RUSSIA 88A docudrama about Russian neo-Nazis based on real events that makes use of authentic interviews. At the centre of the fictional story is a group of Moscow skinheads called “Russia 88” which makes propaganda videos and posts them on the internet. Their leader calls himself “Blade”. One day he finds out that his sister is seeing a boy from the Caucasus. Something that begins as a family drama evolves into a tragedy that is justifiably reminiscent of “Romeo and Juliet”.
Pavel Bardin’s film focuses on a phenomenon that, although largely ignored in the West, is very much a part of everyday life in Moscow. The director was able to order most of the Nazi gear worn by the film’s protagonists from an internet website. T-shirts bearing nationalistic slogans like “I’m a Russian”, or quotes from David Lane, a Nazi ideologist and the author of “Fourteen Words”, are freely available for purchase in Moscow. Even the radical right-wing songs that can be heard in the film were easily found in “Gorbushka”, a well-known media store specialising in illegal products. The texts declaimed to-camera by the balaclava-clad “Blade” originated from ultra-right-wing internet forums; in addition, the murders, pogroms and terrorist attacks mentioned in the film are not the product of the director’s fantasy – they are all to be found in police reports from Vladivostok, St. Petersburg and many other cities in Russia.