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Thieves By Law


Made famous by the feature film Eastern Promises, former heads of Russia’s criminal underworld, the vori v zakone, (Thieves By Law) share their story for the first time. The thugs who transformed into reputable businessmen reveal how they came to influence Russia’s economy as it emerged from decades of Soviet rule, and how they used their vast wealth to build up a political base in a land that once treated them as common criminals.


  • Variety Review
    "Simultaneously hilarious and horrific, Alexander Gentelev's extraordinary docu Thieves by Law offers a clear, concise and shockingly candid account of Russian gangsterism as told by the shamelessly high-living, self-contented crooks themselves."
    Ronnie Scheib
  • Screen Daily
    "The underworld situation in Russia is so unique, and so surreal, that audiences everywhere should take to the material."
    Howard Feinstein
  • NBC LA
    "What makes the film truly astonishing is that director Gentelev’s was given the opportunity to closely follow and film these notorious figures nearly uninhibited."
    Tim McGonagle

Festival Participation

  • Tribeca Film Festival
  • HotDocs
  • Docaviv

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

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