Rustam Alexander
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Stalin decides to make male homosexuality a crime
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Joseph Stalin seizes power and unleashes industrialization and collectivization. He orders his secret police to cleanse large cities of “social anomalies” – the homeless, beggars and prostitutes. One night, the police officers accidentally come across a clandestine homosexual brothel. They detain the men from the brothel, but do not know how to charge them – USSR has no sodomy laws. The chief of the secret police writes to Stalin and urges him to enact a new law criminalizing sodomy. Stalin agrees. A wave of arrests of homosexuals sweeps large Soviet cities. The victims are ordinary people, Russian poets and even Soviet high-ranking officials.

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Red closet

The hidden history of gay oppression in the USSR


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