Wednesday, February 26, 2014

“Khodorkovsky”: why did he return to Russia and face certain prison at the hands of Putin?

Khodorkovsky” (2011) is a riveting documentary telling the story of the fall of one of the richest men in post-Soviet Russia.  The film, directed by Cyril Tuschi, looks splendid, in full wide-screen with many shots in Moscow, Israel, Siberia (including the prison where he now lives), and sharp animation recreating his life and his arrest.

The film explains how Russian “oligarchs” were created after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Russia did not have a real currency in the usual sense, the film says, so it wound up giving away wealth rather arbitrarily.  How did this process work in China? 

He was warned by Vladimir Putin that he faced arrest if he returned to Russia, but he did so anyway. He says that he felt controlled by his wealth.  Being that rich is inconsistent with being free. 
The film contains many interviews with his grown son, living in Massachusetts, who says he cannot return to Russia either.  And other Putin expatriates around the world are interviewed.

The film also makes reference to the polonium poisoning of Litvinenko (Jan. 21) in London.  Even living abroad, it isn’t safe for Putin’s enemies.
  
The official site from Kino Lorber is here.
  
The Lantos Foundation has a film “Miklail Khodorkovsjy: The Man Who Believed He Could Change Russia” on YouTube (20 min).
  

The arresting chamber orchestra score, which sounds familiar, was composed by Martin Fruhmorgen. 
  

The Kino feature (long at 116 minutes) can be viewed on Netflix instant play. 

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