Mikhail Khodorkovsky was one of the businessmen who got rich in the 1990s by making clever use of the possibilities in the vulnerable economic system, during the transition from communism to capitalism in post-Soviet Russia. As a banker and later oil magnate, he not only accumulated capital, but also influence, and he and six other oligarchs enjoyed the support of political leaders. A few years later, however, the tide turned. The economy collapsed and the new president Vladimir Putin would tolerate no form of interference in or criticism of his policies. Khodorkovsky was arrested and imprisoned in Siberia for 10 years. After his release in 2013, he went to London, which is where the interview took place that forms the backbone of this film.
Together with careful use of archive footage and interviews with figures including the former BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith and the Dutch founder of the newspaper The Moscow Times Derk Sauer, Khodorkovsky’s story provides a rich picture of Russia’s recent history.