27/08/2005. Without exaggerating, "69 short biographies of prominent Russians and contemporaries" - is one of the most unexpected books to come out as of late. For the first time, the life of gays in Russia is shown without gossip and anecdotes. Writers and artists, bureaucrats and individuals of the tsar's royal blood, travelers and actors, conservatives and liberals, Orthodox followers and agnostics people who have affected the course of history. They are men and women whose love and feelings knew no boundaries.
In the 600-page volume, which was financed by the embassy of the Netherlands in Russia, you will not find spicy little details. Instead, you will find many facts that were normally concealed, forgotten or kept secret on purpose by official biographies.
The beginning of the book contains essays of the lives of prominent Russians who were different because of their "unusual" sexuality. The first essay in the book is about Ekaterina Dashkova, who was president of the Russian Academy of Sciences and friend to Empress Ekaterina II. The Russian writers Lermontov, Gogol, Batyushkov, Kuzmin, Tsvetaeva and Parnok were all ascribed to being homosexuals. From the tsar's bureaucrats, the list continued with state chancellors and ministers and even leaders of the Synod Russian Orthodox Church.
The list of contemporaries opens with the producer Roman Viktyuk and the honored artist Sergey Zarubin, and ends with the poet Yaroslav Mogutin, who currently lives in the U.S.
The author of the book, Vladimir Kirsanov, editor of the gay magazine "Kvir", wrote this work basing it on rare and forgotten memoirs. The author offers his view on the lives of very important people in Russian culture and politics, beginning from the end of the 18th century and ending in the recent past.
With the exception of a few, the second part of the book contains authorized biographies of our contemporaries, whose social and political activity, and creative work were connected with the struggle for the basic human right of freedom of one's private life and sexuality.
"Behind the appeals to leave the private lives of prominent Russians alone and not "dig in their dirty laundry", hides not the care for a certain moral purity, but voices, which express blind fear of the contradictions of sexuality of which it is easier to keep silent about if one does not declare it a defect and crime, as it has been till recently. In this meaning, the publication in Russia of this book with biographies of prominent gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals can be looked at as a protest against those forces of society, which more and more actively use homophobic rhetoric to suit their own needs in the dirty political struggle", states the introduction of the book.
The Russian version of "TimeOut" called the book, "the first open list of Russian homosexuals, which could turn into a "Schindler's List".