In the summer of 1999, a decorated World War II veteran, Ivan Afonin, lives with his granddaughter Katya. In a nearby flat, three bored youths, Vadim Pashutin, local businessman Boris Chukhanov and student Igor Zvorygin, kill time by designating Wednesdays as a day of sexual gratification and hiring a prostitute. On this particular Wednesday, they fail to acquire one, and decide to resort to a random female passerby instead. They lure Katya to their flat under the pretense of "a birthday party" and rape her. Initially, the offenders are arrested. However, Vadim's father Nikolai is a senior figure in the police and uses his influence to have the charges against his son and his friends dropped.
Frustrated at the offenders having escaped justice, Ivan sells his dacha for $5000 and uses the money to purchase a SVD sniper rifle equipped with a silencer from an illegal weapons trader. While testing his purchase in the presence of the seller, he hits all the test targets perfectly, making the seller call him "a true Voroshilov Sharpshooter" in admiration.
A neighbour has left him the keys to her flat directly in front of and overlooking the offenders’ flat, so that he can look after the parrot. From there, he begins to administer vigilante justice. Taking care not to kill the offenders, he instead cripples them. First, he shoots Zvorygin's genitals through a bottle of sparkling wine (which diverges from the book, where he shot the student's leg). Secondly, he causes Chukhanov's brand new car to explode, by shooting the gas tank: although Chukhanov survives, the lower half of his body is severely burnt.
Nikolai figures out that Ivan must be behind both accidents, ordering the search of Ivan's house and the second flat. However, police find nothing (Alexei, the local police watcher, had found and hid the rifle in his own house a day before that). Still, Nikolai threatens Ivan, saying that should anything happen to his son, he will face severe consequences. Ivan interrupts him, saying that something has already happened (meaning that Vadim becoming a rapist clearly shows something has happened to him). Nikolai, however, takes his words literally, and rushes home, shooting out the door lock to open it (not knowing paranoid Vadim has barricaded the door). Following the shot, Vadim shoots back through the door with a shotgun, wounding his father and, after days of fright, losing his sanity.
In the epilogue Alexei tells Ivan of the hidden rifle and unofficially confiscates it, and at home Katya sings again, signaling her recovery and the return of domestic harmony, which moves Ivan to tears.
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