Old Quad

Rustam Alexander

‘Homosexuality in the USSR, 1956–82’ (PhD in History, 2018).

This thesis investigates the history of debates on homosexuality in the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and Brezhnev. Drawing on a range of hitherto unexplored archival and other sources I demonstrate that there was a lively discussion on the subject among various Soviet experts during this period. The findings of my thesis challenge the conventional view, whereby homosexuality was an ‘unmentionable vice’ and a topic unfit for discussions. As I demonstrate in my thesis, those who discussed homosexuality sought to define and explain it as well as establish their own methods of eradicating it. In important ways, this handling of the issue of homosexuality was specific to the Soviet context. The examination of these discussions will contribute to our knowledge about the oppression of homosexual men and women in the Soviet Union, providing insight into the roots of contemporary Russian homophobia and expanding our knowledge about Soviet history more broadly.

Supervisors: Dr Julie Fedor, Professor Sean Scalmer