Thieves by Law is a documentary that takes a look inside the Russian mafia and the men who call themselves “thieves by law”. No home, no property of their own, no wife, no family. They’re to have nothing that will tie them down and divert their attention from the brotherhood.
The film focuses on three men who have survived the prisons, the mafia wars and different underworld elements to become respected men of means. Thieves by Law gives us a short history of these men – their origins among the criminals and political prisoners that were sent to Stalin’s gulags. The culture that they created among themselves, and also the development of their traditions, codes, marks and tattoos that tell the story of their lives and careers.
Thief in law is a criminal who is revered, has authority and a high ranking standing within the criminal underworld in Russia and other republics that shaped the former Soviet Union. Thieves in law are the elite of the Russian world of organized crime. Various Russian news sources state that hundreds of organized units retain independence in their actions.