Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmakers Andrei Nekrasov and Olga Konskaya examine the long and checkered history between Russia and Georgia and how the August 2008 war between the two states was stage-managed in the press in this documentary. While Georgia and Russia once were both part of the Soviet Union, since the collapse of the U.S.S.R. a rivalry has grown between these nations, with Russia determined to crush Georgia's independence. Nekrasov and Konskaya's investigation into the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia digs into the nations' shared history, including acts of genocide committed against Georgians in 1993, as well as the efforts by the Russian military to increase their strength though actions against other countries. Russian Lessons also examines press coverage of the 2008 war that suggests many major media outlets in the West were willing to take Russian reports on the conflict at face value when they actually presented a wildly distorted picture of the war and the reasoning behind it. Russian Lessons received its North American premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival; it was the final project for co-director Olga Konskaya, who died before final editing could be completed.