Historical story

Was Stalin gay?

He was an avid homophobe, we know for sure. During his time in the Soviet Union, a draconian law was introduced, according to which homosexuals could end up in a labor camp for up to eight years. Many high officials and members of the ruling elite fell victim to the anti-gay campaign. Where did Stalin's obsession with gays come from? Was it not something personal for him at times?

Stalin called his enemies "male whores", he did not hide his deep aversion, even hatred, towards the gays he sent to labor camps. Yet there is no shortage of theories about Stalin's bisexuality. It is known that he had problems with women.

His marriages were not successful, both wives died prematurely. The second wife, Nadia, committed suicide during the revolution's 15th anniversary party. Stalin was not particularly devastated by this loss, he believed that the Bolshevik should love the party more than his wife.

Love for the party, however, did not mean giving up your erotic life. As Simon Sebag Montefiore claims in his famous biography "Stalin. The Court of the Red Tsar 'the dictator flirted with women in a timid and awkward manner. An actress he liked was adored at dinner by throwing bread balls at her.

The anniversary of the October Revolution was associated with Stalin not only with a great victory, but also with the suicide of his wife - Nadia.

He was also not an affectionate lover. “I was taking my powerful tool out of my white pants. Later, I approached the matter very specifically. A few moves and the end ”- we can learn this from the book“ Stalin's Confession. A frank conversation with the old Bolshevik ”, written by Christopher Mack.

Describing this thread in Stalin's life, the author does not omit references to the probable bisexuality of Josif Vissarionovich Dzugashvili. This was to be proved by Stalin's specific behavior towards men, for example, the passionate kiss that the drunk dictator gave to William Bullitt, the first American ambassador to the USSR.

Dancing with a man - Molotov's specialty

On the one hand, homosexuality in the Soviet Union was punishable, but on the other hand, male friendship formed the basis of Soviet propaganda. In one of the regime's films, "Tractor Drivers," it is not difficult to find threads with homosexual overtones, for example in scenes showing three tractor drivers sleeping together under one coat.

Men surrounded Stalin in his professional and private life. The commander held private parties at which alcohol poured in streams. Mainly male company enjoyed them. One of Stalin's favorite pastimes during such binge drinking was pairing up his guests to dance for him.

"Since the 1930s, Molotov's specialty has been to dance with another man to the amusement of Stalin," says Montafiore in his book. One of Molotov's dance partners at the chief's dance was Jakub Berman. A close associate of Bierut did not expect an invitation to dance from the USSR minister of foreign affairs, but he did not refuse. He remembered Stalin smiling at the dancers and "really enjoying himself".

Stalin's Collection

It was not Stalin's only peculiar pastime to enjoy the sight of his subordinates dancing at the behest, he also liked to look at drawings of naked men and annotate them with dirty comments. In 2009, a collection of 19 photos was presented in a Moscow gallery showing reproductions of male nudes created by 19th-century realist painters.

Vyacheslav Molotov, one of Stalin's closest associates, was very fond of dancing in ... men's arms.

On one of them, Stalin drew a red pen on the male genitals. In another, showing a naked man standing against the wall touching his private parts, the chief wrote the remark “You should work, not masturbate. Time for re-education. Portrait of a couple with a naked man standing above a naked woman, Stalin commented with a remark - "idiot, have you forgotten what to do?"

The publication of the collection of drawings with comments made it possible not only to get acquainted with the bloody dictator's sense of humor, but also fueled a wave of speculation about his homosexual inclinations.

Golibody, bodyguard and lover?

If Josif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was gay, who was his lover? Christopher Macht, author of Stalin's Confession, points to Karl Pauker, a Hungarian Jew, former barber at the Budapest Opera, who for many years dealt with the personal protection of the leader. Simon Sebag Montefiore introduced him in his book as "a fan of gourmet food, cars and new technical inventions for the Politburo."

One of Pauker's and Stalin's favorite pastimes was to parody the death of Grigory Zinoviev (pictured), an associate of the chieftain believed to be a traitor.

Stalin trusted Pauker a lot, sometimes even allowing him to shave. Pauker entertained the leader by telling Jewish jokes, using his acting talent. At parties, Pauker's flagship display was the imitation of Grigory Zinoviev during the execution, when he embraced the legs of the executioner. Stalin laughed at this scene to the brim.

If the chief had an intimate bond with his bodyguard, then - as Nigel Cawthorne, author of the book "The Erotic Life of Great Dictators" claims - Pauker was a passive partner in this relationship. Stalin's children also liked the chief of security, because for Christmas he dressed up as Grandfather Frost and handed out gifts. Despite the close relationship between him and the dictator, he shared the fate of many other people close to Stalin, in 1937 he was arrested and shot.


  1. Nigel Cawthorne, The erotic life of the great dictators, Puls London publishing house, London 1996.
  2. Robert Cheda, The History of Homosexuality in Russia, "Rzeczpospolita", April 6, 2017.
  3. Christopher Macht, Stalin's Confession. A frank conversation with the old Bolshevik, Bellona Publishing House, Warsaw 2017.
  4. Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stalin. Court of the Red Tsar, Magnum Publishing House, Warsaw 2012.
  5. Shaun Walker, Stalin's crude side laid bare, "Independent", 19/12/2009.