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The Russian Mafia: what can't they do? After this insider's look into the world of, ahem, "hypothetical" crimes, it's pretty clear that the answer is nyet. Following the stories of three mafiosi-cum-businessmen, Thieves By Law paints a fascinating tableau of men that would make Tony Soprano cringe. Most intriguing, though, are their personal histories interwoven with the evolution of the Russian Mafia itself. Beginning in Stalin's gulags and slowly transforming into an international organization, the mafia and Code of Thieves have always directly correlated to the political struggles of the Soviet Union—reflecting society back to the government like a funhouse mirror.
These men have been through bad times as well as good, persevering with the ammunition of street smarts, savvy, and loyalty to their code, and eventually transforming themselves from cunning crooks to shrewd businessmen. Through unprecedented access and a knack for asking all the right questions, director Alexander Gentelev shows us exactly what happens when a dark underbelly is flipped on its back: It slaps on some sunscreen, orders a Molotov cocktail, and soaks up those French Riviera rays….