Having read through Morgan Lev Edward Holleb’s book entitled ‘The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality – From Ace to Z’ (2019), published by JKP – I found its content to be uplifting, educational, supportive and educational. Despite pursuing what is obviously a hard-left political trajectory that is obviously of a ‘Marxist’ origin (but never accredited) – I encountered the usual biased attitude found in the broad queer community that misrepresents the history of Revolutionary Russia (1917-1922) and the USSR (1922-1991). This disingenuous attitude is a form of white-washing the genuine history of the Soviet Union out of general discourse, and in so doing aligning the queer community with US Cold War disinformation, US anti-intellectualism and fascist-supporting Trotskyism! This continuous propagation of an anti-Russian and anti-Slavic racism exhibited by the queer community allows for the US-generated racist lie that Islamic region of Chechnya in Russia was imprisoning gay people a few years ago in Nazi-style ‘concentration camps’! Indeed, the above author even alludes to this myth as a ‘fact’ in this book (Introduction – Page 9) – despite no physical evidence or objective proof ever being brought forward. This racist myth fitted in during a time of intensified anti-Russia racism perpetuated by the US as an adjunct to Russia continuing to resist the US-sponsored ‘fascist’ take-over of Western Ukraine in 2014! On Page 239 – under the entry ‘Sodomy, Sodomite’ the author feels compelled to state:
‘Sex between men was decriminalised in Russia during the Russian Revolution (1917) and codified following the Russian Civil War (1917-1922) under Lenin and Trotsky, but re-criminalised under Stalin in 1933. Sex between men was not decriminalised again in Russia until 1993, and Russia continues to repress LGBT+ rights through anti-’propaganda’ laws.’
This is a terrible piece of pseudo-history that contains all the hallmarks of US anti-intellectualism and the general anti-Socialist attitude. It is a simple misrepresentation of the history of the USSR and the people who took part in it. It also makes light of the collapse of the USSR by trivialising and misrepresenting the after-effects of the re-introduction of capitalist exploitation throughout the country (a process that led to the deaths of around six million Russians between 1991-1999 due to the sudden withdrawal of medicine, housing, employment, social services and welfare).
Under the Czarist regime, homosexuality between men consenting or otherwise (homosexuality between women was ignored as Catherine the Great believed it to be a ‘myth’ that never happened in the real world) was ‘outlawed’ due to the homophobic attitudes of the Russian Orthodox Church. Lenin abolished the Czarist Law in 1918 – an act which incidentally (but not deliberately) ‘decriminalised’ homosexuality. Around the same time in Italy – ‘Homosexuality’ was ‘legalised’. As Lenin abolished the political power of the Russian Orthodox Church – it no longer possessed the legal ability to turn its bigoted theology into oppressive laws.
At this time, Trotsky was a self-serving minion that Lenin had openly criticised a number of times for his ‘un-Socialist’ attitudes). Trotsky possessed no real authority and was never in a position to lead the Revolution or the Communist Party of Russia (Bolshevik)! As Trotsky never possessed any authoritative political power – he had no direct (or indirect) influence over Lenin’s actions during the early years of the Revolution. Trotsky was never much more than a bit-player during these epoch-making world events!
The Soviet Union was established during late 1922 following the Bolshevik’s victory during the Russian Civil War (1918-1921) which saw the Red Army defeat and expel the invading armies of the US, UK and twelve of their allies! Imperial Germany and six of her allies had thought alongside the Western allies between April and November 1918. This meant that whilst British and German troops continued to kill one another in France – British and German troops fought side by side seeking to destroy the Revolution in Russia!
Checklist for Russian and Soviet homosexual historical data:
17th-18th Centuries): Peter the Great (1672-1725) forbade any homosexual practice within his armies (a proscription, however, that did not extend into civil society).
1832): During the reign of Czar Nicholas, I, Article 995 was added to the Criminal Law in 1832. This out-lawed the practice of male sodomy, with those convicted of this offence threatened with exile to Siberia for up to five years. However, this law did not punish amorous relationships between adult men that did not involve anal sex (homosexuality between adult women was not considered to ‘legally’ exist).
1918): Lenin abolishes the Old Czarist Law Code – incidentally removing ‘homosexuality’ as being a ‘crime’. A number of Bolsheviks were openly gay – including Chicherin – the Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
1922): After the end of the Civil War (with the defeat of the White Army), Soviet Russia enacted a new Criminal Law in 1922, which was amended in 1926. The new Criminal Law defined a ‘minor’ as being under 16 years of age, with 16 years being the ‘age of consent’ for lawful sexual intercourse. This Criminal Code banned prostitution and pimping, but homosexuality remained undefined as a legal category (and was not made ‘illegal’).
1926): Article 154a of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, enacted in 1926 stated: ‘Sexual intercourse of a man with a man (sodomy) – deprivation of liberty for a term of three to five years. Sodomy committed with application of violence or with the use of the dependent status of the victim, – the deprivation of liberty for a term of five to eight years.’
1934: Article 154a would eventually be updated to form Article 121 in 1934. Article 121 was enacted in the USSR which banned sex between a man and man, but simultaneously defined such activity as ‘paedophilia’ (i.e. ‘pederasty’), or an illegal sexual act between a man and a male child. This law, despite its ambiguous wording, appears to have been aimed at stamping-out paedophilia (and the sexual exploitation of children), and used in that function, rather than to attack the gay community in the USSR.
1936): Under the leadership of Joseph Stalin the Communist Party of the USSR published the ‘Stalin’ Constitution – one of the greatest documents ever published in the name of human freedom!
As can be clearly observed, Morgan Lev Edward Holleb is wrong when he writes his above paragraph on almost every count! The USSR – certainly never Joseph Stalin – ever ‘re-criminalised’ homosexuality as incorrectly suggested by Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. It was ‘Lenin’ only who ‘de-criminalised’ homosexuality by abolishing the Old Czarist Code and this had absolutely NOTHING to do with the generally homophobic Leon Trotsky as suggested by Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. In 1991, with the collapse of the USSR – the Russian Orthodox Church was re-admitted back into the political process and immediately began a homophobic campaign. This turned-out to be highly successful despite the capitalist West ‘forcing’ the Russian government to ‘legalise’ homosexuality in 1993. In the light of the ‘new’ religious agitation against homosexuality – this law has proven very unpopular and virtually impossible to enforce. This is the price the capitalist world system (and elements of the gay community) has had to pay for supporting the destruction of Socialism in the USSR!