"Russian Lessons" starts as a journey by two directors-protagonists, Olga Konskaya and Andrei Nekrasov, one on each side of the frontline during the last year's Russian-Georgia war. A personal take of the two Russians on war, politics, political culture and history focuses first of all on human drama before coming up with assessments.
They gradually emerge, however, as the intercut double journey progresses, the two meet on the frontline and return to their native St. Petersburg with the footage they shot during the war. In their cutting room the filmmakers analyze and edit their material, and this process becomes part of the actual film. Using this devise the film strives to integrate hard fact analysis into the narrative of the two filmmakers' journey through space and time, but also through the minefield of propaganda and emotional manipulation that have surrounded the Russo-Georgian confrontation.
Importantly, "Russian Lessons" puts the recent war in the context of the post-Soviet history which has managed to keep its darkest pages away from international public's attention despite dozens of relevant UN resolutions and OSCE conventions. At the same time as Milosevic and his henchmen were earning the reputation of the biggest evil of the post-communist world, a perfectly comparable, but perhaps even more cruel, campaign of terror and ethnic cleansing was happening in Georgia considered by some as Russia's sphere of "privileged strategic interests."