In this article, written 2 1/2 years before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, I consider how lesbians and other queer women created lives in what was an increasingly totalitarian regime. Borrowing from Black queer feminist Afro-futurism, I try to open up space for survival in un-survivable conditions without in anyway suggesting that anti-Blackness and the anti-queer regime of Vladimir Putin are the same. In order to figure out how the tools of Afro-futurism can be applied to the homo-pessimism of Russia, I begin with the death of the lesbian as a utopian figure in the US and trace her rebirth in Putin's Russia. Then I turn to an LGBTQ magazine as well as five interviews with lesbian and queer women in Russia. By insisting on the utopian possibility of creating lesbian existence when such existence is denied, both the journal and the women managed to create some breathing room in a very anti-queer, anti-feminist and patriarchal state and society.

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