Top Russian Movies, Baikal Yuma

Russia’s Top Movies: Summer, 2021

Published: September 12, 2021

Summer is a low season for films in Russia. Instead, summer is largely used for outdoor activities including traveling and visiting the dacha outside the city to tend gardens, and visit extended family.

This year was particularly hard for the Russian film industry. All of the films below, save one, were released in early June, when Russia’s third wave of COVID was just starting. No major films were released in August. It currently seems that Russia’s box offices are coming back to life in September with some new releases. Those will be covered in a future edition of Russia’s Top Movies.


Бендер: начало – Bender: The Beginning – $692,224

The year is 1919. In the pursuit of a much coveted ancient relic, a young treasure hunter, Osya, is forced to team up with Turkish swindler Ibrahim Bender. Between Osya’s high morals, and Ibrahim’s propensity for deception, the two are complete opposites. In a serious of dizzying adventures, Osya comes to learn from his new partner, partaking in everything from clever lies, blackmail, and other, darker methods. This is the origin story of Ostap Bender-Zadunaisky, the legendary con man (and lady killer).


Вайкал: удивительные приключения Юмы –

Baikal: The Amazing Adventures of Yuma – $515,278

Once upon a time, in the coldest, deepest, and purest lake, a lake where dangers wait for you around every corner, a miracle happened. In a small snow cave, the curious, but brave Yuma, a baby seal, was born. Ahead of her, a long-distance journey awaits, full of many dangers and wonders. Will the great lake aid Yuma on her lone voyage? Will she survive to see her destination?

Бендер: Золото империи – Bender: Gold of the Empire – $322,760

In this sequal to Bender: The Beggining, (released only three weeks prior, see above), the swinder team is looking for precious staff in the midst of the Russian Civil War.


Проклятый чиновник – The Cursed Officer – $267,067

After an old woman curses a corrupt government official for taking bribes, the man, initially incredulous, soon finds that whenever he accepts dirty money, the cash burns to ash in his hands. This is especially troubling, as he’s on the eve of receiving the biggest bribe of his life! If he can’t remove the curse within 24 hours, he’s bound to lose a lot more than just money.


Красный призрак – Red Ghost – $222,635

Set in the winter of 1941, the film follows a small detachment of Soviet soldiers, as they are forced to hold up in an abandoned village. The unit is surrounded by invading Germans, and worse yet, there is word of an elite, and notoriously cruel Wehrmacht kill squad in the area. But all hope is not lost, as a mysterious rogue soldier known as the “Red Ghost” comes to their aid. Capable of singlehandedly taking on the Germans in guerilla warfare, the Red Ghost comes to the aid of the trapped Soviets, as they prepare for their bloodiest battle yet.

About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh has lived in Moscow since 2003, when he first arrived to study Russian with SRAS. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. At SRAS, Josh assists in program development and leads our Home and Abroad Programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik. He has previously served as Communications Director to Bellerage Alinga and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

Program attended: SRAS Staff Member

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