Stalin and Trotsky, the Founder' of the Soviet Union, and their Attitude Toward Sex
Forbidden Nectars of the Revolution
1914, St. Petersburg -- the heart of all Russian Revolutions, the soul of all world revolutions -- here, the Congress of Bolshevik Communist delegates agreed to meet. It was getting late, though. The group stood outside, Joseph Stalin taking occasional puffs from his cigarette, as all of the comrades deeply wrapped themselves in their Siberian parkas. One of the comrades was taking a secret swigs from a flask of vodka, as Leon Trotsky stood looking determined and deep in thought.
There wasn't really much conversation going on, but there was something that stood out deeply in everyone's minds: the loud sounds of two comrades having a loud sensual "conversation," clustered in some corner of the Communist congress hall. Maybe nobody really knew what to say about it, that ridged, thumping rhythm, accented with moans or dirty talk. Trotsky stood there, probably trying to pretend that he couldn't hear the sounds. Alexandra Kollontai, a Russian Socialist and Free Love advocate, was one of the participants -- it must have truly irritated Trotsky, who despised Kollontai. But nobody said anything...
... except for Stalin. Everyone's inaction around him must have given him the thought that now was a time for a political play. Upon first joining the Bolsheviks, Stalin was very low-ranking. Now was an opportunity for him to show himself as a wholesome, honorable, proletarian worker.
"That's some pretty hot sex, huh, Leon?" Stalin remarks to Trotsky. [*1] But Trotsky returns with a face that is half-shock and half-embarrassment, saying nothing and walking away. Stalin's face turned red, as he sheepishly disappeared back into the Communist congress.
The leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution did not like to talk about sex. There was a contradiction in this. Bolsheviks, like other Socialists, had always demanded woman's emancipation and an end to Sexism. There was questioning in the role of how women participate with society, but this bold curiosity didn't approach the bedroom. And without being able to discuss the most characteristic interaction between men and women, the leaders of Bolshevism would never be able to achieve gender equality. This is a small anecdote, but it provides a deeper glimpse into the minds of Soviet Russia's legislators.
If I'm in Love, Then Nothing Can Stop Me
The Bolshevik Revolution burst onto the scene in 1917, destroying every independent, Socialist organization around it. The worker unions were reduced to incompetence, merely advocating lower wages and more work. The situation was so degenerated that these labor unions were the exact opposite of their counterparts in Capitalist nations. [*2] Stalin remembered how much he hated women -- and passed a law requiring all girls attending Soviet schools to wear pig-tails. [*3]
But by the 1930's, things had changed. Lenin was dead, Trotsky was in hiding, and very few who were originally involved with the Bolshevik Revolution were even alive. Stalin had already been recognized as the supreme leader of the Soviet's lawmaking body, the Politburo. Those who had held considered power side-by-side with Stalin, such as Zinoviev and Bukharin, were only awaiting the day when Stalin would order their executions. And by 1940, Stalin's control over Russia was complete. Nobody stood in opposition to the obelisk of the tyrant.
And in the middle of all this is Alexei Kapler, an aging filmmaker and an unpopular poet.
"But I love her, and I don't care what happens!" Alexei stands arguing with a companion in Vosstaniya Square, or "Uprising Square" in English.
"You only met her a few times, for a few hours at most," his friend Sergei responds, "And that was in Moscow, this is St. Petersburg." It's as though the echoes of that love affair at the Communist Congress in 1914 finally reached ears that wanted to discuss it.
"My heart is aflame for her," Alexei replies, "I've spent my entire life making films, scripts, poems, and stories, because I wanted to capture a certain beauty in life. And she is overflowing with that beauty."
"You're crazy," Sergei says.
"Love is crazy, and if I'm in love, then I don't care," Alexei stops walking and meets his friend, face-to-face.
"Well... if she loves you, too, then maybe you could be happy together," Sergei said.
"And she does love me."
"Then you're out of your mind," Sergei replied, "Because I don't know anybody who has the guts to date Stalin's daughter."
"That's the old world," Alexei said, "This isn't Tsarist Russia, anymore."
"Friend," Sergei responded, "Sometimes I think this world is more like the old than we like to admit."
Soviet News: British Spy Discovered Hiding Under the Alias "Alexei Kapler"
"Give me the love letters you have from Kapler!" Stalin demanded from his daughter, Svetlana, "I know the whole story!" Then, as he patted the side of his shirt pocket, he said, "I've got all your telephone conversations right here!"
"Your Kapler is a British spy. He's under arrest!" the interrogator screams at his unprotected offspring. Svetlana handed over to her father letters, photographs, and even a script that Kapler had given her. "But I love him!" she screams as he hoards up the last scraps of memories she might have of him. "Love!" he screams, and then Joseph slaps his daughter across the face twice. "How low she's sunk!" he screams to a 'comrade' within listening distance, "Such a war going on and she's busy the whole time fucking!"
By "war," of course, Joseph Stalin meant his loaning of soldiers and equipment to Adolf Hitler for the genocide of Eastern Europe. This was during the Nazi-Soviet Alliance in 1940, which was established with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. It was only a few months before the Nazis would reverse their alliance and invade Russia.
Stalin spent that evening alone, in his room, prying through the love letters and materials that Alexei sent to Svetlana. "Writer!" he screams as he rips up the photographs and the pages from the script, "He can't even write decent Russian!" And then, a few moments later, "She couldn't even get herself a Russian!" Kapler was Jewish, not Russian; and this is what upset Stalin so much. But even Stalin wasn't Russian -- he was Georgian, a part of his personal life that he had always denied.
Alexei was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD). He was banned from Moscow, with Stalin treating the city perimeters as a chastity belt for his daughter. Upon his release from prison, Alexei traveled again to Moscow to see his love -- where he was arrested and imprisoned for another five years. [*4]
A year after Alexei's first sentencing, Svetlana married Grigori Morozov. Stalin allowed the marriage, and didn't interfere when the divorce came around. Afterward, he told her that Morozov had "thrown her way by the Zionists." She said, "The younger Jews cared nothing for Zionism..." He interrupted screaming, "No! You don't understand... the entire older generation is contaminated with Zionism and now they're teaching the young people too." [*5]
A few years later, Stalin was getting drunk on New Year's Eve. He was surrounded with the replacements he had made for the original Communists who had been secretly executed. Around him were Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Bulganin, and Krushchev. After enough drinks, Stalin ordered his daughter to dance for them, and when she tried to leave, he dragged her back in by her hair. This was the 1952, New Year's Eve Party at the Russian, Communist Congress. [*6]
Joseph Stalin died next year, in 1953. Svetlana Stalin had defected to the United States in 1967, [*7] taking the name Lana Peters and living in Wisconsin. In a 2010 interview, she said "I have an American-born daughter. The only unhappiness of my life is that I would like to live closer to her." She has also stated that maybe she should have defected to Switzerland, a neutral country, instead of the United States. [*8]
*1. "Stalin: Breaker of Nations," by Robert Conquest, Oxford University Press, USA, 40th anniversary edition, November 15, 2007, page 70, chapter 5: "Revolution," section 5.
*3. "Europe: 1890-1945," by Stephen J. Lee, page 290, chapter 7: "Russia and the Soviet Union, 1918-1953," published by Routledge, 1st edition, November 14, 2003, ISBN-10: 0415254558, ISBN-13: 978-0415254557.
*4. "Stalin: Breaker of Nations," by Robert Conquest, Oxford University Press, USA, 40th anniversary edition, November 15, 2007, page 260, chapter 12: "War," section 10.