In 1ussia% there !ere no traces of this "o+e"ent. :nly ="itry Lyche+7s articles
sho! his co""it"ent to!ards conte"&orary discussions in the international co""unity. The ne!s
and translations in the gay &ress of that &eriod told e)clusi+ely about /"ainstrea"0 L$BT
co""unity life !ith a &re+ailing interest to the e+eryday life of the gay and lesbian co""unities
abroad. The actual interests of the co""unity !ere ai"ed to!ards unor"ali.ation7 <as Eoucault &ut it
<15'6>>% thus the te)ts &ublished in the editions narrated about /nor"al0 life of se)ual "inorities in
the West. Their &olitical &ractices !ere not discussed as &ossible &atterns of acti+ists% e+en if not
neglected at all.
With the disintegration of Triangle7s core acti+ists grou&% the &eriod of <unsuccessful> &oliti.ation
of the "o+e"ent !as finished. In "eant that 1ussian /se)ual "inorities0 did not acAuire any &olitical
re&resentation and their clai"s !ere not introduced in the &olitical agenda. The acti+ities de+elo&ed
after 1559 follo!ed other strategiesF they did not dare to enter the &olitical field as a res&onsible and
acti+e actor. Eor the ne)t ten years% their acti+ity !as de-&olitici.ed. Leaders of the &re+ious &eriod
!ere busy !ith their &ri+ate li+es
#2
. The econo"ic difficulties of sur+i+al in /Peltsin 1ussia0 !ere
"entioned by all the res&ondents of the /elder generation0F they !ere not able to sustain the &re+ious
le+el of acti+ity because of the necessity to sur+i+e
#2
. This &eriod also beca"e a ti"e of generation
change. E)&erience of the &re+ious leaders !as not inherited by ne! acti+ists% !ho established their
o!n ne! grou&s and organi.ations.
#1
Eor e)a"&le Boris ?oisee+% a fa"ous dancer and &erfor"er% suffered of beco"ing a hero of yello! &ress and turned
into a sy"bol of gay life for ho"o&hobic audience.
#2
?asha $essen !ored intensi+ely as Bournalist <$essen% 155'>% =ebryansaya had her o!n s"all business % se+eral *t.
Petersburg acti+ists e"igrated etc.
#2
To &ro+ide a striing e)a"&le% I can refer to :lga ;rau.e7s obituary for *ergei *cherbao+. *he described in it ho!
*ergei tried to re"o+e his na"e fro" his uni+ersity =i&lo"a in order to sell the &a&er out and buy so"e food <;rau.e
244'>.
91
To conclude this cha&ter% I !ill briefly characteri.e the ne! &eriod% !hich &erha&s still continues
today. This ne! &eriod had three "ain features@
1> The gay and lesbian co""unity !as de&ri+ed of &olitical &artici&ation and alienated itself fro"
the &ublic sceneF there !ere no bright e+ents or scandalous cases around the co""unity. The se)ual
"inorities7 acti+ities began to concentrate in s&ecial &laces% that Bust had a&&eared <clubs% Internet-
chats% se"inars
#4
>.
2> The transfor"ation of relations in the co""unity caused by fast de+elo&"ent of the Internet
!ith its +ariety of o&tion for co""unications and search for /si"ilar &eo&le0@ infor"ation needs of
the co""unity as !ell as of the &re+iously e)isted gay and lesbian "edia no! could be satisfied by it
&erfectly !ell. 8arto+a% telling "e about the life of the lesbian co""unity% re&eatedly "entioned
Internet-sites as the "ain and sufficient source of no!ledge about the ne!s% educational infor"ation
and announce"ents. *he &ersonally does not need no! to +isit any lesbian-oriented "eetings or
actions because Internet &ro+ides all the infor"ation and co""unication she needs.
2> The gay and lesbian infrastructure began to de+elo& itself according to the ne! logic of
&rofessionali.ed 8$: organi.ations and <latterly> social "o+e"ents. Although the first e)&eri"ental
discos and club &arties ca"e bac to the +ery beginning of 1554s
##
% in the second &art of the 1554s
this business beca"e "ore serious and influential@ clubs "ade in that ti"e e)isted till the recent ti"e
or still o&erate today. In fact% it !as true ti"e of genuine e"ergence of club culture in 1ussian cities.
*&eaing about *t. Petersburg lesbian co""unity after 155#% 8ade.hda 8arto+a describes the
&eriod as the ti"e of concentration on /education0. *e"inars and grou& discussions after "o+ie
screening beca"e "ain ty&ical and de"anded for" of acti+ity.
I thin the struggle !as not often discussed at all. In 1554s% there !as a feeling that
&eo&le !ere afraid and ho"o&hobic because they did not no!. 8either did the
heterose)ual elites no!. *o% !e should educate &eo&le and thereby nor"ali.e
oursel+es !ith that. But about &olitical initiati+esU nobody ne! ho! to organi.e
it% these co"&anies% &artici&ation. They still do not no! it !ellU
#4
In the AL$ is e&t a collection of &rogra"s and announce"ents of educati+e se"inars about sa"e-se) se)uality and
(IMCAI=* &re+ention% organi.ed in the &eriod since 1554.
##
The first e)&eri"ental trans+estite &arty !as "anaged in Leningrad as soon as in 1565 by Ti"ur 8o+io+ after his
+isiting `ueen =rag sho!s in the ,*A. It !as ai"ed at Leningrad artistic circles <;irsano+ 244#% &&. 261-62>. Clubs and
discos if the beginning of 1554s described by Essig% hardly !ith a hint of sy"&athy.
92
=uring that &eriod% lesbianis" !as /nor"ali.ed0 and to a certain e)tent e+en ntegrated into the
culture of urban "iddle class young !o"en as an o&tion. 8arto+a harshly critici.es this "ode of
sociali.ation of lesbianis" for its lac of critical and sub+ersi+e &otential. As she e)clai"ed
ironically% /Uand !e all li+e in cou&lesO A fa"ily is the "ost i"&ortant thing for a lesbianO 8o
WreasonsX for fe"inis"O0 Lesbianis" !as successfully% to the e)tent that she s&oe about "iddle-class
young urban city lesbians% sociali.ed according to the "odels offered by consu"er society. Its
cosiali.ation i"&lied reBection of any fe"inist social critics% and total de&oliticisation.
In the early 2444s% the absence of a /real0 co""unity !ith internal grou& solidarity% co""on
interests and a re&resentation of these interests% legiti"i.ed in the co""unity% !as notoriously
acno!ledged by +arious /the"atic0 !riters and Bournalists.
That !as the result of atte"&ts of entering into national &olitics e)ercised by the se)ual "inorities7
acti+ists. They tried to ad+ocate their &olitical interests and establish a &olitical subBect. The
coordination of different /trends0 of the "o+e"ent de+elo&"ent !as not achie+edF neither !as
coo&eration !ith other &olitical actors established. The Center Triangle !as the last organi.ation of
that &eriod !hich had a real chance to accu"ulate recourses% acAuire &ublic attention and &olitici.e
the "o+e"ent effecti+ely. After its disintegration% the "o+e"ent lost its &olitical subBecti+ity.
Nati!$al t%a)iti!$ a$) i$te%$ati!$al LG;T #!mm'$it, i$ the (%!'- i)e$tit, !" ea%l,
R'ssia$ se4'al mi$!%ities= m!veme$t
*e)ual "inorities did not a&&ear in the country /out of the blue0 <as ;e+in ?oss had entitled his
anthology of 1ussian gay &rose>% e+en for "ass consciousness. (o!e+er% the i"age of se)ual
"inorities7 grou&s% their &lace in the cultural syste"% "ore or less acce&table for the &ublic eye% only
had to be designed. It !as a &rocess of in+ention of social identity of an e"erging social grou&. This
identity could be &resented differently to the social en+iron"ent and to the co""unity itself. There
92
!ere different as&ects in constructing of the identity. Let7s ha+e a loo at the co""unity7s relation to
traditions of gay life in 1ussia and abroad.
Ero" the one side% the co""unity had to in+ent its &ro&er &lace in !orld of the global L$BT <or
/se)ual "inorities0% since the for"er abbre+iation !as not in use in the 1ussian co""unity>. Ero"
the other side% they could e)&licitly acno!ledge the history of ho"ose)uality in 1ussia% and try to
&resent the"sel+es as an actual continuation of the gay and lesbian life. The references to the
traditions of the *il+er Age !ith its habits of non-nor"ati+e se)ual beha+ior a"ong art celebrities
<Tchaio+sy and *o&hia Parno !ere a"ong the"> could be "obili.ed as a ind of the co""unity7s
cultural ca&ital.
?y res&ondents often could not re"e"ber any s&ecial interest in the international life neither by
the"sel+es nor by their friends. They certainly read articles in gay and lesbian edition about it% but
they did not e)ercise any s&ecial interest to international e)&erience. At the sa"e ti"e% for "any
&artici&ants of the "o+e"ent% their in+ol+e"ent in non-nor"ati+e se)uality based acti+ities &ro+ided
an ulti"ate &ossibility to co"e abroad. Eoreign L$BT organi.ations in+ite the". /There !ere
Lesbian ga"es Win BerlinXU so nice. We figured out@ !hat ind of s&ort could !e &lay better3
(andball. *o% !e for"ed a !o"en tea". We !ere the last in the line after the co"&etition% but% !ell%
!e got to BerlinO0 <inter+ie! !ith 8atalia>. At the sa"e ti"e% the !hole co""unity !as autono"ous
in the ideas about itself and its future life. They !ere interested in the West% but its "ost i"&ortant
contribution !as in creation of the first organi.ations7 infrastructure. Peo&le beca"e acAuainted !ith
life and &ractices of other co""unities. (o!e+er% they did not tae the organi.ational rationality and
identity as easily as they% &erha&s% !ere e)&ected to do it by their /Western0 &artners.
It is described abo+e% ho! the !ord /gay0 !as a&&ro&riated by the co""unity !ith its
connotations to a /+irtual0% i"aginary lesbigay co""unity in ma(ing. This !as% &ossibly% the "ost
discernible /!estern0 inno+ation in the grou& identity in the &eriod. Although the Western
"issionaries really tried to i"&ort a /!estern0 <"ainly% /A"erican0> !ay of concei+ing the non-
94
nor"ati+e se)uality to this cultural area% they !ere not successful
#9
<loo attenti+e /&artici&ant
obser+ation0 of their action descri&tion by Essig <1551% &. 121-125>>. It "ay be e)&lained% ho!e+er%
by the a+ailability of sufficiently other !ays to &ractice the non-nor"ati+e se)uality in the society
<e)actly !hich Essig decided to na"e /Aueer0>. 1ussian se)ual "inorities already had de+elo&ed a
/nati+e0 tradition of "anaging the non-nor"ati+e se)ual &references and for"ing the indi+idual and
grou& identities based on it. This co""unity had de+elo&ed before the o&enness to the West and
could de&end on its o!n e)&erience. If one had a circle of friends to slee& !ith and s&end ti"e
together% one did not need to a&&ro&riate anyone7s e)&erience Gfro" outsideG.
After the beginning of $lasnost7 e&och signalled by o&ening of the country for foreigners% a
considerable interest a"ong foreign acti+ists to the state of things in the ,**1 arose. They tra+eled
to study the situation to hel& the co""unity% to organi.e and to share their e)&erience <as did =aniel
*hluter <1552>>. When 1ussian se)ual "inorities ca"e out and began to organi.e the"sel+es% they
had a strong su&&ort fro" the West. The West &ro+ided "oney and necessary eAui&"ent% !hereas the
local acti+ists !ere considerably free in their !ays to use these contributions.
A"erican influence !as es&ecially recogni.able in the sha&e of /radical0 trend acti+ities. An
organi.ation called the International $ay and Lesbian (u"an 1ights Co""ission <IGLHR#>% ai"ed
at su&&orting 1ussian L$BT acti+ists% !as established in California in 1554 by ,* citi.ens !ho used
to +isit 1ussia and !anted to ad+ocate for the se)ual "inorities7 struggle there. They &ro"oted ne!
leaders of 1ussian co""unity 1o"an ;alinin and Eugenia =ebryansaya to tra+el across the ,*A in
1554% and organi.ed a serial e+ent in ?osco! and *t. Petersburg in August 1551% such as /the"atic0
"o+ies screenings% &ress-conferences and discussions. The ey figure !as A"erican lesbian acti+ist
and co-founder of I$L(1C Dulie =orf.
Laurie Essig "entioned that the idea of a festi+al !as to beco"e a /1ussian *tone!all0 <1555% &.
122-124>% though she had to ad"it that /1ussian *tone!all0 as an e+ent !orthy !ith co"&arison !ith
#9
(ere and belo!% by the /West0 I "ean Western Euro&e and the ,*A. It does not "ae sense to try to discern bet!een
the ,*A% $er"any and Erance as the countries to !hich these acti+ists !ere &ri"arily oriented. It de&ended on their o!n
circu"stances. I only should "ention that the LeningradC*t. Petersburg lesbian co""unity !as in closer contact !ith
$er"any% !hereas se+eral &ersons fro" ?osco! fin a !ay to the ,*A first. But all these territories "ay be gathered
under one category of /West0 R that is% ca&italistic 8orth Euro&ean and A"erican countries.
9#
the classic e+ent of A"erican gay and lesbian struggle% ne+er occurred <&. 99>. *he critici.es the
a&&roach A"ericans e)ercised to 1ussian acti+ities% and directly classifies it as /colonialis"0. The
A"ericans felt that they had to introduce the e)&erience of the ,* co""unity into this /nati+e0
<vnai+e> and still unorgani.ed co""unity. In this +ein% Essig "ade a disa&&ointing descri&tion
#'
of a
se"inar !hich too &lace as late as in 1554% the" foreigners tried /to teach0 1ussians ho! to be a
gay% a lesbian etc. There really !ere atte"&ts to /e)&ort identities0 there. (o!e+er% !ho !ould
recei+e the"3
In "y inter+ie!s I did not find any strong e+idence of influence by /!estern "o+e"ent
e)&erience0 in construction of acti+ists7 indi+idual and grou& identities. The foreign organi.ations
and /allies0 !ere an indis&ensable source of financial and infor"ation su&&ort% but /1ussians0 did not
follo! their &atterns of self-descri&tion. Possibly due to the rich e)&erience of li+ing in a society
!here the &ri+ateC&ublic s&here !as constructed in another !ay as it as in the <i"agined> West% these
&eo&le already had their o!n &atterns of "aing their e+eryday life <?oss 2442F 8arto+a 2444>. This
is !hat Essig tried to conce&tuali.e as a 1ussian /Aueerness0. *traight /&ro&aganda-styled0 actions
lie /so+iet *tone!all0 of 1551 could not be acce&ted by local lesbians and gays because of the
culture distance and because of non-e)istence of Gidentity-&oliticsG in this society. They ne! that
usual inter&retation of these actions !ould be as nothing but a /&ro&aganda0 !ith a negati+e res&onse
to follo!.
At the sa"e ti"e% a slo! introduction of i"ages of the Western co""unity too &lace - at least% in
the real" of language <se"iotics>. As I ha+e "entioned% the na"e /gay0 !as thoroughly a&&ro&riated%
and /L$BT0 is also in the &rocess of being ado&ted. I sa! rainbo! flags at the ho"es of at least t!o
/old guard0 acti+ists% !hile +isiting the" for inter+ie!s. In 1552 at an anti-AI=* conference%
sy"bols of ACT ,P <the &in triangle !ith signature /SilenceAdeat!O0> !ere used% e+en if the
&artici&ants did not no! the origin of the sign. :riginally% it !as used by 8e! Por anti-AI=* gay
#'
Essig% 1555% ch. '. The sa"e se"inar is described by =a+id Tuller <1556% &&. 116-122>. (e !as se&tical about the
&ossibilities to /teach0 1ussians ho! to be lesbians% gays "en etc.% too.
99
acti+ists in 1569 and beco"e &o&ular due to actions of ACT ,P <AI=* Coalition to ,nleash Po!er>
"o+e"ent in 1566 <Cri"& 1554>.
To su""ari.e it% I !ould suggest that in the 1554s% 1ussian se)ual "inorities successfully
integrated the"sel+es into the econo"ic <financial> infrastructure of the !orld L$BT co""unity%
taing a+ailable &osition of reci&ients% and !ere gradually a&&ro&riating its language. (o!e+er% they
did not &resent the"sel+es as an organic &artici&ant of the global "o+e"ent. This global collecti+e
identity !as only in the &rocess of introduction !ith consu""ation of Western te)ts and acAuiring
no!ledge about se)ual "inorities7 life all o+er the !orld. In the described &eriod% one can hardly
find this attitude to the "o+e"ent in the global conte)t. The se&aration bet!een /!e0 and /they0 !as
still e&t. Co"ing Westerners !ere not &eers. 8either "y res&ondents !ould thin about the national
"o+e"ent and co""unity of that ti"e as local &arts of the global ones. At the sa"e ti"e there !as
no resistance for such ideas% I su&&ose they !ere not a&&ro&riated yet% because the collecti+e identity
!as already &roduced /indigenously0.
:n of the striing features of the "o+e"ent !as its uncertain relation to the tradition. It is no!n
ho! i"&ortant traditions are for defining a social sense of belonging to a grou&. If a &ractice or
identity "ay be &ro+ed to e)ist for a long &eriod of ti"e% this long history effecti+ely legiti"i.es
the". 1eferences to /tradition0 rooted in the &ast also e)&lain the e"ergence of a gi+en &ractice or
beha+ioral nor" and &ro+es their necessity. As far as legiti"acy and Bustification are necessary for
any society and grou& <identity>% they try to attach the"sel+es to a tradition. This "anaging !ith
social and cultural ca&ital is a genuine /in+ention of tradition%0 as Eric (obsba!" characteri.es it
<1562>.
The 1ussian gay and lesbian co""unity had to &erfor" this /in+ention0 as !ell. :b+iously% it had
three o&tions in its search for cultural roots and fra"e!ors@ <1> to enfra"e itself into the global
history of ho"ose)uality in the "anner as such uattach"ent0 had been done by A"erican and
Euro&ean gay and lesbian co""unities t!o decades before% &resenting the"sel+es a /natural0
continuation of itF <2> to reconstruct the national history of non-nor"ati+e se)uality% <2> to con+ert its
9'
o!n subculture de+elo&ed under the *o+iet regi"e fro" /underground0 into "ore or less nor"ali.ed
/subculture of se)ual "inorities0 and legali.e it. These three &ers&ecti+es !ere de+elo&ed
si"ultaneously. But the a&&roaches to the !ays of resha&ing of the grou& identity +aried. In the
follo!ing% I !ill loo at the !ays of their transfor"ation.
An interesting difference bet!een ?osco! and *t. Petersburg co""unities7 strategies consisted in
their relation to /tradition0. Eor ?osco! grou&s% the history of sa"e-se) se)ual relations in 1ussia
!as not a sufficient source of cultural and social ca&ital. The ne!s&a&ers and Bournals &ublished by
its re&resentati+es included ite"s about the history% but neither their content nor other te)ts contained
references to the &ast as t!eir on tradition. They !ere "uch "ore interested in ne!s fro" the
international gay co""unity and infor"ation about for a ne! <i"agined> co""unity in the country
that !ould contribute into its self-i"age. They readers !ere eager to no! there !ere "any of the"
in the country. In *t. Petersburg% it see"s to "e that fro" the +ery beginning the /inheritance7 !as
co"&arably "ore o&enly articulated.
The +ery &rocedure of na"ing of the organi.ations tells a lot. The gay literature Bournal Argo%
&ublished in ?osco! by ="itry ;u."in% !as intended to e)&lore ho"oerotic the"es and "oti+es in
conte"&orary 1ussian literature% but !ithout accentuation of that ho"oerotics. As ="itry ;u."in
e)&lained in his introductory note to the first +olu"e of R9S2% /our "ain tas is to &resent% classify
and re+ise !ays in !hich ho"ose)uality functions in conte"&orary cultureU. This is not a Bournal
for gays% less gay Bournal nor Bournal about gaysU. :ur subBect in the !hole cultural situation in its
totality0 <;u."in 155#>. /$ay% sla+ianeO0 in+ented in *t. Petersburg by :lga Hhu and her staff%
offered a /continualist0 +ie! of the history of ho"ose)ual culture in 1ussia. It included% a"ong
others% an article about the history of lesbianis" in 1ussia and anoher one about conseAuences of the
*o+iet &eriod of gay and lesbian "o+e"ents in the country. ,nfortunately% the Bournal !as not
de"anded by the co""unity and the editors ga+e u& the !hole idea. Acti+e o&eration the Eond sto&t
about 1559% !hen Hhu left for $er"any.
96
The title of the Bournal co"bined the /traditional0 1ussian e)cla"ation /$ey0 <!hich "eant
/(urrahO0% /$oO0> !ith an address to 0*la+s0 </*la+iane0>. It sounded rather traditionalistic
<su&&osing that the readers !ere "ainly /*la+s0% true 1ussians in their identity>% if it !as not !ritten
&artly in Latin letters !ith this ne!-in+ented !ord u$ay7 <$ay% aZfm{d[O>. Thus% by the title of the
Bournal% its in+entors7 national identity and their orientation to Western <A"erican> e)&erience and
culture !ere si"ultaneously e)&ressed in an ironical "anner. As :lga ;rau.e e)&lained% it !as a title
of an article about ho"ose)uals% but the Bournal7s staff lo+ed it and decided to use it.
The editor infor"ed his readers in the editor7s "essage@ /the Bournal7s ai" is not &ro&aganda of
ho"ose)ualityU but su&&ort of self-consciousness and self-e)&ression of e+ery &ersonality0 <$ay%
*la+iane% &.1>. The Bournal !as &resented there as /for literature% art and culturology Wculture
studiesX.0 Eor e)a"&le% the first issue containes inside@ a collection of articles about Tchaio+sy7s
death <all of the" are translated fro" English>F an article and &oe"s by $ennady Trifono+% !ho still
is one of the "ost acno!ledged /gay &oets0 of the elder generation <in the late 15'4s he !as been
sentenced by the article 121.1>% his &artici&ation in the Bournal "eant a sy"bolic connection of its
conte"&orary <&ost-so+iet> readers !ith the /old guard0 and their heroic sufferingF articles about gay
&risoners <this the"e !as &o&ular in these years% cul"inating by the re&ort &ublished by ?asha
$essen7s grou& <1554>>% +arious +erses of 1ussian </nati+e0> authors and translations of foreign
ho"oerotic stories <(ein. (eger along !ith Cortasar>. The Bournal is concluded !ith an unno!n
te)t by ?arina Ts+etae+a. Eoreign "aterials and 0national tradition-grounded0 "aterials are eAually
re&resented here% creating a coherent ho"oerotic aesthetics. ,nfortunately% this Bournal% highly +alued
by critics and scholars% !as the only sa"&le of such attitude in that &eriod.
The first &eriod of intensi+e interest to the Western e)a"&les and e)&erience !as follo!ed by a
&eriod of inner de+elo&"ent. 1ussian grou&s did not &olitici.e their actions nor did they a&&ro&riate
sy"bols and "ethods of self-&resentation. 1ussian se)ual "inorities7 attitude to the Euro&ean and
A"erican grou& identities in that &eriod "ay be best described as a rather distanced. It "ust be
"entioned that in late 1554s% the "oney in+est"ents7 flo! decreased also because of self-!ithdra!al
95
of "ain leaders of the co""unity !ho had &ersonal relation shi&s to Western organi.ations and !ho
used these contacts as a channel to obtain financial su&&ort <=ebryansaya% :rtano+% Hhu>.
The gay &ress that a&&eared in the country by efforts of se+eral enthusiasts !as not consistent in its
&resentation of the co""unity7s grou& identity. *o"e editions !ere "ade as /fan.ines0 for a
co"&any of friends <such as abo+e"entioned /:"saya Te"a0>% others !ere al"ost &urely
infor"ational% and so"e of the"% in addition to ne!s% acAuaintance in+itations and ad+ertise"ents%
contained articles about the history of the !orld L$BT "o+e"ent% biogra&hies% and +isual
ho"oerotic content. All of the" contained also infor"ation about safe se)% hygiene% and (IMCAI=*
&re+ention and education ca"&aigns.
It is i"&ortant to note that this !as a ti"e of tre"endous de+elo&"ent of 1usain &ornogra&hic
literature and "edia <$essen 155#% $oscilo 155#>. *ince the ti"e of Perestroia% this "aret had been
increasing tre"endously. The first &ublications about sa"e-se) se)uality !hich a&&eared in the first
&ornogra&hy ne!s&a&ers certainly !ere consu"ed by a broader audience than the first s&eciali.ed
/the"atic0 editions. This /consistent front0 of ne! se) "edia created a ne! situation !here se)ual
"inorities7 &ress !as one of the a+ailable o&tions. Elena Certlich found her first &iece of infor"ation
about ?:LLI in a /&ornogra&hic ne!s&a&er%0 ho! she defined it by herself. /But0% said she% /it !as
ti"e then e+eryone used to read &ornogra&hy. E+eryone% there !as such strong interest to it.0 Thus% I
can suggest that there !ere t!o i"&ortant social factors of de+elo&"ent of the gay and lesbian &ress@
1> legali.ation of hidden interest to these "atters in the co""unity%
2> general liberali.ation of "edia along !ith e"ergence of se)uality-related editions.
E"erging gay and lesbian &ress contributed to the /se)ual re+olution0% or social construction of
se)uality as "atter of &ublic consent and interest% !hich in turn !as caused by Perestroia and Post-
&erestroia o&enness. A si"ilar &rocess too &lace in other countries of Eastern Euro&e% there
censorshi& of the *o+iet &eriod !as changed by e)tre"e o&enness% unusual in co"&arison !ith
&resu"ed Western countries of se)ual freedo" <True 2442>. *oon after the nor"ali.ation of the
'4
social en+iron"ent% this /&ublic se)uality0 !as again nor"ali.ed follo!ing e)clusi+ely heterose)ual
&atterns <8arto+a 2444a% Morontso+ 2444>.
Briefly s&eaing% the 1ussian se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent did not de+elo& a grou& identity of a
&artici&ant of global L$BT co""unity. Eoreign organi.ations-&artners !ere used "ainly to obtain
financial and technical su&&ort% and these relations !ere hea+ily based on &ersonal relations of the
"o+e"ent7s leaders !ith their allies abroad. The co"ing out of the co""unity !as not a result of
Western influence but rather a natural effect of transfor"ations in the &ublic s&here.
The grou& identity "ainly !as for"ed on the basis of &re-e)isting co""unity subculture rather
than due to /i"&orted0 e)a"&les and &atterns. I su&&ose that t!e de'"oliti)ation and t!e loss of
community integrity in t!e second "eriod as :at least, "artially3 "redestined by suc! features of t!e
first "eriod, as lac( of common "olitical "osition, ea( integration beteen different "ro%ects, and
inability to a""ro"riate t!e e&"erience of t!e international community. The organi.ations that could
beca"e a real !oring 8$:s !ere closed <again% the ;rylia !as an e)ce&tion>% and the conte"&orary
generation of 8$:s did not use e)&erience of the &re+ious generation.
Eth!s !" the m!veme$t=s a&tivist3 The &ase !" Ol(a >%a'5e
In an anthro&ological research% it is necessary to loo at ho! an indi+idual acts it the fra"e!or of
the bigger "o+e"ent% and conseAuently ho! that indi+idual &artici&ates in the reali.ation of the
"o+e"ent7s ai"s. Indi+iduals engage the"sel+es in this &rocess in order to achie+e their o!n ai"s
and targets. They understand and conce&tuali.e their situation% and de+elo& their o!n strategies in
order to achie+e their i"aginary obBecti+es.
In this section I "ae an analysis of :lga ;rau.e7s history of &artici&ation in LeningradC*t.
Petersburg lesbian and gay "o+e"ent and in se+eral &roBects of that &eriod. I try to discern <1> the
genesis of her &ersonal a&&roach to the &roble"s and interests of the "o+e"ent% <2> her esti"ation of
her o!n &lace and status in the co""unity <as !ell as of the !hole co""unity as such>% and the
'1
&ractical she usually chose to reali.e her ideas about the de+elo&"ent and i"&ro+e"ent of local
se)ual "inorities7 co""unity in LeningradC*t. Petersburg and 1ussia in general. I loo also at ho!
she has co"bined different cultural traditions and influences in "aing her o!n +ie! at the se)ual
"inorities7 life. *he !as one of the ey figures of the LeningradC*t. Petersburg7 co""unity and her
!ay of thining about these things influenced the acti+ities that sha&ed the co""unity% therefore% this
closer loo hel&s "e to understand ho! one indi+idual could figure out her o!n !ay of &artici&ating
in beco"ing of the "o+e"ent. I ground "y analysis &ri"arily on the te)t of "y inter+ie! !ith her 2'
A&ril% 244' in ?osco!
#6
. There are also different te)ts of inter+ie!s !ith :lga ;rau.e% as !ell as
te)ts about her <es&ecially@ ;irsano+ 244#% &. 415-422>. *he also has a &ersonal !ebsite
#5
.
I use the notion of /ethos0 as the co""on category to describe ho! :lga7s /co"ing out0 as a
lesbian and &artici&ation in this co""unity as !ell as her si"ultaneous in+ol+e"ent into &rocesses
on inde&endent "usical and &oetical scene both influenced her strategies. ?ar Blasius <1552> tries to
find &ro&er conce&tion for lesbian and gay e)istence that !ould not neglect the uniAueness of their
&osition in the heterose)ist society% and dis&lays the i"&ortance of their e)&erience for &roduction of
Truth in the gi+en society. (e argues for a conce&t that sho!s ho! the s&ecificity of lesbian and gay
e)istence is reflected in their &olitical and social &ositions. Blasius introduces the conce&t of /ethos0
as /shared !ay of life through !hich lesbians and gay "en in+ent the"sel+es% recogni.e each other%
and establish a relationshi& to the culture in !hich they li+e0 <ibid., &.94#>. It is /a ty&e of e)istence
that is the conseAuence of co"ing out R understood as the &rocess of entering into and creating
oneself through the field of relationshi&s that constitutes the lesbian and gay co""unity0 <ibid., &.
9#6>.
/Ethos0 is a !ay of being in and for the co""unity% in+ented through their &ersonal +oluntary
ethical efforts. Co"ing out &roduces the &ossibility for the co""unity% ho!e+er the co""unity is
#6
:lga resided in the a&art"ent of the ee&er of AL$% Elena $usyatinsaya% !ho !as abroad at that ti"e. Thus% I had a
chance to ha+e se+eral tals !ith her and to obser+e inter&ersonal relations in the /co""unity0 of the archi+e% discussions
about other lesbian grou&% etc. I a" rally grateful to :lga for her hos&itality and honesty. All the Auotations in the te)t are
fro" this inter+ie! and also fro" shorter tals in the ne)t se+eral days !hile I !as !oring in the AL$.
#5
!!!.olgarau.e.ru. :lga ;rau.e7s &ersonal blog@ olgrau.e.li+eBournal.co".
'2
being constantly created in these indi+idual and +oluntary efforts to e)ist in this certain !ay. It is not
&ossible to /co"e out0 once and for all the ti"e <ibid., &. 9##>. Co"ing out is necessarily crafting /a
!ay of life through one7s ho"oeroticis"0 <ibid., &. 9#9>. This !ay of life% &roBected to!ards other
co""unity "e"bers <i.e. in relation to ho"oeroticis" of others> is conce&tuali.ed as /ethos0.
/Ethos0 is a thoroughly social category% and as far as this co""unity consists of indi+iduals !ho are
do"inated and "arginali.ed outside of it% its de+elo&"ent has dee&ly sub+ersi+e &olitical "eaning. It
&roble"ati.es the do"ineering regi"e of f and the social truths that su&&ort it% /"ublicly introducing a
change in the order of co"&ulsory heterose)uality0 <ibid., &. 994F e"&hasis in the original>. Thus% the
conce&t of /ethos0 e)&lains de+elo&"ent of &ersonal res&onsibilities and &ractical nor"s.
In the follo!ing% I reconstruct :lga ;rau.e7s history of an acti+e &artici&ant of LeningradC*t.
Petersburg se)ual "inorities7 co""unity <lea+ing aside her &ri+ate life and "usical carrier> as the
story of beco"ing a lesbian acti+ist in the sense that she did not ha+e a &redestined !ay of acti+ities
as such a &erson% but had to in+ent it constantly. Thus% I try to loo at her history as a case of "aing
the /lesbian ethos0 in the &articular circu"stances of &ost-*o+iet transfor"ational city society.
:lga ;rau.e defines herself &ri"arily as "usician and &oet. *he is also a &rofessional &ainter. *he
!as dee&ly in+ol+ed into the underground culture of Leningrad
94
and still !ould be e+en no!adays. I
thin% she thoroughly associates herself !ith these underground circles but in a sense counter&oses
the" to "ore /"ainstrea"0 "usical and art circles. (er i"age is also organi.ed according to these
&atterns of underground% e+en counterculture co""unity. I should ad"it that as a &erson !ho has
been sociali.ed in a si"ilar subculture
91
% I can recogni.e these features and !ays of self-&resentation
to the surrounding at once. *he has the !abitus of an underground singer and !riter of the *t.
Petersburg artist subculture <a /classic0 1ussian subculture>. *he often &erfor"s at s"all &arties in
94
It "ust be "entioned that LeningradC*t.Petersburg al!ays is being considered the genuine cultural ca&ital of the
country. In the *o+iet ti"e% its s&ecific cultural en+iron"ent &roduced% a"ong others% se+eral underground subcultures
and se+eral influential culture styles.
91
I gre! u& in a &eri&heral region in a younger generation. Thus% /our0 subculture style !as influenced and "odified by
the &atterns &roduced and distributed e)actly by :lga ;rau.e7s /nati+e0 circle and by &ersons of hers and the ne)t
generation. It does not "ean% of course that I can share her e)&erience% it only "eans that I can recogni.e that she
&erfor"s the habitus fairly !ell. Eor "e% it has been &articularly interesting to loo at her beha+ior as such a &erfect
&erfor"er of this subcultural style and "anner.
'2
&ri+ate flats or s"all clubs% follo!ing to the subcultural tradition of /flat concert0 <(#artirni(%
]mfbg^bd^]>
92
.
At the sa"e ti"e% she reBected being categori.ed as a /lesbian &oet.0 As she stated% if a &iece of art
belongs to /culture0% it should be interesting to all consu"ers not only for /lesbians0 <as <her
co"&arison> /$io+anni7s roo"0 by Da"es Bald!in has been read not only by gays>
92
. Thus% she did
not &retend to e"&hasi.e her creati+e !ors as an e)&ression of a /s&ecific0 lesbian culture. At the
sa"e ti"e she o&enly s&oe and !rote about ho"oerotic "atters <sa"e-se) lo+e> <;rau.e 244'a>.
*he ca"e fro" a fa"ily of intellectuals !ho had been e)iled fro" Leningrad. Although her &arents
"anaged to co"e bac to the city% the childhood e)&erience of being one of the o&&ressed and
gro!ing u& in se"i-"arginal surrounding al!ays !as crucially i"&ortant for her. In "y inter+ie!%
she re&eatedly referred to her origins e)&laining different circu"stances of her life in the *o+iet
&eriod.
Li+ing in Leningrad% she had an inter"ediary social status@ she had higher education and e+en !as
a "e"ber of the Co""unist Party. At the sa"e ti"e% she li+ed a"ong !oring class &eo&le% and used
to be e"&loyed in non-&restigious !ors. Although she ne+er !as seriously i"&risoned% the
&risoners7 subculture influenced her since her childhood <since the &rison !as and still stays a
uni+ersal source of cultural &atterns% beha+ioral traits and language for 1ussian un&ri+ileged social
classes% no &erson gro!ing u& a"ong &eo&le of that classes could a+oid or ignore the influence of
&rison e)&erience>. At the sa"e ti"e she !as constantly educating herself in +arious hu"anities.
Thus% I !ould define her social status as a highly "arginali.ed one. (er national origin <she !as an
ethnic $er"an> "ade her +ulnerable to *o+iet bureaucracy% too. *he !as bet!een different social
grou&s and classes. At the sa"e ti"e% she !as socially acti+e <she described her acti+ities in the
2omsomol and in +arious artistic organi.ations>. This social acti+ity "ay be inter&reted as tactics of
co"&ensation of her social "arginality <v+ulnerability>.
92
It is "uch easier to organi.e the"% but it is !orth "entioning that this "anner of &erfor"ing is /natural0 for her habitus.
It is a /classical0 for" of non-co""ercial "usical &erfor"ance in 1ussia% and she still &refers to &erfor" in this !ay.
92
Co"&are !ith ="itry ;u."in7s state"ent Auoted on &. 95.
'4
*ince her childhood% as she !ould reconstruct it no!adays% :lga ;rau.e !as a lesbian. /?y history
!as a"a.ing% I li+ed !ith "y belo+ed girlfriend and till 2# years old thought I !as the only one of
this ind% an e)ce&tion0. Woring as a yard-ee&er% she could be relati+ely at ease in her choice of her
!ay of life. At the sa"e ti"e she surely felt the burden of social control. In her "e"oirs <2449>% she
described ho! once she had "anaged to forge a &ass&ort she had found in her yard% and "ade a
/registration of "arriage0 !ith her girlfriend. At that ti"e she had a long &eriod of li+ing a /closeted
life0 in early 15'4s% !hen she gradually "o+ed to understanding of herself as a lesbian but had no
&ossibility to get no! "ore about this ty&e of e)istence yet. It !as a &eriod !hen she de+elo&ed her
&ersonal routine techniAues of hiding her life. *he described the &eriod of understanding her o!n
ho"oerotic intention as trau"atic one. *he drea"t about being a boy in her childhood% because it !as
the only +irtual !ay /to "arry0 a girl.
:lga beca"e acAuainted !ith the life of the co""unity of &eo&le !ith non-nor"ati+e se)uality
!hen she !as 2# years old <about 15''>% already ha+ing the e)&erience of li+ing !ith sa"e-se) lo+er
and of "aing her life as "arginal &erson. A lesbian !o"an tried to "ae :lga7s acAuaintance and
that &erson ha&&ened to no! different lesbian grou&s in the city. These !ere relati+ely s"all
co""unities <so"eti"es their "e"bers could "anage to co-habitate>. In the late 15'4s% :lga entered
to the /+irtual0 co""unity of se)ual "inorities <as I characteri.ed it in the section 1.2>. *he
continued to &artici&ate in unofficial artistic life and the social net!or of underground culture% but
no! she co"bined it !ith another social net!or of /these &eo&le0 <ob+iously% there !as no
contradiction in being included in both these net!ors>. Being a lesbian% she shared the co""on
e)&erience !ith other ho"ose)ual "en and !o"en. They all had to e)&lore &ossible "ethods of
relations !ith the state &o!er. The lesbian girls sa+ed their friends R gays fro" the danger of
i"&rison"ent% e+en dared to interru&t into "ilitia arrest. :lga s&oe about this as a co""on &ractice@
?e@ =id you ha+e this &artnershi&% or coo&eration% in the ti"e of the struggle for
decri"inali.ation3
;rau.e@ E+en before that struggle. Well% ho! did I get the sta"&
94
into "y &ass&ort3
We used to sa+e the guys. :nce% they called "eU Wand they said thatX $risha
94
The /sta"&0 "eans the state registration of "arriage. *he "eans she had been officially "arried.
'#
Andree+ had been ca&tured and he !as in such-and-such office. I could run into the
office% fall onto that $risha and shout lea+e "y "an aloneO If they7d begin to say
/he is a faggot0% I cried that they all !ere faggots% nobody fuced better than hi"
and so on. I did not care for anything I ne! I had to hel& "y friend and so"eti"es
I had the successO
In ti"e then Perestroia had began and the "assi+e co"ing out of the co""unity beca"e &ossible%
:lga already !as e)&erienced in the co""unity life. (ere I "ay conclude that u& to that ti"e% she
had for"ed her /et!os0. This i"&lied attention to the +ulnerable &osition of se)ual "inorities7F
necessity to hel& /&eo&le of that ind0
9#
F interest in the s&ecificity of ho"oerotic art. As an
e)&erienced &artici&ant of +arious infor"al co""unicati+e net!ors% she counted on infor"al%
&ersonal relations in different social strata in "anaging her acti+ities and &roBects. All these features
of her ethos !ere traceable in her further &ublic acti+ity.
Eor :lga% the life of the co""unity !as highly &ersonali.edF by that% I "ean that she thought about
the co""unity <i"agined it> as certain set of &ersonalities% fa"iliar and unfa"iliar to her &ersonally.
They had difficulties in their sociali.ation. It !as a general e)&erience@ difficulties and search of
sur+i+al "ethods. *he !as not interested in big &rogra"s of de+elo&"ent of the !hole co""unity <as
se+eral leaders% ob+iously% !ere>F thus% she ne+er &roduced an ideological &roBect. (er &roBects !ere
oriented to!ard indi+idual hel& and &ro"otion to suffering indi+iduals. The conce&ts of +ulnerability
and danger designed her thining about the co""unity.
(er e)&lanation of ho! the se)ual "inorities thought about she dis&lays her attitude to the se)
reassign"ent surgery <*1*> sho!n this latent de&iction of the" as +icti"s. *he told "e she ne! a
&lenty of cases then !o"en des&erately tried to "ae fe"ale-to-"ale reassign"ent o&eration.
(o!e+er% ha+ing the e)&erience of long /adBust"ent0 to her ho"oerotic /orientation0 and li+ing as
lesbian% :lga thought the o&eration often !as not a &ro&er solution% because after it the &erson !ould
ha+e e+en "ore &roble"s than before. 8ot being against the *1* in &rinci&le% she thought &eo&le
9#
:r% rather% to /her &eo&le0 in the "eaning described in section 1.2.
'9
<"ainly !o"en> often decided to do it only not being able to understand the"sel+es &ro&erly
99
. Thus%
they des&erately needed hel&.
WTXhey !ere e)tre"ists% es&ecially those of elder generations. WI"agineX she "aes
artificial fertili.ation% gi+es a birth% sooner she suddenly understands she is a "an%
so she has the o&eration. There !ere so "any of the". I !on7t say they !ere fools%
but e)actly because they !ere dri+en cra.y by their se)ual orientation% they could
not understand that !as going !ith the"U And that !as the !or that nobody did
to the" W&sychological consultingX.
:n the contrary% :lga de+elo&ed her o!n conce&t of ho"ose)uality that hel&ed her to har"oni.e
her inner life and to find better !ays of "aing life in the heterose)ist society. *he !as one of co-
founders of the Association ;rylia in+ited there as a socially acti+e lesbian to re&resent lesbians7
interests. In the +ery beginning of its acti+ity% the ;rylia &ublished a letter about its intention to hel&
ho"ose)uals in a leading ne!s&a&er. *oon after% thousands of letters !ere recei+ed
9'
. :lga
&artici&ated in their gathering and &reli"inary analysis. *he discerned the &roble" of ?solitude+ as
the "ain co""on &roble" !hich should be &aid great attention. *he !as i"&ressed by the nu"ber of
des&erate reAuests to hel& to find so"ebody% and decided to organi.e a nation-!ide /acAuaintances
ser+ice0 <slu)!ba )na(omst#% as she na"es it> or% "ore &recisely% an infor"ation and co""unicati+e
syste" for se)ual "inorities. *he s&oe about this decision as une)&ected for herselfF ne+ertheless% I
thin it should be rather /natural0 reali.ation of her ethos. Infor"ation e)change al!ays !as basis of
the co""unity% and she Bust syste"ati.ed the infor"ation channels% turning herself into a ind of
national "ediu"% or coordinator of it@
/It !as clear the ser+ice of acAuaintances !as necessary% thus I had begun to do
itU. I !as !ithout of any hel&. *o"eho! I !as loaded by all this !orU fro" the
+ery beginning% because there !as no Internet% nothing at all. I "ade catalogues0.
:lga de+elo&ed her o!n co""unicati+e syste". *he co"&leted a nation-!ide database% through
!hich &eo&le fro" different regions could find their "ates. Later% about 1552% she e+en used to
99
;rau.e re&eatedly "entioned the *1* o&erations as a notorious thing. According to Igor ;on% during the *o+iet &eriod
these o&erations !ere rare due to +ery co"&licated &rocedure of the &er"it obtaining <the &erson needed to get &ositi+e
decision of t!o *tate ?inistries% lea+ing aside all other bureaucratic &rocedures> <;on 2442>. I cannot e)&lain her attitude
to *1* as an o&tion /"any0 &eo&le chose. A close friend of ;rau.e% !ho" she often "entioned by +arious occasions% !as
a transgender &erson% therefore that /o+eresti"ation0 &ossibly !as grounded in the s&ecificity of her "utual en+iron"ent.
:r% rather% *1* o&erations beco"e a &art of her &ersonal "ythology about the co""unity.
9'
A short note about this action on 0;rylia07s English !ebsite@ htt&@CC!!!.riliBa.s&.ruC2eng.ht". *ee also@ Essig 1555%
&.'9.
''
distribute a s&ecial ne!sletter% Probu)!denie </A!aening0>% !hich consisted of the database
</catalogue0>% !ith a adding of actual infor"ation about international L$BT co""unity.
At the sa"e ti"e% she distanced herself fro" the ;rylia and established the 2lub =esa#isymy(!
>!ensc!in </;lub of Inde&endent Wo"en0> about 1552. As she e)&lained% the ;rylia7s &roBects
e)&ressed &ri"arily needs of gay co""unity% and she could not acce&t their /co""ercial0
i"&lications. ;uharsy% !ho had another conce&t of gay acti+is" and !as inco"&arably better
sociali.ed% tried to de+elo& "ore G!esterni.edG &roBects.
The acti+ity of the /;lub0 !as based on charity. They organi.ed hel& for !o"en &risons in *t.
Petersburg. This organi.ation !as not e)clusi+ely "ade u& of lesbians. :lga tried to &ro+ide an
o&&ortunity to "eet and beca"e closer +ia co-o&eration !ith different !o"en tra&&ed by difficult
situation. Besides lesbians% there !ere !o"en - &artici&ants of the War in Afghanistan and single
"others
96
. *i"ultaneously% she !ored as a +olunteer on a /hotline tele&hone0 for se)ual "inorities%
founded by the ;rylia in coo&eration !ith a "edical institution.
Thus% her first acti+ities !ere ai"ed at facilitating infor"ation e)change and hel&ing indi+iduals
!ith their sociali.ation &roble"s. The ne)t &ers&ecti+e of her interests% &ro"otion of lesbian
ho"oerotic art% !as designed later. :lga did not gi+e u& &erfor"ing her concerts !ith o&enly
ho"oerotic songs% she also &ublished her &oe"s in the /$ay% *la+iane0 Bournal. *he also in+ented her
o!n /hand-"ade0 fan.ine ArabesBues.
*he tried to facilitate the life of the co""unity by hel&ing its &artici&ants% and &layed a role of an
artist-"e"ber of the co""unity !ho de+elo&s it also through her art!ors. (o!e+er% the
coo&eration bet!een different grou&s in the co""unity !as so !ea that she could not acAuire
sufficient hel& fro" any acti+e organi.ation of the city o&erating in the field. As an acti+ist% she !as
de"anded by the "o+e"entF nonetheless% the "o+e"ent could not <or !as not ready yet3> &ro+ide
not only infrastructure% but e+en indi+idual su&&ort for these acti+ities. Eollo!ing her ethos% she
!ored +oluntarily as long as she could. But% at the sa"e ti"e% this "anner of organi.ing her
96
Taing into account into account the +ariety of acti+ities% de+elo&ed by the /;lub0% Laurie Essig7s esti"ation of it as
/one-!o"an crusade to "ae her +oice heard0 <1555% &. '6> see"s shallo! and i"&recise.
'6
acti+ities !as regular for a &artici&ant of underground artistic life there so "any acti+ities !ere
absolutely indi+idual &roBects guaranteed only by these &ersons7 intentions. *he% naturally%
trans"itted this style of !or in this ne! e"erging field. The other side of this style !as that she did
not enhance that infrastructure of the "o+e"ent. Then she left the "o+e"ent she had not create an
institution !oring !ithout her constant &ersonal in+est"ents.
Eor a relati+ely long &eriod of ti"e% :lga used to recei+e hel& fro" &eo&le and fro" foreign
organi.ations. Clearly% her &ersonal i"age hel&ed her to find finding for concrete action.
?e@ !here did you get the "oney for your &ublisher7s actions3
;rau.e@ It the beginning I had so"e "oney. *econdly% I used to find donors. They
ga+e "e the "oney hand-to-hand. 8ot only foreigners% A"ericans and $er"ans%
did it% but our &eo&le% too. I thought I could not s&end the "oney on "yself so I did
the deal.
The seAuence is i"&ortant@ the acti+ists e)&ected the financial hel& &ri"arily fro" aboard not fro"
inside the country. <(o!e+er% it is not clear !hether this :lga7s /our0 !as a reference to the se)ual
"inorities or to 1ussian citi.ens in general>. Thus% she counted on the infor"al relations and the
/co""unal0 style of &roBects <based on +oluntary !or of close friends and funded by indi+idual
hel& of interested &ersonalities>. This style of !or "ade her &roBects +ulnerable to her &ersonal
circu"stances as !ell as to her &ersonal relations !ith other &eo&le.
At the sa"e ti"e :lga li+ed in e)tre"ely &oor conditions. *he had se+eral tri&s abroad and still
acti+ely &artici&ated in the life of the <already international> co""unity% but si"ultaneously had to
!or hard to sur+i+e. Essig Auoted ;rau.e7s !ords that her girlfriend and she !ould /s"oe rather
than eat because it7s chea&er0 <Essig 1555% &. 24#% n.11'>. *he could de+elo& "ulti&le acti+ities to
su&&ort the co""unity% but her li+ing conditions &re+ented her fro" the continuation of it. ,& to
155'% she could not ee& !oring because she /had no "oney at all0. 8either her uniAue database%
nor the 2lub !ere acce&ted by any organi.ation in s&ite of her assR thus% results of one leader7s
acti+ities !ere not effecti+ely de"anded by other leaders. Being unable to guarantee security of the
database% :lga burnt it. In 155'% she broe off any social acti+ities for se+eral years.
This infa"ous ending of her &roBects follo!ed the co""on line of the finishing of the first &eriod.
*he ne+er tried to establish an 8$:-style organi.ation. <*urely% she !as not the only one in the
'5
"o+e"ent !ho did not acce&t this ty&e of organi.ational rationality. *he did not !ant ot beca"e a
ind of office cler>. *he follo!ed her ethos and de&ended on the "ethods and strategies co"ing
bac to the &eriod of underground life of the *o+iet &eriod. (er last action in that &eriod !as
&ro&osing of the !o"en7s organi.ation ,abris in 1559. ,nfortunately% as a "ore or less stable grou&%
,abris e)isted for a +ery short ti"e% but it &layed a role of /"ediator0 bet!een the first and the ne)t
&eriods and% corres&ondingly% bet!een /old guard0 and /ne! guard0 generations in the life of the
city7s lesbian "o+e"ent. Poung !o"en !ho &artici&ated in ,abris later Boined other grou&s.
Today% :lga ;rau.e is an indi+idual inde&endent "usician !ho does not engage herself in such
co"&licated social initiati+es. *he is an o&en lesbian that "ay be easily read e+en fro" her
a&&earance@ short haircut !ith sha+ed te"&les% three earrings in her right ear and noneb- in her left
earU But she reali.es the li"its of such o&enness@ it gi+es an additional &o!er to the surroundings
and es&ecially to the &eo&le !ho can e)ercise a &o!er o+er her@ the state officials and e"&loyers. In
"y Budge"ent% in "anaging her co"ings out% she follo!s the trinitary "odel of &ersonal life
<&ri+ateCse"i-&ri+ateC&ublic> as it has been described by 8arto+a <2444>. 8o!adays% she is a "e"ber
of the older generation looing at /the youth0 !ith irony <es&ecially at young girls !ho try to date
her>. *ince the hard &eriod in the end of 1554s% she has acce&ted a "ore /indi+iduali.ed0 strategy of
&artici&ation in the co""unity life concentrating herself al"ost e)clusi+ely on her o!n creati+e
!or. (er &ersonal contribution into the de+elo&"ent of the co""unity consisted not only in that she
led se+eral grou&s in the 1554s and influenced conte"&orary leaders of the lesbian co""unity% but
also in the &roduction of cultural &atterns of an inde&endent lesbian singer. In this i"age she is "ost
no!n no!adays in the co""unity
95
.
In this section% I tried to follo! a &ersonal story of one of ey leaders of the se)ual "inorities7
"o+e"ent of 1554s. I tried to sho! ho! her &ersonal ethos and self-deter"ination as a lesbian
acti+ist and an artist si"ultaneously influenced her &ublic acti+ities and ho! these acti+ities !ere
sha&ed by the conditions of the &eriod. In a sense% ;rau.e7s e)&erience is uniAueF there is no other
95
Inter+ie!s !ith Irina% Dulia *"irno+a% *asha.
64
lesbian artist of her generation so !idely acno!ledged not only in the co""unity. (o!e+er% her
e)&erience sho!s ty&ical "o"ents and thus hel&s to see ho! the "o+e"ent has de+elo&ed itself and
disad+antages of that "o+e"ent.
#!$&l'si!$
The boo !as begun by an outline of the s&ecific features of the /regi"e of se)uality0 in the *o+iet
,nion. *ince the "iddle of the century it had been e)tre"ely constrained% and the &ublic discourse
!as nor"ali.ed in a !ay that &recluded "entioning of any se)uality-related "atters. At the sa"e
ti"e% the &o&ulation if the country ca"e through a gradual transfor"ation of se)ual life co"&arable in
its features and chronology !ith transfor"ation in Western societies <1otirch 2444>. In the *o+iet
&eriod% I thin the discre&ancy bet!een &ublic /silence0 and factual de"and for &ublic access for
infor"ation and discussion of se)uality <!hich !as a &art of so+iet regi"e of /double thought0
<1e"ington 1565>> !as one of the reasons for fast transfor"ation of "edia s&here% e"ergence of /se)
in "edia0 and te"&orary establish"ent of tolerance for o+ert "anifestations of se)uality.
I argue that an underground se)ual "inorities7 co""unity !ith its discernible subculture e)isted
already in the late 15'4s. *&eaing about the e"ergence of the "o+e"ent% I ground "yself on the
differentiation bet!een /co""unity0 and /"o+e"ent0. To fra"e the de+elo&"ent of the set of
acti+ities that I generali.e as /the "o+e"ent0% I offered a chronology !hich hel&ed "e to di+ide it
into t!o &eriods. I also discuss in the second cha&ter the na"es !hich !ere used by the co""unity
and for the co""unity fro" outside.
=uring the *o+iet &eriod% se)uality !as strictly nor"ali.ed along !ith heteronor"ati+e "odels.
When the &ublic "o+e"ent of se)ual "inorities e"erged% its first tass !ere decri"inali.ation and
establish"ent of &ublicly legiti"i.ed culture of non-nor"ati+e se)uality.
The choice of na"es for definition of a grou& is an i"&ortant as&ect of its identity constructing and
transfor"ation. I sho! the difference bet!een such ter"s as /se)ual "inority0F /bluesCgaysClesbians0
and other Western ter"s used to na"e and describe the co""unity by itself% or the outsiders. I
61
suggest that introduction of the ter" /gay0 has been a "ean of re-constructing of the co""unity7s
grou& identity and is a sign of a &rocess of the identities7 de+elo&"ent.
The "o+e"ent de&endend on the broader social transfor"ation !ith its rise in tolerance%
a+ailability of foreign contacts% &ossibility of inde&endent citi.en7s organi.ation "aing and general
rise in acti+is" in society. A loo at organi.ational history of se+eral organi.ations in ?osco!%
LeningradC*t.Petersburg and regional cities sho!s that the &rocess of grou& co"ing out and
organi.ation building too &lace all o+er the country. It is &ossible to discern three "ain trends of the
organi.ations and grou&s7 &ublic acti+ities@ /radical &olitical0% /de+elo&"ental0 and /cultural0 ones. I
sho! ho! they correlate !ith each other% and discuss ho! the &ersonal i"&act of their leaders ha+e
sha&ed their de+elo&"ent and chosen for"s of acti+ity. I argue that the organi.ations e"erged in the
first &eriod could not effecti+ely re&resent the co""unity in !hich they e"erged. :nly the ?osco!-
based Center uTriangle7 &otentially could beco"e a nation-!ide organi.ation for 1ussian se)ual
"inorities% had it o+erca"e its organi.ational hardshi&s% thus I discussed its agenda and de+elo&"ent.
To e)&lore atte"&ts to &olitici.e the se)ual "inorities7 "o+e"ent and engage into national &olitics
"ade "ainly by re&resentati+es of the /radical &olitical0 trend% I discuss their &olitical actions% and
unsuccessful search for allies a"ong other &olitical grou&s in the early 1554s. As far as the ai" !as
not achie+ed and the se)ual "inorities "o+e"ent did not beco"e a &olitical subBect% it did not ha+e
articulated &olitical interests in the second &eriod <late 1554s and early 2444s>. I consider the second
&eriod &ro+ed to be the ti"e of gradual /normali)ation0 of se)ual "inorities.
The financial and resource hel& fro" abroad !as a crucially i"&ortant factor in the +ery sha&e of
the co""unity. I !ould suggest that in 1554s% 1ussian se)ual "inorities successfully integrate
the"sel+es into econo"ic <financial> infrastructure of the !orld L$BT co""unity. (o!e+er% the
grou& identities of &artici&ants of global L$BT co""unity !ere not a&&ro&riated si"ultaneously%
and the "o+e"ent de+elo&ed its grou& identity !ithout strong influence of Western &atterns. I
discuss rein+ention of the /national tradition of ho"oerotis"0 by se+eral acti+ists "ainly belonging
to the /cultural0 trend. In the last section% I illustrate indi+idual o&tions and reasons to &artici&ate in
62
the "o+e"ent7s de+elo&"ent by e)a"&le of LeningradC*t. Petersburg lesbian acti+ist :lga ;rau.e. I
analyse her inter+ie! along !ith other a+ailable "aterials and sho! ho! she had construct her
a&&roach to the co""unity7s needs and interests and ho! that a&&roach later defined her acti+is". I
also sho! by this e)a"&le relations and connections that e)isted a"ong acti+ists in that &eriod.
If you !ant an abstract of the essay% !hich is nothing "ore than Bust an essay% I can su"a"ri.e its
"ain idea in the follo!ing abstract@
A"te% a l!$( -e%i!) !" !--%essi!$ !" i$)ivi)'als a$) the ase$&e !" !%(a$i5ati!$s+ a
m!veme$t !" se4'al mi$!%ities i$ R'ssia e(a$ i$ 29:93 I a$al,5e the i$itial -e%i!) !" the
m!veme$t+ a%('i$( that the -'li& !%(a$i5ati!$s a$) (%!'-s !" the i$itial -e%i!) %eali5e)
a(e$)a a$) i$te%ests !" the -%evi!'sl, e4iste) $ati!$-*i)e &!mm'$it,3 O$ the asis !"
i$te%vie*s *ith a&tivists al!$( *ith a$al,sis !" the ea%l, (a, a$) lesia$ -%ess I sh!* ma$$e%s
!" thei% -'li& sel"--%ese$tati!$+ a(e$)a a$) s-e&i"i&it, !" the lea)e%s= attit')e t! the
!%(a$i5ati!$al a&tivit, i$ that -e%i!)3 I )es&%ie the th%ee mai$ -e%s-e&tives that st%'&t'%e) the
m!veme$t a$) sh!* )i""e%e$&es et*ee$ the "i%st a$) the se&!$) 0&'%%e$t1 -e%i!) i$ the
m!veme$t=s -!st-s!viet hist!%,3 ;esi)es ette% k$!*$ !%(a$i5ati!$s i$ M!s&!* a$)
Le$i$(%a)ASt3Pete%s'%(+ simila% (%!'-s a--ea%e) i$ !the% -a%ts !" the &!'$t%, sim'lta$e!'sl,+
that I e4-lai$ as a$ e""e&t !" the )ee- s!&ial a$) -!liti&al t%a$s"!%mati!$ !" the -e%i!)3 I
)em!$st%ate als! that attem-ts t! -!liti&i5e the m!veme$t i$ the ea%l, 299Bs *e%e '$s'&&ess"'l+
a$) that the, %es'lte) i$ a )ee- )e--!liti5ati!$ !" the m!veme$t i$ the se&!$) -e%i!)3 I$ the last
-a%t+ I !""e% a &ase st'), !" a$ a&tivist=s attit')es a$) *a,s !" !%(a$i5ati!$al a&tivit, i$ ea%l,
299Bs+ *hi&h ill'st%ates h!* these !%(a$i5ati!$s have ee$ estalishe) a$) h!* !$e a&tivist
-e%&eive) the '%(e$t aims !" the &!mm'$it,3 I als! sh!* that the R'ssia$ m!veme$t+ i$ (e$e%al+
ha%)l, &ame &l!se t! a--%!-%iati$( a &!lle&tive i)e$tit, as -a%t !" the C(l!al LG;T m!veme$t3C
In last fe! sentences I !ant to consider to&ics and Auestions !hich I could not e)&lore in "y
setched essay% but !hich should una+oidably be studied to unco+er the !hole history on non-
nor"ati+e se)uality in 1ussia and the history of the "o+e"ent in &articular.
1. I ha+e already confessed abo+e on the &age that (IMCAI=* &re+ention and education acti+ity%
!hat !as so i"&ortant in constituting the "o+e"ent and in+enting its agenda% al"ost !as not touched
in the te)t. This confession is surely a hint for the obBecti+es of future research.
2. Although regular attention has been &aid to the history of 1ussian lesbigay literature% the social
function of +arious "eta&hors% sy"bols and signs referring to non-nor"ati+e se)uality is not dee&ly
integrated into these studies. The scholarshi& de+elo&ed by &hilologysts still has fe! co""on &oints
!ith historical and anthro&ological studies. At the sa"e ti"e% these studies should contribute into
62
dee&er understanding of ho! identity based on non-nor"ati+e se)uality !as being <or% !ould be>
&roduced in 1ussian cultural and ci+ili.ation area. What is really to be de+elo&ed here is a co""on
fra"e!or in !hich the co"&licated &rocess of that identity e"ergence !ould be e)&lained. Po!er
relations% e"bedded into a+ailable language are surely crucial factors in it. I shall not go dee& into the
influence of &rison and ar"y subculture on e+eryday 1ussian language &ractices and inter&ersonal
relations. (o!e+er% one should do it in order to understand ho! ho"ose)uality is being a&&rehend by
the "aBority of the &o&ulation e+en till no!.
2. *&eaing in ter"s of research in history of no!ledge% is !ould be an interesting &ers&ecti+e to
study% ho! the *o+iet &enitentiary and "edicine authorities really did identify and e)&lain
ho"ose)uality. What ind of "edical sources% besides so+iet boo on &sychiatry they a&&lied in their
&ractice% and ho! the in+estigations !ere organi.ed3 *uch inAuiry !ould definitely contribute not
only into the L$BT history in 1ussia but into the history of no!ledge in general.
Well% there is a lot of !or to do.
64
A--e$)i43 The list !" the i$te%vie*ees
1> Igor ;on <1529>% N the "ost &ro"inent 1ussian researcher in se)ology and sociology of se)uality%
acno!ledged also for his efforts in ad+ocating se)ual "inorities7 struggle. <?osco!>
2> Mladisla+ :rtano+ <nicna"e% 15#2>% N gay acti+ist% &artici&ant of the first organi.ations editor
and &ublisher of first gay ne!s&a&ers <the Tema> and Bournals <R9S2, Argo>. <?osco!>
2> Elena $usyatinsaya <1549>% director and current ee&er of the ?osco! Archi+e of Lesbians and
$ays <AL$>% &artici&ates in the "o+e"ent since early 1554s% teacher of Erench language. <?osco!>
4> Dulia *"irno+a <1595>% +ice-director of AL$% lesbian !riter% &rofessional "anager. <?osco!>
#> Elena% <159'>% Bournalist% *"irno+a7s &artner% recently has "o+ed to ?osco!% &rofessional
Bournalist. <?osco!>
9> Irina% <15#5>% singer and !riter% recently has "o+ed to ?osco!. <This inter+ie! !as not recorded>
<?osco!>
'> *+etlana% <15'#>% co"&uter s&ecialist% in the late 1554s edited lesbian fun.ine /:rganic Lady0 <this
inter+ie! !as not recorded>. <?osco!>
6> Dulia Tsertlich <&seudony"F 15#2>% lesbian &oet and !riter% acti+ely &artici&ated in the !or of
AL$% teacher of social sciences. <?osco!>
5> *asha <15'6>% gay "an% &artici&ated in the co""unity7s life since 2444 <this inter+ie! !as not
recorded>. <?osco!>
14> 8ade.hda 8arto+a <15'6>% o&en lesbian% anthro&ologist !ho studied lesbian co""unity% of *t.
Petersburg.
11> Alesandr ;uharsy <1545>% o&en gay% leader of the first officially registered se)ual "inorities7
organi.ation the ;rylia <1551 R &resent>% &rofessor% business"an. <*t. Petersburg>
12> 8atalia <1591>% &artici&ant of different !o"en grou&s and organi.ations since 1552% car dri+er.
<*t. Petersburg>
12> :lga ;rau.e <15#2>% lesbian% "usician% &oet and artist% one of the "ain leaders of *t. Petersburg
se)ual "inorities7 sceneF her story !as es&ecially analy.ed in section 2.2.
6#
Lite%at'%e a$) s!'%&es
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beyond Borders3 8ational i"&rints of a World!ide ?o+e"ent Rin@ T!e Global <mergence of Gay
and ,esbian Politics. =ational 9m"rints of a Corldide Mo#ement. Philadel&hia% Te"&le
,ni+ersity Press. P. 244-'1.
Allo+a% Alla <1566>. /Hhi.n7 &ri *PI=e@ goto+y li "y03 <Are !e ready to li+e !ith AI=*3> 4gonyo(%
t26% &. 12-1#F a+ailable at@ htt&@CCneuro.net.ruCse)ologyCinfo161.ht"l.
Alt"an% =ennis <2441>. Global Se&. Chicago@ ,ni+ersity of Chicago Press.
Anderson% Benedict <1551>. 9magined Communities@ reflections on t!e origin and t!e s"read of
nationalism. London@ Merso.
An"egiBan% ?asi" <244#>. An inter#ie it! 4lga >!u( Ra+ailable at@
htt&@CC!!!.gd"."dCrusCstory.&h&3sidv1'2
Baer% Paul <2442>. Polari@ T!e ,ost ,anguage of Gay Men. London@ 1outledgeF
Blasius% ?ar <1552>. The ethos of lesbian and gay e)istence R in@ Political T!eory +ol. 24% n. 4% &&.
942-9'1.
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T!eory and t!e Politics of 9dentity. Ca"bridge% :)ford@ Blac!ell. P. 5-2'
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54
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Sla#ic and <ast <uro"ean Mournal, Mol. 42% n.4 <Winter>% &. '22-'25
Morontso+% ="itriy <2444>. /*e"eyanaya .hi.n7 - eto ne dlya nas@ "ify I cennosti "u.hsih
go"oseseal7nyBh &ar </Ea"ily life is not for us0@ "yths and +alues of "ale ho"ose)ual cou&les> R
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&o+edenya "u.hchin s go"osesual7noy identichnost7u. =issertacia andidata &sychologichesich
nau. <*ocial-&sychological characteristics of inter&ersonal co""unication bet!een "en !ith
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*ritain. L.@ Cassel.
Haya+lenie <244'> R Haya+lenie uchastnio+ i &artnero+ 1ussoy *eti L$BT-organi.atciB i chastnyh
lic o narusheniyah &a+ gra.hdan na sa"o+yra.henie% &ois i ras&rosatranenie infor"acii
<=eclaration of &artici&ants and &artners of 1ussian L$BT-net!or and citi.ens about +iolations of
citi.ens7 rights to self-e)&ression% search and distribution of infor"ation> <29C42C244'> R a+ailable
at@ !!!.lgbtner.ruCne!sCdetail.&h&3I=v2591.
Hdra+o"yslo+a% Elena <2441> (y&ocritical se)uality of the late *o+iet &eriod@ se)ual no!ledge and
se)ual ignorance% - in@ *ue Webber and Ila Liianen <eds.> <ducation and Ci#ic Culture in Post'
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