chapter  9
16 Pages

Shostakovich and Soviet Eros:Forbidden Fruit in the Realm of Communal Communism

According to prevailing opinion, Soviet society and culture spurned with unrestrained sanctimoniousness any scholarly venture concerned with libido and erotica (all such subjects were covered in Soviet phraseology by the negative Western-bourgeois term ‘sex’); such projects were restrained by a heavy damper of official slogans and moral precepts. A well-known example of the denial of sex was the loud declaration by the Soviet activist Liudmila Ivanova – ‘there is no sex in the Soviet Union …’ – during a Leningrad-Boston broadcast in 1986.3 Immediately evoking a burst of laughter, this fabulous aphorism exemplified Soviet sexophobia, which was later discussed and ridiculed in a significant number of films, media articles and even research.4 Some well-known facts, such as that concerning the ultimately futile war waged on prostitution throughout the seventy-

1  Quoted in Valerii Sashin, ed., Kharmsizdat predstavliaet: sbornik materialov Sovetskii eros 20-30-kh godov [Kharmsizdat Presents: A Collection of Writings on Soviet Eros in the 1920s-1930s] (St Petersburg: M. K. & Kharmsizdat, 1997), 34.