An enigmatic drifter known as Moro (Viktor Tsoi) comes to Alma-Ata to extract a debt from a lowly criminal known as Spartak. Moro tracks down his ex-girlfriend Dina, who lets him stay in her apartment. Meeting his debtor in a cafe called "Parliament," he learns that Spartak also owes money to a lot of other people. Later he finds out that Dina's employer, the surgeon Artur (Pyotr Mamonov), is supplying her with drugs and using her apartment to store morphine. In an attempt to help Dina, Moro takes her away to the Aral Sea, which they had visited together years before. The sea is by this time a barren wasteland. Moro conceals the ampules of morphine to which Dina is addicted, and after a few weeks in withdrawal she appears to be cured, but her habit returns when they go back to the city. Almost desperate, Moro confronts the drug dealers, sees Spartak go into a state of hysteria, and turns Artur's people against him. The film ends as Moro is stabbed by one of Artur's thugs in a snowy street, on his walk back home to Dina. The ending is ambiguous, with Moro's ultimate fate unknown.