ABSTRACT

An extraordinary amount of shared energy, coordination, and resolve must be marshalled in order for such a powerless group to overcome the natural paralysis of this seemingly lose-lose situation. The level of insurgent consciousness among the aggrieved group must be sufficient to motivate individuals to participate in the movement despite the risks associated with open political action. Any movement group needs members, a satisfying reward structure, a reliable means of communication, and respected leaders in order to operate. In Russia, Association for the Equal Rights of Homosexuals and the St. Petersburg group “Wings” were groups of the former, reform/assimilationist type. While the structure of opportunities was there for the development of a gay and lesbian movement in the USSR, the level of social consciousness among Soviet gays and lesbians and the degree of their organizational potential were far too low to permit the realization of a politically oriented, sustainable social movement for liberation.