Antropologicheskij forum, 2019, no. 42


A Review of DAN HEALEY, RUSSIAN HOMOPHOBIA FROM STALIN TO SOCHI. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018, 312 pp.

Polina Kislitsyna
European University at St Petersburg
6/1А Gagarinskaya Str., St Petersburg, Russia

Abstract: The historian Dan Healey’s book Russian Homophobia from Stalin to Sochi is a collection of 9 case studies, each of which demonstratesa different aspect of the lives of homosexual people in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia; lives that always involved persecution, stigmatization andhate. The author asks the basic research question: what is homophobiain Russia? Healey used a wide variety of material, such as court andmedical documents, diaries, memoirs, magazines, newspapers, andpornography. The author wrote about the penal persecution of sodomyand considered court cases. Furthermore, Healey demonstrated the riseof queer visibility in Late Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia. He thenreconstructed in detail the invention of the new political rhetoric abouttraditional sexuality that emerged as a response to an increase in queervisibility. Healey also raised methodological questions and problemsconnected to researching and writing Russian queer history. Healey’sresearch is of great interest as it contains rich historical material andimportant conclusions about the history of sexuality in Russia since themid-twentieth century. However, it is not without its faults, such as theuse of unreliable sources and the insufficiently deep analysis of suchremarkably rich material.

Keywords: queer, homosexuality, gender, homophobia, USSR.

To cite: Kislitsyna P., ‘A Review of Dan Healey, Russian Homophobia from Stalin to Sochi. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018, 312 pp.’, Antropologicheskij forum, 2019, no. 42, pp. 242–251.

doi: 10.31250/1815-8870-2019-15-42-242-251