His father, a captain in the Military Attache's office of the Italian Embassy in Moscow, was recalled to Italy in 1929. His mother, a dancer in the Kazan Opera, was arrested in 1937 and sent to the Gulag, where she remained until 1954. Ruggiero Macchi (Rudzhero Makki) was adopted by the Gilyarevskys in 1943; his godfather was a professor in the First Moscow Medical Institute and his wife was a schoolteacher.
Gilyarevskii's scientific interests include issues of scientific information and communications, computer technology (in particular, hypertext and electronic books), and information management. He has participated in a project to improve the methods and means of communication of national scientists to better integrate them into the world of science. Currently, he is in charge of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Problems in Computer Science in the Office of Scientific Research on Informatics at VINITI; he continues to lecture at the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University, is chief editor of anthologies and of the International Forum on Information, and is a member of the editorial boards of several journals as well as of several scientific councils.