Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: The New Greatness Case

The war in Ukraine has once against shone a light of the oppressive and authoritarian regime in Russia. While Putin might allow a few people to vote for someone else in parody elections or even an occasional outburst of anger, the information ordinary Russians receive is tightly controlled. Their movements monitored if they show even the slightest anti-government sentiment. Allowing oligarchs free reign as long as they never oppose him and pay their ‘dues’. A very modern version of a despot.

While state media parrots the government line, young Russians, especially in the major cities, have ways of circumventing internet controls. A group of young Muscovites were unhappy with the lack of freedoms in their country, meeting initially in chat room before an agent infiltrated, rented a space and then pushed them towards action. 17-year-old Anya was caught in this web. The New Greatness Case follows her journey through court.

The New Greatness Case, named after this group, highlights the lack of freedoms in modern Russia. Not only is Putin clamping down on anyone who dares to protest or demonstrate, it seems the intention is to try and ferret anyone out who may consider doing so in the future. Anna Shishova’s film follows Anna and her family through the trial and tribulations, highlighting the daily attacks on freedom of expression which ordinary citizens have little choice but to endure.

The New Greatness Case screens at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

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