The Hydra

One man’s fight against the post-Soviet drug cartels.


THE HYDRA is about the rise of ecstasy and other synthetic drugs in Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. Using archival footage, interviews, and meticulous recreations — the film tells the extraordinary covert operation lead by General Vladimir Tymoshenko with SBU (formerly KGB) in coordination with the DEA and other European law enforcement agencies to track down and end ecstasy manufacturers and rogue operators originating from Ukraine. With unprecedented access to the SBU and other clandestine European agencies – the story of the Hydra can finally be told from the point of view of the investigators, drug-kingpins, and all the players involved in the case. The Hydra is a post-Cold War thriller and modern day parable about international cooperation to tackle multinational problems in a fragile Europe.

Hydra Poster

Will the hydra return?

Everything changed when the Soviet Union collapsed and all the East Bloc states became independent countries including Ukraine. Simultaneously, large patches of synthetic drugs called “love pills” were flooding the European markets. Massive drug-induced “rave” parties were the craze and ecstasy pills were commonly shared in discos and schools. Large stockpiles were sitting in Ukrainian factories and legally being bought at low prices and flooding the European market. Thus began a long investigation and ordeal lead by Vladimir to bring-down the entire network and the source of ecstasy in Europe. He thinks he closed the case in 1996, but learns twenty-years later that the “hydra” network moved to Russia starting a new chapter in the story and his life. The film is shot like a Cold War spy thriller and heavily inspired by the work of John le Carre.




Producer & Director: Ram Devineni
Producer: Alexander Driz & Elena Driz
Cinematographer: Artem Ryzhykov
Editor: Yurii Bedenko
Music: Rene Veron
Production Designer: Iryna Shuneiko
Production Coordinator & Scriptwriter: Svitlana Rudiuk
Cast: Vladimir Tymoshenko, Dmytro Vovchuk, Bo Mizak & Volodymyr Talapov
Co-Production: Rattapallax (USA) & For Post (UKRAINE)
Funded by the Ukrainian Film Agency
Developed at IDFA Academy & pitched at EastDocs

RAM DEVINENI produced The Russian Woodpecker, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. His most recent film, The Karma Killings, about the Nithari serial killings is out exclusively on Netflix worldwide and hailed as an “Indian’s true crime watershed moment.” He is the creator of the interactive social-activist comic books, Priya’s Shakti and Priya’s Mirror, which received the Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund from the Ford Foundation and supported by the World Bank, and honored by UN Women as a “gender equality champion.”



Sales Agent: Gravitas Ventures