From personal life to politics: Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews” premieres in the US

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June 13th, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Vesti – By Inessa Sinchougova

The American TV channel Showtime has shown the first part of Oliver Stone’s film with Vladimir Putin . The movie is made in the form of an interview. An intense exchange of questions and answers continued for an hour. The two sides discussed a variety of topics – from the nature of power relations to the Russian president’s predecessors in the Kremlin.

“Many in the West do not know much about you. We want to hear from you, what kind of family you’re from.” – Stone asks.

I was a late child. Prior to that, my parents lost two children. One of them during the war – during the siege of Leningrad.

The biography of Putin, told by himself, as well as the story of Russia, through the eyes of the president of the country; the war in Afghanistan, the collapse of the Soviet Union and 90s.

Back then no one, including Gorbachev, knew, how to change the system but to prevent the  disintegration of the country. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, 25 million Soviet people, seemingly in one night, ended up abroad. And this is really one of the biggest disasters of the XX century.

Stone asks – How did the outgoing President Yeltsin make his bet on a young politician from St. Petersburg? Putin then, by his own admission, had no great connections, no strong support base at the highest levels.

At any moment, the president could say: “You are free to go.” And then I thought of only one thing: “What to do with my children? How can I ensure my family’s safety?”

I do not know why Yeltsin chose me, but when he offered me the role the first time, I refused it. It’s a big responsibility, it means I had to change my life entirely and I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. Then I just decided for myself that if fate had this in store for me, I had to see it through to the end.

Oliver Stone’s questions were deeply personal, but not in the typical American journalistic style. Stone asks the general to learn the particular.

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“They say that your theory of life is based on the philosophy of judo,” – asks the director of the film to the Russian president.

Well yes. The basic idea there – the so-called flexible way. You have to be flexible, and you can sometimes give way, if this path leads to victory.

CNN journalists and NBC asked Putin about the recent accession of Montenegro to NATO. Stone’s approach is wider. How does Putin see the Alliance, through a historical perspective?

Today it is US foreign policy tool. There’s no allies. They have only vassals. In principle, we understand the value or lack of value and risks to us. So what are we concerned about? We are concerned about the practice of decision-making. I know how decisions are made there.

– Where Russia and the US can and should co-operate – is the fight against terrorism. But the United States for decades has been flirting with terrorists, trying to – again and again unsuccessfully – to use them for their own purposes. The conversation is not even about ISIS. Everything began with Afghanistan, then – Chechnya.

– The Americans themselves have nurtured Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. But it got out of control. – And when we started having problems in Chechnya, the North Caucasus, unfortunately, the Americans supported these processes.

– We have a very strong opinion that our partners in the US while talking about support for Russia, their readiness for cooperation, including the fight against terrorism; in reality they used these terrorists to destabilise the internal political situation in Russia.

– As for the president’s personal safety issues. How does one survive in the highest public office? Three presidential terms, five assasination attempts …” – recalls Stone.

– I’m doing my job, and security personnel – their own. So far they’ve done good work. I trust them. You know, as they say in Russia – he who is destined to be hanged, will not drown. The question then becomes, what can we do on this mortal earth while we’re here, what can we get out of life?  – says Putin.

The first of four films about Putin ends with the parade on May 9, 2016. The following series concern primarily the events of the past year only –  Stone, in his own words, becomes bolder and more assertive. With each question, he was morally prepared that the interview would end here and now. But Putin continues to answer each candid question.

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