Has your life been a success? "If it weren't, you wouldn't be interviewing me, would you?" It all depends on how you view Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. This Russian Mafioso millionaire got rich after 1987, when former President Gorbachev introduced perestroika. Thieves by Law takes a look at three of these rather dubious businessmen, schemers who are proud never to have worked a day in their life, have spent an average of 15 years in jail, and can maintain an icy expression while telling tales of violent extortion. Tony Soprano is a wimp in comparison. They operate according to rules based on an honor code called Thieves by Law, which was formed and fostered in - of course - prison. Their proud candor is fascinating enough, but what really hits home is director Alexander Gentelev's impression of the political situation that allowed the Russian underworld to blossom, and all but erased the dividing line between them and the straight and narrow. The film confidently steers the viewer through the complex intrigues with archive footage, short interviews with external "experts," a lively soundtrack and information in voice-over. Throughout, the guiding principle is honor. As Leonid Bilunov explains with a smile, "I had to clear my name, and in Russia all means are legitimate."