Laura Piacentini has been running a research project on incarceration in post-Soviet Russia in recent years, named ‘In the Gulag’s shadow’.

The project has now made four films, one of which – ‘A Long Way Back’ – has won two awards – for Best Documentary Film and Best Educational Film – at the Christian Film Festival, 2022.

The film tells the story of religious groups that are supporting and educating former prisoners in Russia and it follows the lives of a group of formerly incarcerated people as they navigate a Soviet designed penal system and, at the same time, settle into US-inspired Evangelical communities of comfort. The film shows beautifully how past tropes of the Gulag meet, mesh and clash with a post-prison culture that is truly broken but also becoming saturated with new forms of Orthodoxy.