Soviets behind the manly kiss

Men locking lips in public might be a rare event in today’s Russia, but comrades kissing behind the Iron Curtain was once the height of fraternal protocol.

Stalin is still alive in Russia – and very much adored 

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin looks unsure as pilot Valery Chkalov (right) leans in for a kiss in 1936

Going deep

By 1937, Stalin seems to have warmed to the practice. Here, he lunges for a peck from pilot Vasily Molokov

Comrade Brezhnev at it again …

The kiss trickle down

Red Army soldiers kiss after victory was declared over Nazi Germany

The “socialist fraternal kiss” was reportedly an expression of equality – upturning the ancien regime’s custom of lowly subjects kissing noble hands (or feet, in ancient Rome and Persia).

What looks like a last dance is actually a state event to welcome cosmonauts back to Earth led by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (third from left).

Soviet official Ivan Silayev grabs a last kiss as tennis champion Andrei Cherkasov 

And no one kissed like Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, pictured (center) greeting communist heart-throb Konstantin Chernenko in Crimea in 1980

 The kiss spreading to East bloc

Perhaps the most famous manly French kiss of all times: Erich Honecker – Leonid Brezhnev

Mikhail Gorbachev may have ushered in a new era when he rose to lead the U.S.S.R., but the Soviet kiss was one custom that continued unaltered

Western take on manly kiss

Any references in western culture to the manly kiss among politicians are hard to come by.  They are more symbolic – and there is absolutely no real-life passionate French kissing or lip-locking. That is just unheard of. 

“The Advance Agent of Modern Civilization.” Udo Keppler, Puck, January 12, 1898. Source: Library of Congress

Cartoonists portrayed Wilhelm II with increasing venom as a perpetrator of violence through World War I.

Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II appears as an anointed leader, his angel wings made of swords, astride a cannon dragged by clerics and missionaries toward foreign lands. Wilhelm points ahead, where the inhabitants flee.

In a post-Bismarck era, Germany was a late-comer to the colonial land grab in Africa and the Pacific.

Its colonies were acquired through purchase, agreements with other world powers, and economic domination. However, brutally repressive policies followed that included accusations of genocide.

Hitler and Stalin portrayed in a pact together – driven into one another’s arms

Trump is also thought to be overly friendly, even subservient to the Russian President Putin

Trump, looking very convincing in his devotion for the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un

This is irony at its best – such a love affair never took place

Trump, known for his macho-ism is better known for his compromising meetings with the members of the other sex

Macron and Trudeau with just a peck on the cheek – too meek

Obama and Trudeau, profiles in bromance


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