Geopolitical aspects of prudery, or Stalin as the breeches maker: political censorship and puritan censorship in the USSR

Duccio Colombo

Abstract


The Russian Parliament recently discussed two bills, one concerning the ban of obscenities even in works of art, the other the ban of “unnecessary” foreign words; this coincidence indicates to the relationship between political and puritanical censorship, both extremely relevant in the Stalinist and post-stalinist periods.

If little can be added to our knowledge of Soviet political censorship, the remarkable prudery of the system from the Thirties on is in contradiction with both the movements for sexual liberation, which in the previous period were frequently connected with the Bolshevik party, and the discourse of the “new man” which was simultaneously flourishing.

Though an explanation can be found in the well-known return to “bourgeois” values in Stalinist society, the extreme level prudery reached is probably better explained by the poetics of Socialist Realism: art, here, was regarded as a direct mean of action on the viewer's psyche; abstract contemplation was banned and the classical justification of the nude, therefore, was not pertinent.

 

 


Keywords


Censorship; Pornography; USSR; Russian Federation; Socialist Realism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/1409

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-16989

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