Vol. 16 (2023): XVI International Symposium Contemporary Issues of Literary Criticism Socialist Realism in Literature and Art
Plenary Session

The Personality Cult and Socialist Realist Eroticism

Salome Tsopurashvili
Ilia State University

Published 2023-12-11


  • Socialist realism,
  • cinema,
  • eroticism,
  • power,
  • Party leader


The paper investigates the personality cult and erotic dimension of the party leaders in the so-called ‘artistic documentaries’ – fictionalised historical-revolutionary films produced in the 1930s and 1940s. It examines the erotic power was constructed around Stalin’s and Lenin’s figures and distributed through them. It argues that in the process, Stalin not only stepped out from Lenin’s shadow as a genuine leader of the working class and subsequently of the Soviet Union, but he also stepped out and overshadowed the eroticism which initially was embodied in Lenin’s character in these films and from the end of 1930s was transferred to Stalin. Also, if Stalin appears as a locus of heterosexual desire, Lenin first generates and evokes a homosexual one.