In Russian state-controlled media: "How polyamory is breaking the rules of love and sex" (Updated)
|Russia Beyond's original logo. Rossiyskaya Gazeta is the|
Russian government's official newspaper of record.
So does this mean that discussion of polyamory is officially okay in Russia's current climate — unlike sympathetic gay reporting, which can get you criminal charges or a visit from state-approved thugs? And what is the Russian poly scene actually like? I'd love to hear an informed opinion.
From the English edition:
No more excuses: How polyamory is breaking the rules of love and sex
By Yekaterina Sinelschikova
Society is not ready to accept the polyamorous view on love: the right to have a relationship with multiple people, without the torment from pangs of guilt. Some people, however, think that society’s view on the issue will begin to change. Russia Beyond’s correspondents met with Muscovites who identify as polyamorous.
...It was a small, smoky room in a jazz bar in the center of Moscow: a basement without a sign, between a grocery store and a coffee shop. You can only get to it through the [closet] in the corridor of a tavern. Instead of coats and hangers, there was a passage inside. Six people were inside the room gathered around a table. It was tea time and a single domino was on the table.
“We're not expecting anyone else. The rest are tired after the orgy and will not be coming,” a man with a red beard and a pipe says on top of everyone’s laughter.
All of them are in relationships (or know that they could be in a relationship) with several partners, and each of the partners know about the existence of the others.
He calls himself Tur, like they called the primeval wild bull, which by the 17th century was entirely extinct. There are four other girls in the room, as well as Ian, a non-binary transgender, which means he doesn't consider himself a woman or a man. Everyone shares a single way of life, one philosophy, one modern view of love, which is unaccepted by most of society. All of them are in relationships (or know that they could be in a relationship) with several partners, and each of the partners know about the existence of the others.
"We are polyamorous. In a nutshell, it's ethical non-monogamy," Tur says. “But that’s only if you explain it in the simplest of terms.”
Once upon a time, 41-year-old Tur had a wife. ... Now he still owns the theater, but without his wife. He also builds and sells homes, advises and consults on real estate, builds historic ships like Drakkar or Ushkui, and takes them through northern routes. One of his girlfriends is sitting next to him with her head on his shoulder. She introduced herself as Fox. She wears a spacious t-shirt that does not fit, and on her thin hands she wears multi-colored trinkets made of of beads. She is 18 years old. ... Fox has two girlfriends, two boyfriends and Tur, who lives with her most of the time.
This is Ian, a 21 year old designer. He has a rough voice, short, stiff hair on his head and a loose tank top that exposes thick black hair under his arms.
When his family didn't accept him as transgender, he ran away from home. He chose a new name for himself, which has the old Irish meaning of "God is gracious,” and the Hebrew meaning of “Gift of God” (“gift from God”). He has a boyfriend and so far he is in a relationship only with him. But that’s for now.
In the turbulent 1990s, a common euphemism amongst students and nonconformists read as follows: "to do friendship," says Tur. You were friends with someone, and suddenly you wanted to have sex with them. But you did not stop being friends. You did not become a couple. You did not become husband and wife. And no one thought that was bad. It was accepted.
For 40 years Tur witnessed how this “acceptance” changed. And despite the fact that the polyamorous community is now keeping a low profile, and most don't want to show off, Tur thinks it's temporary.
"People are afraid or don’t want to notice that the norm is changing,” said Tur. “But some of them are brave enough to say it out loud."
Read the whole article. It's currently one of the six most popular on the site.
Other stories there push some edges a bit, such as a feature on Stalin airbrushing historical figures out of photographs, while others echo the clumsy foreign outreach of old Soviet days: "Why is Russia’s S-400 Triumph Air Defense System So Popular Abroad?" "Why do Russians use tractors on aircraft carriers?" (That's not a joke; a tractor is used in cleaning the deck.) "Inspired by Russia’s greatest commander, Suvorov shortbread cookies are a blast".
Update Oct. 22: Anton B. writes,
Hi from Russia!
The Russian poly-scene exists. Not very widely, but it became a lot stronger in last couple of years.
There have been many articles in Russian media, and some of them are good. Here is a list of some of articles (in Russian, but Google translate can give you an impression):
I'm glad that my husband has another romantic relationship. Interview with two trouples, 6 persons in all.
What is compersion?
It isn't about sex, it's about connection. Poly monologs, published on the official state day of "family and fidelity."
Territory of trust. Deep reflection of a famous Russian feminist.
From monogamy to polyamory: how to choose right relationships format
There are websites (not many), there are groups on social media (the largest I know has more than 7000 subscribers), there are chat rooms. There are meetups.
There is partial translation of Kimchi Cuddles (more than 500 strips).
There are published The Ethical Slut (translated from the first edition, sadly) and amateur translations of The Husband Swap and The Game Changer. You can call it piracy, but they really can't be published here in the proper way.
But the article you have linked... It's a sort of shit (official media, yes). I've heard that the person who wrote it promised to send text to interviewed persons, but didn't. And... a 40-year old man with (all those) 16-18 year old girls... you name it...