Putin, Russia and The West

Taking Control

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 party the winner in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as fraudulent. In Moscow 100,000 protesters have taken to the streets in the largest demonstrations since Putin took office.

Putin began his career as a KGB spy but when he became president, he made himself a valued ally of the West. How did he do it? And what made Washington and London turn against him?

This four-part series is made by Norma Percy and the team at Brook Lapping with a track record for getting behind closed doors with multi-award-winning series like The Death of Yugoslavia, The Second Russian Revolution, and Iran and the West. For the first time Putin’s top colleagues – and the Western statesmen who eventually clashed with him – tell the inside story of one of the world’s most powerful men.

In this episode, George W Bush meets Putin in June 2001 and declares he looked him in the eye and ‘got a sense of his soul’. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice recall their discomfort. But Rice, the only Bush adviser in the private talks, reveals that, three months before 9/11, Putin gave Bush a prophetic warning about Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban. After 9/11, Putin describes how he convinced his shocked colleagues that Russia should align with the West. Sergei Ivanov, Russian’s defence minister, tells how the Taliban secretly offered to join forces with Russia against America.

Democracy Threatens

Vladimir Putin, after eight years as president of Russia and four more as prime minister, is stubbornly holding on to power. He has announced his intention to return as president and declared his party the winner in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as fraudulent. In Moscow 100,000 protesters have taken to the streets in the largest demonstrations since Putin took office.

Putin began his career as a KGB spy but when he became president, he made himself a valued ally of the West. How did he do it? And what made Washington and London turn against him?

The second episode includes an extraordinary interview with former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, who was widely thought to be responsible for murder, corruption and sanctions-busting. He tells how, in the 2004 election, he set about getting his chosen successor elected president – with the help of Putin and his Kremlin advisers.

The opposition candidate, Victor Yushchenko, tells what it was like to be poisoned during the election campaign. It won him many voters and exit polls gave him a clear lead, but the Putin/Kuchma-backed candidate was still declared the winner. This result sparked the Orange Revolution.

Kremlin officials tell how they made sure that Putin would not face a similar revolution at home. It is claimed critics of Putin, including the British ambassador, were intimidated and some were even murdered. Tens of thousands of young Russians were mobilised to fight the threat of democracy.

War

Vladimir Putin, after eight years as president of Russia and four more as prime minister, is stubbornly holding on to power. He has announced his intention to return as president and declared his party the winner in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as fraudulent. In Moscow 100,000 protesters have taken to the streets in the largest demonstrations since Putin took office.

Putin began his career as a KGB spy but when he became president, he made himself a valued ally of the West. How did he do it? And what made Washington and London turn against him?

The third episode tells how, in August 2008, Russia went to war with America’s ally, Georgia. Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev and Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili reveal why each decided it was necessary to make war on the other.

Former American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and former secretary of defense Robert Gates describe what happened inside the National Security Council as President Bush considered whether to send in ground troops to save Georgia’s capital. They reveal just how near to war the conflict brought the two nuclear super-powers.

New Start

Vladimir Putin, after eight years as president of Russia and four more as prime minister, is stubbornly holding on to power. He has announced his intention to return as president and declared his party the winner in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as fraudulent. In Moscow 100,000 protesters have taken to the streets in the largest demonstrations since Putin took office.

Putin began his career as a KGB spy but when he became president, he made himself a valued ally of the West. How did he do it? And what made Washington and London turn against him?

The final episode of the series tells the inside story of two relationships: Barack Obama’s campaign to win over Russia’s new President Dmitry Medvedev, and Medvedev’s own complex dealings with Vladimir Putin.

Obama became president determined to rid the world of nuclear weapons. To begin the process he needed Russian help. So he set out to reset relations with Russia. Ignoring Putin, whom many considered still in charge, he concentrated on Medvedev.

Top officials on both sides take viewers deep inside the negotiations. They describe how a phone call between the two young lawyer-presidents finally clinched the agreement – which cut their countries’ nuclear arsenals in half.

But inside Russia, Medvedev had a harder time. He responded to the 2008 global financial crisis by setting out to make Russia into a modern democratic economy. He made little progress. He told Obama that Russia’s most famous dissident, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, would get a fair trial. It did not happen.

In the end, Medvedev stepped aside and nominated Putin to be their party’s presidential candidate for the 2012 election. Top Kremlin insiders, including Medvedev and Putin, tell how the deal was done – and how it set in train a process that made Vladimir Putin look vulnerable for the first time.

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  • uzair

    why is part 1,2,3 not working?