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System and the one who brought it down Documentary

by Yuri Burtsev
(Russia, Moscow)

"System and the one who brought it down" Documentary

Russia inherited it's system of law from the Soviet Union which still makes it one of the most serious obstacles to the modernization of the country. Authorities at various levels are trying to make various innovations in the field. The latest one is the adoption of the Police Act which is set to change Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes. Now there are many talks about the large-scale structural reform within Ministry of Internal Affairs. In an effort to strengthen the changes the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation has already become a separate entity. However, the old system shows signs of resistance - it is very strong.

The law enforcement system in the Soviet Union was created as a tool of surveillance and suppression of undercover counter-revolutionary activities. Nobody cared about citizens' rights, even though the constitution guaranteed this. The decisions to execute were adopted by «the extrajudicial bodies that were set up by the Communist party bosses: The so-called «troikas» of the prosecutor. Police officer and a «party man». Those three could in absentia sentence the enemies of the people either to death or to the hard work that was dictated from the higher echelons of Soviet Power.

Even now people who work in law enforcement in Russia speak of themselves as @employees for the SYSTEM». Inside it there exist their own rules, code of conduct and their own ideas about the honour. The system throws out the aliens and only few succeeded to give it a heavy blow. Our story is about people who are trying to change that situation. There are a lot of people who are displeased with what’s going on.

First, «Middle class» is the most dissatisfied. For the past 20 years, people from various Russian cities, businessmen in particular, traveled the world and upon return found faults in our judicial system. According to the estimates, 140 thousand people in Russia have been sentenced for economic crimes, sometimes the vague ones – one can sue practically any businessman for fraud.

Second, the law enforcement system of the country turned into several separate, but closely connected «half-state» corporations. It forms a closed circuit that works mainly for insiders. Sometimes these corporations fulfill orders from above, but they are also happy to execute orders of businessmen against another businessman. By having «privatized» the legal system, the state in fact lost control of the justice, thereby creating another powerful source of social unrest.


The hero of our film «has been ordered» by businesses that are close to the state. Alexei Kozlov is a convicted entrepreneur. He began his career in banking – he had nothing to do with making millions on forged documents. However, he was arrested in July 2008 and sentenced to an 8 years in prison in March 2009. Kozlov’s verdict says nothing about the damage he‘s done or could do to either state corporations or individuals. No property claims have been put against him.


What is unique about Alexei Kozlov’s case? Her husband’s freedom has become goal for his wife, journalist Olga Romanova. For the fourth year in a row she’s been fighting for her husband’s release. Many people think that she also feels guilt for the fact that Alexei is behind bars. And thanks to Olga’s persistence, her husband's case has become «a lithmus test» for Russian justice. Olga revealed the truth about powerless, lawless, corrupt country area. She uncovered the names of those «werewolves in uniform» whose job, according to the Constitution, was to protect citizens’ rights.

Here's what she wrote: «My husband, Alexei Kozlov, has been held in prison for three years on false charges. His case was fabricated by the Interior Ministry Colonel Natalia Vinogradova who has made some scandalous moves last year. The Surpeme Court’ statement says harsh words on how she investigated my husband’s case, what rights and procedures she violated. My husband’s case was heard at the Presnensky court of Moscow, where, according to many, «too much rock’n’roll» was going on. Some of the judges were connected with Vladimir Slutsker - he‘s won every single case in Presnensky court ( he lost in other courtrooms) – Slutsker was the one who «ordered» Alexei’s case. The judge Oleg Gaidar who put my husband in jail in March 2009 (by the time he ‘s been held for 8 months in “Butyrka” detention center) went on vacation the day after he pronounced the sentence. He hasn’t come back to work – he was promoted to the Moscow City Court. The procurator was asking for 12 years and the judge managed to give only 8. It means that Gaidar has poorly executed Slutsker’s order.


Turning back «the punitive vehicle» when a man already behind bars is «mission impossible». Russian courts almost never acquit people – you can hope for it only in the higher courts where they cancel punitive acts. Judges seldom find faults with their colleagues - for the Russian justice system this is quite unprecedented. Kozlov was accused of fraud and money laundering. It was one hundred percent a fabricated case, made by Kozlov’s former partners. They thought that his wife “has gone” at large as a journalist. of Kozlov, who thought his wife too much, affords as a journalist. There are many cases like that in Russia. Now Presidium of the Supreme Court, thanks to Olga’s efforts, has stated that the investigation was clearly conducted with disabilities.

But the fight is not over. This is what Olga wrote in his blog, when her husband was still in jail, and when the court postpones hearings of the Supreme Court’s orders: "Dear Dalgat Magomedov, a former Prosecutor General! Well, why do you behave in a lopsided way? Why would you have hired three of your technical support staff instead of investigators? Why were they sitting at the table at 5 pm Wednesday1 7.00 at the pizzeria in Smolenskaya square, why they did not order, why did they put a black briefcase on the small round table, why was there a lens shining through this hole? Have you got the permission to do it? Why, my dear Dalgat Magomedov, did you disclose technical details of the July, 22 meeting of the Moscow City Court Board where they were hearing the case of my husband? This information was classified. Nobody pulled you by the tongue - only me, my lawyer and the Board of the Moscow City Court. Why did you say that the judge asked you for advice? He did not do it. You’ve lied! I have many claims to the Moscow City Court - but that's not it. You’ve found the name because you’ve tapped my phone. Have you got the permission to do it? Did you want to record who you are offered a bribe? Are you nuts? Weren’t you not warned that they should not communicate with me? Then I’ m innocent - ask those who have not been warned. And please pass my greetings to your bosses!!!».

The main question of the film is: can you put responsibility on those who fabricate a case against an innocent person with predetermined outcome? Well, the whole country works like that and judges get reprimanded for acquittals – they can even be stripped of their bonuses. It’s much easier to find specific “wrongdoers”. Will this case remain a personal victory of Olga Romanova or will it become a precedent that will facilitate the fight against the «repressive machine»?

Olga gave permission for filming and is ready to set up the interview with her husband. We have to start filming as soon as possible. There’ s a chance that in the near future events may start to unfold rapidly, and we will witness a fierce struggle by Olga and her husband Alexis with a "system".

Duration of the film: 90 minutes
We could also propose to set up a joint production with foreign partners, to ensure continuity of the process and reduce the pressure on the filming group by the authorities.

Here is the teaser for my film.



My e-mail: y_burtsev@mail.ru

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