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8 Rev. Socialist L. 341 (1982)
An Intolerable Kind of Moral Degeneration: Homosexuality in the Soviet Union

handle is hein.journals/rsl8 and id is 341 raw text is: Review of Socialist Law 4: 341-3S7 (182) 0165.0300/82/04/341-17500.20/0
© Martinus Ni/hoff Publishers, The Hague. Printed in The Netherlands.     341
Scientific Research Officer, Institute for Eastern European Studies,
-University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
With all the tricks at their disposal homosexuals seek out and win the
confidence of youngsters. Then they proceed to act. Don't under any
circumstances allow them to touch you. Such people should be immedi-
ately reported to the administrative organs so they can be removed from
society. 1
This quotation from a book on sex instruction which was brought out by the
Soviet Ministry of Defense in 1964 puts matters quite clearly. Homosexuality
- or at least a specific variety of it, as we shall see - is punishable by
law in the Soviet Union and the rare statements which can be heard and read
on this subject in official publications and in the media are almost without
exception negative in tenor and mostly of a strongly moralizing character.
The officially proclaimed moral code prescribes a modest way of life for Soviet
citizens. A member of the highest legal organ in Soviet Estonia remarked a
few years ago:
The norms of socialist morality, although they recognize sexual freedom,
allow only voluntary sexual relationships between persons of different
sex, who have attained a specific age or physical state. The ideal of
socialist morality are sexual relationships within marriage. 2
In this article I shall analyze a number of data relating to the topic homo-
sexuality in the Soviet Union. As references to this subject in Soviet sources
are rare, the information presented in this article is consequently based on
scarce and incomplete data. I shall deal mainly with the years after 1960. A
theme about which Soviet sources are virtually silent is homosexuality between
women. For reasons which will become clearer below, this article deals mainly
with homosexuality between men.
*The author is grateful to Dr. G.P. van den Berg of the Documentation Office for
East European Law for his assistance and critical comments in the final preparation of
this article. An earlier version of this article appeared in Internationale Spectator,
October 1981.

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