It’s been months, if not years, since I last saw a good movie in the theater. On TV, they are showing “Outbreak,” “Pandemic” and cheap adaptations thereof every day.
But fortunately, there is this Russian lawyer and exposer of corruption, Alexei Navalny. He makes one film after another. And most of them are more captivating, better researched and better produced than most commercial films.
I know, Navalny is controversial, and I am the last person to approve of his nationalistic and xenophobic statements. (If he has moved on since then, he should finally distance himself from them.) But his films are really good.
The most famous film by now is “A Palace for Putin”. In feature length, it’s about much more than Putin’s 100 billion ruble (and butt-ugly) palace, the property for which is 39 times the size of the Principality of Monaco. It is about the system of corruption at the highest level, who pockets what money where and how, about the middlemen and straw men (or rather straw grandmothers, whose granddaughters always happen to have affairs with Putin). And it’s about the beginnings of this biggest heist in modern history – in Dresden, Germany.
If your Russian has gotten a little rusty since Perestroika, don’t worry. The films have English subtitles.
Equally meticulously researched is the film that reveals the exact sequence of events, the many years of planning, and the perpetrators of the Novichok attack on Navalny (and previous attempted attacks):
It’s really like a thriller. The story becomes even more incredible when Navalny finds out the phone numbers of the killers and calls them, one after the other. They all hang up. Only one of them is careless enough to speak with Navalny, who poses as a superior from the state apparatus, about what went wrong with the poison attack and how he made evidence disappear.
In Russia, all this evidence does not even lead to the opening of a criminal investigation. Instead, Navalny is sent to the gulag. After trials which the European Court of Human Rights declared unlawful and arbitrary.
Let’s hope he will have to work on a potato farm or something else on ground level. Because in Russia, critical journalists surprisingly often fall from high-rise windows.
- Alexei Navalny’s YouTube channel.
- Recently, Russian doctors who have been critical of the government’s approach to Covid-19 have also started to fall from windows. And patients.
- More reports about Russia.
- If I ever get sent to a penal colony, please think of my wishlist for books. Thank you!