Stalin Liked To Deface Pictures Of Nude Men

“I know that the gentlemen in the enemy camp may think of me however they like. I consider it beneath me to try to change the minds of these gentlemen.” โ€”Joseph Stalin, 1931 interview

In A Nutshell

Head of the Communist Party, instrumental in establishing the Soviet Union, responsible for the deaths of millions . . . and nude art critic. Joseph Stalin had something of an odd hobby, and that was writing vaguely humorous or downright strange pieces of commentary on prints of paintings by 19th-century artists. Some historians use the drawings as reasons to question Stalin’s sexual orientation, while others say he merely had the humor of a schoolboy. (Pictures in the link below.)

The Whole Bushel

We all have our hobbies, and if you’re living in the totalitarian, World War II Soviet Union, we’re guessing there aren’t a whole lot of options for entertainment. That still doesn’t make Josef Stalin’s newly discovered hobby any less weird.

He liked to write commentary on pictures of naked men.

More specifically, on prints of works by 19th-century Russian painters that just happen to feature men that are completely or nearly naked. In some, he censors their nudity by scribbling out the naughty bits. In others, he sticks to just making derogatory comments about the subjects in the prints. And sometimes, he references their similarities to people he’s had killed.

The prints were a part of an art exhibit going on in Moscow on the 130th anniversary of the dictator’s birthday. It’s a bizarre glimpse into the mind of a man who simultaneously dictated the brutal deaths of millions and fought on the side of Allied troops, instrumental in the defeat of Hitler’s armies.

And it’s the insight into a mind with an occasionally very, very childish sense of humor.

On one of the prints, showing a naked man with a naked woman, Stalin derides him for having forgotten what to do with her. Another, showing a nude man painted from behind, is the target of a scrawled insult that’s the Russian equivalent of informing him that he’ll go blind doing that, now get back to work.

Some have suggested that the drawings impart a sense of Stalin hiding either a severe case of homophobia, or that he was gay himself. Others, however, point to a long-standing Bolshevik tradition that was little more or less than grown men drawing during meetings and slipping their notes to others under the desk. With Stalin’s heavy-handed rule, however, fun and games stopped early, and it’s also possible that the commentaries are a look into a very lonely man.

True, he was alone because he was sitting on the top of a pile of skulls of his own creation, but lonely nonetheless. (Even at home—his first wife died from typhus, and his second committed suicide.)

Some of the drawings provide cryptic clues of a psyche that just might have been haunted by his own actions, as he wrote comments about some of his former associates who had fallen out of favor and ultimately been killed. One, a man named Karl Radek, was addressed by name. Radek, the โ€œginger bastardโ€ of one of Stalin’s scrawled notes, was a close associate of Stalin’s who fell from the dictator’s good graces not long after helping him write the Russian constitution. His sentence of hard labor was cut short by his death, and there was never much doubt that Stalin had something to do with it.

While the drawings—19 in all—have been confirmed as Stalin’s, what hasn’t been confirmed is whether or not there are more out there, and if Stalin wrote them solely for his own entertainment or for another purpose. The ones that have survived were in the possession of a single family who, understandably, wanted to remain anonymous because of their implied connection to the dictator.

Show Me The Proof

BBC: In Pictures: Stalin’s ‘rude jottings’
History Channel: Joseph Stalin
The Independent: Stalin’s crude side laid bare
The Telegraph: Josef Stalin defaced drawings with rude comments

  • Lisa 39

    Maybe he was jealous because there weren’t any nude drawings of him. That would be my first guess, or maybe he was jealous because his body didn’t look like theirs.

    • g.g.palin

      He seemed like a fairly handsome man in his younger days.
      So yeah, maybe your first guess.

      • Lisa 39

        Hi gg, see, its always the pretty ones who turn out the meanest lol

        • heli chopter

          I must be pretty evil.

          • Lisa 39

            Are you a pretty boy? Or girl? Not all pretty people are evil, some are actually pretty nice ๐Ÿ™‚

          • heli chopter

            I’m a boy but, I don’t consider myself pretty. Great hair maybe.

          • Lisa 39

            Well your grey head pic is pretty cute ๐Ÿ˜€

          • heli chopter

            Thx you don’t know how hard it is for a 20 year old to grow naturally grey hair.

          • Lisa 39

            You have no idea how much that cracked me up! So you’re 20 and have great hair and think you may be evil, i’ll give you an evil evaluation, get comfortable, i’m going to ask you some questions, just be honest.

            #1 You’re walking down the street and find $20, do you
            A, look around to see if anyone’s looking for it
            B, give it to a homeless person who looks cold and hungry or
            C, deposit it into your savings account titled “next evil invention death ray”?

          • heli chopter

            Well I think I would use it for my business that uses some “help” from some chinese minors. A little mistreatment in South America . You know the legal stuff.

          • Lisa 39

            Ok, next question,

            #2 You’re on a walk and find a cute
            fuzzy little puppy who’s to little to take care of himself and there’s no owner looking for him, do you,
            A, take him home and hang up fliers
            B, take him home and keep him
            C, kick him the hell out of your way?

          • heli chopter

            I actually answered this question earlier but it must have not gone through. I didn’t check till now. But I am a dog person even though I have four cats, which are evil. Very. Very. Evil. I feel I am not doing good on this test though.

          • Lisa 39

            You’re doing fine, last question

            #3 someone asks you what you’re doing tonight, do you reply,
            A, spending time with family
            B, going out to party
            C, taking over the world

          • heli chopter

            I think you know too much already. Oh and when I take over the world you’ll be spared…for now.

          • Lisa 39

            Pfft, you’re so cute! Actually i’ve been looking for an assistant so i can take over the world, you’re not exactly assistant material, i’m thinking partner, if you’re interested i’ll continue the search for an assistant and we can start making plans :p

          • heli chopter

            Let’s get to it.

          • Lisa 39

            Awesome team spirit! I will continue “evaluating” potential assistants, all messages from this point on will be in secret evil plot code.

            This message will self destruct in 10 seconds.

    • lonelydisco

      Stalin was, as described by the fine staff at Cracked internet magazine, a “young Keanu Reeves busy with attending to your girlfriends’ hymens.” My female side in an alternate universe would hit that.

      • Lisa 39

        He is handsome so i suppose he got a lot of action, maybe if i was young and didn’t know how evil he was i could be tempted to hit that, knowing what i know now, no way.

        • heli chopter

          That pic of young Stalin is kinda what my hair looks like but, darker.

          • Lisa 39

            Then i agree, you do have great hair :p

  • Ryan

    That BBC link isn’t working for me. I tried clicking it in a Soviet-esque fashion and everything.

    • g.g.palin

      “Soviet-esque fashion” what does that mean you sent the link to a gulag?

      • inconspicuous detective

        it means he let the button click him.

      • Ryan

        I used an old, iron-forged mouse and beat the button with a sledge-hammer. I even starved my family until the link worked.

  • oouchan

    I think he was compensating for something. Whatever his “fetish” was, he was clearly a wacko!

    Nutjob.

    • rincewind

      I believe he had a few other trifling mental problems as well. Poor man…..

      • lonelydisco

        I wouldn’t feel empathy so much for such a personality that IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF TENS OF MILLIONS OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN!

  • UN

    everybody’s a critic

  • inconspicuous detective

    why is it that even dictator or tyrant in history is scrutinized for possibly being gay?

    it sounds like (unfairly) the label is being used as a form of revenge; a “jab after the fact” at the leader in question. it’s irksome.

    • ade

      I don’t think that by calling him a closeted gay is necessarily a jab at the fact, rather it in my opinion implies that the fact of not being able to be who you truly are can make the anger, or discontent manifest in ways like it did him – in this case killing millions.

      • inconspicuous detective

        if that is the case than i really, really disagree with the label as opposed to just disagreeing with it as i did before.

        • ronald dump

          The West is more progressive than Russia, is being gay a bad thing? Why should it be an insult?

  • Scott

    Yes yes, just like every hated historical figure Stalin was a closet homo. I for one don’t believe this any more than I believed it about Hitler. Ya, he was a dick. That doesn’t mean he sucked them.

    • Nathaniel A.

      Was going to upvote… and then the last sentence.

      • Scott

        Ok? Good to know, I guess.

    • lonelydisco

      I personally refrain from calling homosexuals “homos.” Not because of pro-gay activism, but because “homos” is Greek for “same.” Homo Sapiens? Basically, just by utilizing the term in casual conversation, you can be quote mined as calling yourself gay.

    • ronald dump

      There is a reason why gay men end up like that. First of all, men spend half their time thinking about sex. If you’re a repressed gay, presto!, you suddenly have double the time of most men!
      More time to achieve your goals.

      Secondly, repressed gays can’t fap to women, but they can’t fap to men either. Because they can’t even admit to THEMSELVES that they are gay. They have no way to release their sexual desires, hence they become really resentful and frustrated.

      Lastly, they think that society always belittles them for being gay, and they always want to compensate for that by achieving more.

      Stalin was definitely a repressed gay. When he watched films with aides, he would shout whenever he saw nudity and such. Look at how he prudishly censored these nude prints.

      I have a friend who is a repressed gay and he does the exact same thing, he always loudly voices disapproval whenever we watch a film and there is kissing and petting.

      A straight guy wouldn’t mind seeing kissing at all.

      Another example of a gay autocrat might be Ayatollah Khamenei, if his former cellmate Hoshang Abadi is to be believed.

  • elmofuddleputt

    Pickle-puffin’ commies will be pickle-puffin commies.