From the start t.A.T.u. were a sensation in Russia, thanks to savvy packaging and snappy pop songs. Dressed in schoolgirl uniforms, the teenagers (Lena's the redhead, Julia's the brunette) appeared on stage and in public as sapphic lovers. Despite kissing each other every chance they got and being generally sassy, the duo denied being lesbians in interviews ("We just love each other"), which only served to bolster the rumors. The true nature of their relationship was part of the mystery and hype of the package, but they made the charts on the strength of catchy pop singles.
Their first album, 200 po Vstriechnoy (200 km/h in the Wrong Lane) was a top hit in Russia in 2001. The videos and hit songs such as "Ya Soshla S Uma" ("All The Things She Said") and "Nas Ne Dagoniat" ("Not Gonna Get Us") brought them international popularity and an English-version release of their album in 2002, helping them make the leap from stars on MTV Russia to stars on MTV in the United States. Following the success of their first album and tour, they cast aside their manager and their lesbian façade and in 2005 released albums in English and Russian, Dangerous and Moving and Ludi Invalidi.