Born to Be Free: Saving Russia's Whales

Born to Be Free: Saving Russia's Whales

Series 1



In 2013 the Bafta-nominated documentary Blackfish graphically reported the plight of orcas kept in captivity.

Here, two free-diving Russian journalists investigate how beluga whales are captured to order, transported and kept in cramped, miserable conditions in sea parks where they perform tricks to entertain the public. Specifically, they trace what’s happened to the 18 belugas destined for an American aquarium that Kim Basinger famously petitioned President Putin to free.

It’s horribly distressing viewing, and doesn’t end well for the animals.


A group of female Russian journalists investigate the global trade in wild sea mammals, exposing the poor conditions beluga whales in sea parks and aquariums are subjected to.

Cast & Crew

Director Gayane Petrosyan
Producer Mike Lerner