Chapter

Comrades, Friends, and Lovers: Post‐War Personal Relations and Gender Identities in Theory and Practice

Juliane Fürst

in Stalin's Last Generation

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199575060
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595141 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575060.003.0008
Comrades, Friends, and Lovers: Post‐War Personal Relations and Gender Identities in Theory and Practice

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This chapter analyses to what extent official norms of interpersonal relations were accepted by youth and to what extent they found expression in everyday realities. Friendship, love, romance, and sex were all features of young people's lives under Stalin — and for many of them these elements make up the main and domineering part of their memories of this time. Yet the many forms in which these interpersonal relationships took place do not simply suggest that personal lives always existed, even under the most hostile circumstances. Rather, a detailed look at Soviet intimacy has revealed a much more complex picture of the relationship between state, individual, official, and private values. There is no doubt that the advice on and interference in matters of personal relations by the state was not only accepted but actively sought by many young Soviets. Emotional ties to other people were not considered to be in a realm separate from one's life as a member of the public. The conduct of personal relations served as an important identifier of people's position within the Soviet collective — both in the eyes of others and in the mind of the subject.

Keywords: Soviet Union; interpersonal relations; youth; personal relations; Stalinism

Chapter.  16577 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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