Nail-biting thriller with magic realist touches, set in Stalin’s Russia during the purges of the late 1930s. Security service tough guy Fyodor Volkonogov runs away, hoping to find redemption for his sins and save his soul. But ruthless Major Golovnya is on his tail.
Fyodor Volkonogov is a captain in the national security service. During Stalin’s purges his unit tortures and executes ‘unreliable elements’: people who might not be guilty of anything now, but could very well become guilty in the future. Sensing he might be the next victim in this paranoid web of suspicion and false accusations, Captain Volkonogov decides to run away.
After Volkonogov’s escape, his comrade Veretennikov is interrogated, tortured and executed. However, his spirit manages to get a message through to the Captain: if he repents and gets at least one person to forgive him before sunset the following day, he will escape eternal suffering in hell. So Volkonogov starts looking up relatives of people who were executed with his help, hoping to be redeemed. But sadistic, ruthless Major Golovnya is never far behind.