Until the early 1990's, homosexuality in Russia was for the most part concealed, both by gay men and lesbians fearful of persecution, and by government officials who denied its existence in the USSR. Sex between men was outlawed by Article 121 of the Russian criminal code, and some gay men and lesbians were sent to psychiatric institutions to "cure" them of their proclivities. For homosexuals in the USSR, their lives were anything but their own.
But with the fall of the Soviet Union came the beginnings of a new tolerance. Since 1993, gay clubs and discotheques have sprouted up in Moscow and St. Petersburg, positive press coverage of gay issues has increased, and perhaps most importantly, Article 121 has been repealed.