This threesome was brought to you by the letter A

Soviet-era erotic alphabet book from 1931 [Советская эротическая азбука 1931 года]

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Image: This threesome brought
to you by the letter «А» (1931)

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UPDATE: Apparently it was Giuliano Vivaldi behind the whole rumor that this collection was intended to “combat adult illiteracy,” as I put it here. He wrote: “I copied this from someone’s wall and added with a few exclamation marks that it was part of Stalin’s fight against illiteracy (joke intended). Since then my joke was cited as fact and traveled the internet.”

Consider me trolled! Still prefer to think of it having been conceived for that purpose.

Reproduced here are a bunch of scans from a fascinating erotic alphabet book printed in the Soviet Union circa 1931, made to combat adult illiteracy. By the sculptor and future People’s Artist of the USSR Sergei Merkurov [Сергей Меркуров], no less. For those of you who enjoyed my previous post on classic Soviet board-games from the 1920s, this should be right up your alley.

Ц, Ш

Ц, Ш

As my friend Jasmine Curcio points out, these images draw upon clear precedents in the phallic imagery of ancient Roman art. Throughout the ABC book one can find images of horny satyrs, indecent cupids, and flying disembodied cocks. Given Merkurov’s own fascination with ancient Greek and Roman art, this is hardly surprising. No doubt, all of these precedents were consciously invoked. Though it is admittedly somewhat interesting to see various dirty motifs cribbed from the style of Roman antiquity deployed for the purposes of a Soviet literacy campaign, which was itself such a distinctly modernizing project.

This should stand as definite challenge the false notion that the Soviet Union suppressed its citizens’ sexual desires, or was in the least conservative when it came to such matters. At least, not until Stalin achieved full control and instituted conservative policies. And, ironically, illustrated by the same man who’d later be commissioned by the Soviet government to sculpt a number of famous monuments to Stalin.

Ф, Ь

Ф, Ь

My friend Anna Khachiyan‘s reaction is worthy of inclusion here:

Thanks for sharing this — it is fantastic! All my years of tumblr trolling, and I’ve never seen anything nearly as good. And so artfully done, too. Alas, if only they had this much sex in real life.

But I must ask: What ever happened to the letter «Ж» in these drawings? This would be a difficult letter to navigate, sexually, but imagine the erotic possibilities!

Anyway, without further delay, some acknowledgments:

All of these great images are reposted from the brilliant Russian Livejournal account Isle of Crimea [Остров Крым]. I’d also like to thank Arya Moghadam for first bringing them to my attention. Credit is also due to Agata Pyzik, who first discovered them for the Anglophone world.

Needless to say, these are not safe for work. Enjoy. Continue reading

Lenin died; Leninism lives

Lenin for children

A picture gallery

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Image: Detail from poster encouraging literacy:
“Lenin is dead; Leninism lives”
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From Krupskaia’s Reminiscences of Lenin

Lenin’s solicitude for the children was strikingly manifested during the famine that prevailed in 1919. The food situation became critical in May. At the second meeting of the Economic Commissium Ilyich raised the question of rendering relief in kind to the children of the workers.

Towards the end of May 1919 the situation got worse. There were lots of grain, thousands of tons of it, in the Ukraine, the Caucasus and in the East, but the civil war had cut off all communications, the central industrial districts were starving. The Commissariat of Education was swamped with complaints about there being nothing to feed the children with.

Lenin and Children, Young Guard

Lenin and Children, Young Guard (1924)

On May 14, 1919, the army of the North-Western Government launched an offensive against Petrograd. On May 15 General Rodzyaako had taken Gdov, the Estonian and Finnish White Guard troops started to advance, and fighting began at Koporskaya Bay. Ilyich was concerned about Petrograd. It was characteristic of him that at this very same time, on May 17, he put through a decree for children to be fed free of charge. This decree provided for the improvement of the food supply for children and the welfare of the working people, and ordered that such supplies should be issued free of charge to all children up to 14 irrespective of their parents’ ration class. The decree applied to the large industrial centres of sixteen non-agricultural gubernias. Continue reading