For years, millions of Russians have been working off the books, invisible to the authorities and the state tax system. These “Garazhnikis” – as they are called – are carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and more. In a country with an estimated 30 million people working informally, a new light is cast on their life by this riveting documentary.
With President Putin’s plan of legalizing the underground economy, many of these workers are now looking to come to the surface. The documentary follows the lives of several Garazhnikis and their families, looking at what motivates them to work off the books, their fears of losing their independence and privacy, and their hopes for a better life. The film explores the different paths taken by those who choose to operate outside the legal framework and what drives these individuals to live in the shadows.