The vanishing empire is a story about a young man who has everything going for him, and a penchant for screwing it up. He meets a great girl in university but being a good looking charming guy he's tempted by other women everywhere he goes. He is also tempted by alcohol, drugs and debauchery.
You watch as he confidently winds his way through life as if he's invincible, but drastic events change his outlook on the choices he makes.
This film is certainly Russian, and like a lot of Russian literature it's very personal and introspective, and focuses mostly on what's going on inside the protagonist's head. But it does attempt to introduce the politics of the era and how it affects him and his friends.
I definitely enjoyed it, it has a good mix of humor and thought provoking moments as well as a glimpse into Soviet Russian culture at the time. It's not as fast paced as some would like, and drags on in spots but overall it's very well done.