Russia vs Lawyers

Russia vs Lawyers

90' 2023
dir.: Masha Novikova

The last of the righteous; Russian lawyers face dire personal consequences for defending prisoners of conscience in court. 

Masha Novikova's film spotlights a group of courageous lawyers who defend individuals facing severe prison sentences in Putin's Russia—clients penalized for acts like possessing anarchist leaflets, spreading LGBT ideology through artwork, or simply participating in a protest. The lawyers themselves become targets of the regime, with police raids, beatings, and wrongful arrests becoming their daily reality. One prominent lawyer, Mikhail Benyas, faces trial for allegedly biting a policeman. The courtroom scenes border on the surreal and would almost be comical if not for the harsh penalties meted out for such trivial "offenses." Amid a climate rife with war propaganda, these steadfast legal defenders even find ways to publicly denounce Russia's invasion of Ukraine, embodying a rare force of integrity in a fraught landscape. 

Konrad Wirkowski  

Tickets and passes
90' 2023 Germany, Netherlands
Masha Novikova
Alexandra Ivanova
Eimantas Belickas
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg
Online availability
1-10 December