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Friday, 10 February 2012

Putin, Russia and the rest...



Because I lack a social life and remain besotted with the Russian Federation, I have spent the past four Thursday evenings taking notes from the BBC documentary ‘Putin, Russia and the West’. This time last week, the Guardian journalist Luke Harding produced an article suggesting that the content of the series included “pro-Putin bias” and that certain sources (primarily British-based Soviet dissidents such as Vladimir Bukovsky) had even gone as far as to cite it as blatant propaganda (“If Putin had asked his propagandists to come up with a film they couldn’t have done better.”).

Does the ‘independent and neutral’ British Broadcasting Corporation really support the dictatorial, semi-tyrannous, domination of Vladimir Putin over the Kremlin? Harding himself has, in the past, hinted at the answer to this question, highlighting the BBC’s lack of material condemning and openly opposing Putin’s previous actions – in stark contrast to Harding’s own subversive articles which resulted in his expulsion from the Russian Federation in February 2011. He is indeed, the first reporter to have been expelled from Russia since the Cold War.

I would be inclined to disagree with Harding and critics of the documentary. ‘Putin, Russia and the West’ is a fascinating, powerful, well-researched political commentary on Russian affairs under Putin’s steely blue glare – examining a range of events such as, the 2008 Georgian War, the Ukrainian ‘Orange Revolution’ and the poisoning of former president Yushchenko, and the  recent 2010 Nuclear reduction treaty with the USA. Furthermore, it’s main focus (as stated by the producer Norma Percy herself) is on Russia’s foreign policy and its stance on the West – notably America. Critics have complained that the film ignores Russia’s harsh internal policy – even “glossing over” Putin’s human rights abuses in Chechnya. I personally feel from a westerners point of view, that this is less important: if Putin regains office in March, we need to understand the wider consequences that this will have on international relations. Of course, it would help us to understand why the mesmerising anti-Putin protests are taking place this very minute in Moscow, however, the basic facts are made pretty evident throughout the film:  Russian democracy does not, and will not, thrive whilst Putin has control. Last night, the BBC commentator made that crystal clear: “Vladimir Putin continues to undermine democratic principles and the rule of law.” Indeed, we could only watch, blushing at promisingly-more- liberal-Medvedev’s pitiful attempt to stand up to his ‘partner-in-crime’ which resulted in his resignation from the 2012 presidency campaign.

During yesterday evening’s episode, I studied the growing twitter trend (#PutinRussiaAndtheWest). I was surprised to discover the number of tweeters posting taglines such as, “I <3 Putin”, “Putin is such a bad-ass” and was even more astonished to find myself joining this display of adoration for Vlad. The effect the film had on the majority of views was somewhat revealing – perhaps the BBC is after all, subconsciously sympathetic to the regime. To put all ‘professional tone’ to one-side – Putin is very politically sexy. The documentary explored this phenomenon beautifully, showing clips of his harsh, direct manner in dealing with oligarchs and corrupt officials; and his seduction of the public through miraculous publicity stunts (see attached clips – they are hysterical). It was enough to make one want to invite him to replace the current Prime Minister (it doesn’t matter that you don’t speak English Mr Putin – you get results and target those responsible for this sh*t!)

Putin shows one of Russia's richest men who's boss...

video


So Vladimir, you can speak English?! There's hope for us yet!


video





© Francesca Ebel D-504 blog