Gay life in Russia has always been both a forbidden fruit and a terra incognita. Not that gays did not exist in Russia, but the society feigned ignorance of their existence. Homosexuality was not publicly mentioned, nor was it ever reflected in annals or chronicles. Same-sex affairs of prominent citizens were hushed up and treated as nonevents.
The official historiography stonewalled the gay side of the social life. The iron curtain that fell after the October Revolution did not allow any leakage of information on gay issues to Russia to the West. In Soviet times gays were criminally prosecuted, jailed and subjected to forcible psychiatric treatment - keeping track of gay events and gay history in Russia has become dangerous.
It was not before the perestroika that publications in the field of the Russian gay history have become possible. No information was readily available and the researches had to grope for knowledge on gay life in pre-revolutionary and Soviet Russia. Only the combined titanic efforts of prominent Russian and Western scholars - historians, sociologists, sexologists and many other specialists - contibuted to the reconstruction and portrayal of the gay life during all periods of the long Russian history.