Cyril Tuschi, the film's director:
To start with, I would like to stress today was the film’s debut. Before this, the film went from one film festival to the next.
The making of the film started five years ago. I had been invited by Andrei Blakhov to Khanty-Mansiysk, where I heard about Khodorkovsky for the first time. I was taken in by his controversial and somewhat romantic persona, who went from communist youth to a top capitalist and finally ended up a prisoner like out of a Dostoevsky novel. I was haunted by the question of why he went to jail voluntarily. It was then I started making the film.
A moment from the conversation. From left Mart Helme, Cyril Tuschi and Tunne Kelam. Photo: Ulla Männi 

Vladimir Jushkin, Director of the Baltic Center for Russian Studies in Estonia:
I would like to analyze the film not from the artistic viewpoint but from that of a Russologist.
The first focus is portrayed right in the opening shots, where the spiritual crisis in Russian society is most apparent. We see three young people who do not know anything of the Khodorkovsky case. That year, leading Russian sociological research companies Levada-Tsentr, VTsIOM and the Society’s opinion foundation conducted a survey of how much is known in Russia about the Khodorkovsky case. A total of 70% of the respondents did not know anything or were ambivalent regarding the fate of the accused. Such a society is putty in the hand of the authorities – they can ban demonstrations and rallies or cancel elections. Russian sociologists call it lumpenization of society.
The other projection is Khodorkovsky and power. Cyril’s should be praised for landing interviews with people close to Khodorkovsky, and these interviews tell us a great deal. The film says it all. I only wish to add a few aspects.
First of all, the Khodorkovsky case is one of three pillars on which the Putin regime rests. The second one is the lumpen, which makes up 70% of society, and the third is the special services. A scholar with a doctorate in sociology, Olga Kryshtanovskaya of the Russian Academy of Sciences, one of two experts studying the Russian elite, has estimated the number of special services personnel who wield political power in Russia. By her calculations, 67% of senior officials in the federal government are from special services or power structures.
The oligarchs realized only in 2003 who they had given power to. Since that time, two noteworthy documents have appeared: first, in May 2003, a high-level report about a supposed oligarch conspiracy to seize power. This report states that the oligarchs realized that they lack political government and that it was not possible to get their parties to power through democratic elections. They thus decided to orchestrate a coup in the higher ranks, naturally using their main asset, money. The new Duma to be elected in 2004 was supposed to change the Constitution. Presidential Russia was to become a presidential parliamentarian state – something akin to France. Khodorkovsky topped the list of conspirators, followed by Derebaska, Abramovich and so forth. A month after the report, an article appeared either in Moskovski Komsomolets or Komsomolskaya Pravda in which the journalist, without naming names, describes how one large oil company was preparing for elections. Asked who they supported, the company answered that they support no one. They believe that it will be much less costly for them in the next four years to defend their interests if they flat-out bought the Duma, instead of financing election campaigns. After these two documents appeared, Platon Lebedev and Khodorkovsky were arrested.
The ones who say Khodorkovsky was arrested so that Yukos could be seized are correct. The Chekists needed money, already having gained power. Now they needed to get sources of financing under their control as well.
Why is the Khodorkovsky case one of the fundamental pillars of the Putin regime? Because Putin realized that the united oligarchs could use their money to take power. The Khodorkovsky case was also meant to send a signal to others to refrain from association and involvement in politics as long as Putin was in power. Next March, Putin will become president for another 12 years and Khodorkovsky will not be released from prison before all of Russia’s wealth is divided up among the Chekists and no one needs Khodorkovsky any longer.
Mart Helme, ambassador, Editor-in-chief of Maailma Vaade:
I’d like to bring out one additional angle. What was one of the fatal errors the oligarchs made –an important factor they did not reckon with? Well, after the Soviet Union collapsed, there were two state-wide organizations that were not disbanded – these were the special services and the Red Army. The special services possessed information, brain trusts and the means to influence and control processes. Every step by the oligarchs was under scrutiny.
Khodorkovsky and others were victims of the Yeltsin-era illusions that democracy and pluralism were possible in Russia and that it was possible to operate through a combination of legal and non-legal measures.
Right now, Russia’s oligarch number one is Vladimir Putin. Unfortunately, Western democracy is helping Putin stay in power.
In a situation where Russia fears internal unrest, this regime is becoming extremely dangerous for its neighbours, especially considering that restructuring is currently taking place in the Russian army. From this standpoint, too, Cyril’s film is a wake-up call, it’s enlightening and in some cases frightening. It is good that Cyril is able to screen this film in Ukraine, Finland, Poland and other countries that are also in the sights of Putin’s regime – it has resonance there. The film contributes to fostering an understanding of how terrible this regime next door really is.