Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former owner of the Yukos Oil Company, right, and Director Alex Gibney pose for photographers during the photocall of the movie 'Citizen K ' at the 76th annual Venice International Film Festival, in Venice, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Claudio Onorati/ANSA via AP)

Alex Gibney's 'Citizen K' looks at power in Russia

August 31, 2019 - 5:12 am

VENICE, Italy (AP) — Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney says profiling exiled businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky allowed him to explore power in Russia from the end of communism until now.

The resulting film, "Citizen K," premiered at the Venice International Film Festival Saturday.

Gibney says Khodorkovsky has a unique perspective on how Russia works, having been at both the top and the bottom. Khodorkovsky was one of the richest men in Russia but he was convicted on fraud charges that he claimed were politically motivated and spent a decade in prison. He now lives in exile in London and is a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Gibney was drawn to the subject following Russia's 2016 election. He says Americans are curious about how the country works.

The documentary was filmed with no official cooperation from the state, and requests to interview Putin and his spokesman Dmitry Peskov were denied.