Putin, Russia and the West (BBC, 2012, Russian Subtitles)

After everything that has happened in Russia recently I would really like to recommend this excellent series from the BBC. It’s 4 hours, but it explains a lot and the versions below have russian subtitles. I spent the day in bed to avoid getting a cold and just finished watching it.

Vladimir Putin, after eight years as President of Russia and four more as Prime Minister, is stubbornly holding onto power. He has announced his intention to return as President and declared his United Russia party the winner in parliamentary elections that have widely been seen as fraudulent, causing mass protests in Moscow and elsewhere with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets.

But just how did this consummate political operator with a background in the KGB become a valued ally of the West? And when did his policies start to provoke deep concern in Washington and London? Putin, Russia & the West tells the inside story, with contributions from Putin’s top colleagues and the Western statesmen who have clashed with him.

This is a four-part series from Norma Percy and the team at Brook Lapping behind the multi-award-winning documentaries The Death of Yugoslavia, The Second Russian Revolution and Iran & the West.

Putin, Russia and the West: “Taking Control”

The first film, Taking Control, starts with George W Bush meeting Putin in June 2001 and declaring how he looked Putin in the eye and ‘got a sense of his soul’. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice recall their reactions to the discussions that happened behind closed doors, with Putin delivering a prophetic warning about Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban. Three months later, 9/11 happened.

Following the terrorist attacks, Putin quickly aligned Russia with the West, to the surprise of many in the Kremlin. The US and Russia had opposed each other for decades, but the world had now changed. Sergei Ivanov, Russian’s Defence Minister, tells how offers from Taliban to join forces with Russia against America were rejected with strong language.

But at home Putin was becoming increasingly authoritarian. Mikhail Kasyanov, then Russia’s Prime Minister, recalls a meeting with Putin and the country’s top businessmen, where ‘all the oligarchs present almost hid under the table in fear.’ The film also tells the story of how Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, challenged Putin and ended up in prison.

Putin, Russia and the West: “Democracy Threatens”

Putin, Russia and the West: “War”

Putin, Russia and the West: “New Start”

No russian subs yet, sorry, but it’s brandnew.


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