Vladimir Putin’s Long Shadow – the fifth estate

Vladimir Putin’s Long Shadow – the fifth estate


(♪♪) (applause)>>Gillian: He is his nation’s strongman. Saviour of Russian pride and Russian manhood. But Vladimir Putin sits astride a corrupt state.>>He has got so many guilty secrets, so much money’s being stolen and so many people have been killed.>>Gillian: This is a president with an astonishing past.>>If you put these people in United States or in Canada and check what they’ve done, they’re criminals.>>Gillian: I’m Gillian Findlay and this is “The Fifth Estate.” (♪♪)>>Gillian: It’s May 2012. And Vladimir Putin arrives at the Kremlin to be sworn-in for the third time as Russia’s president. It’s an historic day. The culmination of a remarkable ascent from unemployed spy to modern-day czar. This man has a remarkable story, too. Andre Zykov was once the city of St. Petersburg’s top police investigator. In 1999, he wanted to arrest Vladimir Putin on charges of corruption. (speaking in Russian)>>Voice of Translator: Could Putin be held clearly responsible based on the evidence that had already been gathered? Absolutely, yes.>>Gillian: Russian scholar Karen Dawisha has come to the same basic conclusion.>>I mean, a whole range of economic crimes, abuse of power, abuse of his official position, involvement in relations with organized crime, knowledge about money laundering. (speaking in Russian)>>Gillian: Like many in the West, Dawisha had assumed that Putin was a democrat or at least an aspiring one. A former advisor to both U.S. and British governments, Dawisha has written several books on Russian politics. Her latest turns that hopeful western assumption on its head.>>I started thinking instead of seeing Russia as a democracy in the process of failing, we need to see it as an authoritarian system in the process of succeeding. That they’re not actually incapable of being democrats. They don’t want to be democrats. What about that? Let’s work on that thesis, and if that’s correct, when did that start? And that’s what took me to the ’90s because they were stealing from the very beginning. (♪♪)>>Gillian: Russia in the ’90s was a desperate place. The certainties of the old Soviet system were gone. What would replace it wasn’t clear to anyone, least of all to a young ex-K.G.B. officer named Vladimir Putin. In 1990, he’d return from a posting in east Germany and was out of work. But he did have an important contact in St. Petersburg City Hall. (speaking in Russian)>>Gillian: Anatoly Sobchak, his former law professor, would soon become the city’s first democratically-elected mayor. When he did, he appointed Putin his deputy and, crucially, to chair to the city’s committee on foreign economic relations.>>He was the Lynchpin. He controlled which foreign companies could register their offices and receive offices. After all, remember, all this property was Soviet property, Soviet Union hadn’t fallen yet. So how was a company going to get access to property to set up a branch in St. Petersburg? Putin. Putin would have to assign it.>>Gillian: His star rose quickly. And in a hint of image making to come, Putin commissioned a documentary about himself called simply “Power.” (♪♪)>>Gillian: But there were many sources of power in St. Petersburg in those days. Some of them criminal. Sobchak needed a person who could work in the shadows and according to political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky, Putin was perfect.>>Gillian: But Putin had his work cut out for him. The collapse of the Soviet system brought terrible shortages and there was little foreign currency to buy food abroad. To fill the shelves, oil and other resources were to be bartered. In his propaganda film, the deputy mayor assured hungry residents that food was on its way. (Speaking Russian) (♪♪)>>Gillian: The trouble was most of the food never arrived. As despair turned to anger, a city councillor named Marina Salye was appointed to find out what happened. Years later, she still had all her documents and was still clear about what went wrong and who she believed was to blame. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: So without going into all the details, I’ll tell you from this document signed by Putin, all 124 million disappeared without a trace. (speaking in Russian)>>Voice of Translator: Without a trace. Because from this list of materials that I have listed, not a single gram of food came. (speaking in Russian)>>And what happened was fly-by-night companies were set up, many of his friends who are still around today, were behind those companies. The goods went out, and incomplete or no shipments came back. So millions, millions, were made just in that episode alone.>>Gillian: Salye turned the case over to prosecutors. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: We concluded that Putin and his assistant should be fired.>>Gillian: The city council agreed. But Sobchak intervened to protect Putin, and it wouldn’t be the last time that the mayor and his deputy would be linked to corruption. In a monastery six hours from St. Petersburg, a man comes seeking peace. This former federal investigator is haunted by case number 144128. Lieutenant-colonel Andre Zykov investigated a construction company called 20th Trust. A company registered by Putin’s Economic Relations Committee. His conclusion: crimes had definitely been committed. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: So two-and-a-half billion rubles were transferred to the company’s account. The way it worked was the funds were supposed to be used for specific building projects but ended up being used for completely different purposes.>>Gillian: The investigation tracked how the city paid 20th Trust to do work, how the work was never done, and how much of the money disappeared. In one case, he says, siphoned off to build Spanish vacation villas for Putin and his cronies. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: It was theft. Sobchak and Putin should have been jailed and would be in jail undoubtedly. Putin probably first and foremost as the greatest number of documents and orders were signed by him.>>Gillian: Putin would not go to jail and neither would Sobchak, although his days as mayor were numbered. In 1996, tainted by yet another corruption scandal, he lost the St. Petersburg election. His widow, Ludmilla Nuresayva, remembers difficult days. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: In 1996, when Sobchak stopped being mayor, as is often the case in the Russian elite, a lot of people immediately turned their backs on him. Vladimir Putin was nearly the only one that didn’t do that. (speaking Russian)>>Gillian: That loyalty would soon be tested. Under questioning by prosecutors, Sobchak apparently suffered a heart attack, was rushed to hospital, and eventually right out of the country. In a highly-orchestrated departure, the ex-mayor fled justice on a national holiday weekend, aboard a private plane arranged by Vladimir Putin.>>Voice of Translator: Vladimir Putin helped me organize that. Risking everything.>>Gillian: Weeks later, Sobchak would re-emerge in Paris looking surprisingly healthy. And Putin’s reliability would be noted all the way to the Kremlin. When we come back, explosions shake a country. But who’s to blame? (Speaking Russian) (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Gillian: By the late 1990s, Vladimir Putin had moved up in the world again. Now he was in the Kremlin, where crisis had set in. A sick and often drunk Boris Yeltsin was teetering his way to the end of his presidency. His administration, too, the focus of a massive corruption investigation. Having parceled out much of Russia’s wealth to a band of oligarchs, allowed aides and family members to enrich themselves as well, there was fear in the Yeltsin camp about what might happen if his successor proved less than understanding. In Putin, they saw a man who protected his old boss, the former mayor of St. Petersburg, now there was a new boss who needed help.>>Well, I think what they saw in him was that he had protected Sobchak and, as they said, he didn’t give up Sobchak and he’s not going to give us up.>>Gillian: How vulnerable were they at the time?>>Very vulnerable.>>Gillian: In 1999, Yeltsin not only made Putin Prime Minister, but declared him his successor. But there was a problem. Before Putin could get down to the business of protecting the Yeltsin family, he had to get elected and Russians had no idea who he was. And so once again, an instant biography was commissioned of the former spy. Natalia Gevorkyan was one of the biographers. She now lives in self-imposed exile in Paris. What was the narrative that they wanted?>>Just his everything, where he comes from, who is he, why he was in K.G.B. or whether he liked it or not, because everybody was speculating about K.G.B., like he was — that was the main thing about him, he’s the K.G.B. man, that’s all. So what they wanted to present him that he is a normal human being, he has parents, he has biography.>>Gillian: His biography tells of an only child who grew up poor and scrappy. An unusual boy who, at age 16, went to the local K.G.B. office and asked to join up. He was told to come back later. He did, with a law degree and after training, he was sent to a posting in east Germany. Once and always K.G.B. Can you explain to a western audience, what does that mean?>>They are the people who prefer to operate in shadow. They are the people which are like state is first and people are second. All these kinds of things he has in him and he cannot — I don’t think he can change it, you know. It’s unchangeable.>>Gillian: Before becoming Yeltsin’s Prime Minister, Putin had already served as head of the K.G.B. successor agency, the F.S.B.>>The fundamental point about Putin is his K.G.B. training.>>Gillian: Ed Lucas is an author and senior editor at the Economist magazine, he specializes in Russian affairs.>>This organization attracts a particular breed of people, tough, unscrupulous people and it trains them in a way that makes them even tougher, even more unscrupulous. They have ways of persuading people, of bending them to their will, playing all sorts of psychological tricks and games, tremendous sense of self-righteousness that they alone are the true guardians of the national interest. (♪♪)>>Gillian: In the fall of 1999, the national interest appeared to be in peril. Bombs obliterated four apartment buildings in Moscow and other cities. Hundreds of people killed in their sleep. All of a sudden, an unknown Prime Minister was everywhere. The embodiment of Russian anger and revenge. (speaking Russian)>>Gillian: Author and journalist David Satter has investigated the apartment bombings.>>Putin was viewed by the public as the person who was avenging this horrific attack against innocent Russian civilians. (Speaking Russian)>>Whoever was responsible for that attack had committed a horrible crime and by placing himself in the centre of the effort to avenge that crime, Putin managed to gain a lot of instant popularity.>>Gillian: His first act was to point the finger at Chechen separatists.>>The Russian officials said that there was a Chechen trail in the apartment bombings, not proof of Chechen involvement, a Chechen trail. It wasn’t clear what that meant but it was used in order to justify a new invasion of Chechnya. (gunfire and bombings)>>Gillian: And Putin’s invasion would be brutal. (Crying) (Screaming)>>Gillian: In Chechnya, thousands would die. In Russia, he would become a national hero.>>He quickly became the most popular politician in Russia even though, before the apartment bombings, he was believed to have had no chance to succeed Yeltsin as president. (♪♪)>>Gillian: If it was a strategy, it worked. Six months later, Russia had a new president, a modern man, the world thought. Ready to take his country into the future. (♪♪)>>Gillian: But 15 years later, questions of the past still haunt this place. It’s a monument to those who perished in the apartment bombings. Why they died and who was responsible have never been adequately answered. Mikhail Trepashkin was hired by one family to try. He’s a former K.G.B. officer himself and a lawyer who had his own doubts about the official story, doubts that only grew when he saw the reaction of his former security service colleagues. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: They were telling me don’t dig into it, otherwise you will get imprisoned yourself, and then specifically they were telling me in a straightforward way, just leave it, if you don’t want to have trouble. And I was saying that, well, I’m the former investigator and I have experience and I can help, I can run my own investigation.>>Gillian: But there would be many obstacles put in his way.>>The Russian government destroyed all the evidence in the case of the earlier bombings. No sooner had the bombings taken place than bulldozers showed up to remove the rubble, including human remains. And in that case, they destroyed the crime scene.>>Gillian: But then something else would happen, far away from Moscow, that would cast even more doubt on the government’s explanation of what happened here. In another apartment building, in another town, residents noticed strangers putting sacks into a basement there. The residents called the police. The police called the bomb squad, which quickly discovered that the sacks marked “sugar” in fact contained the same explosive that had been found in the Moscow bombs. It was a military-grade explosive called Hexagon. The detonator was one commonly used by Russia’s military as well. But what really cemented the scandal, the strangers who placed the bomb. Under questioning they admitted they were secret agents of the F.S.B.>>I think that the evidence that there was an F.S.B. operation to place explosives in the apartment building in Ryazan is incontrovertible.>>Gillian: To murder your own citizens as they sleep in their beds, for political reasons, how do you wrap your head around that?>>On a personal level, I think it is an example of evil. I personally have concluded that it was one of the worst things I can think of.>>Gillian: The suspicion that the Kremlin itself was responsible for killing so many has been raised in several documentaries and books and investigations. But Putin has called the charge utterly insane. In trials that were widely questioned, a number of people were convicted of the bombings, none of them Chechens or members of the F.S.B. Since then, it’s proven dangerous to ask questions.>>People who tried to investigate the apartment bombings, in many cases, ended up dead. (♪♪)>>Gillian: The list is long. Sergei Yushenkov, a Russian politician who headed an investigative committee, gunned down outside his home. Anna Politkovskaya, a well-known journalist and Putin critic, also killed in her apartment’s elevator. And Alexander Litvinenko, a former S.F.B. officer who publicly accused Putin of ordering the bombs died in London, poisoned with polonium. Each of the murder investigations remains clouded in suspicion. Sergey Markov is a long-time Russian analyst authorized to speak on president Putin’s behalf. There have been a number of credible investigations that have concluded that this was the work of the F.S.B. and could not have happened without the knowledge of Mr. Putin. (speaking Russian)>>Gillian: Mikhail Trepashkin knows that. He became a victim, too. One week before he was to report his findings to a parliamentary investigation, he found himself pulled over at a highway road block. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: So they stopped me at a police checkpoint where there was a crowd of people. They checked my identification twice and checked the car and they didn’t find anything and when I was closing it, one of the officers threw in a bag and I told him, that’s not mine, why are you putting that in my car? He opened the bag and said, here is the gun, here is the gun. And I was immediately arrested. (speaking Russian)>>Gillian: Trepashkin was sent to prison for two years. After his release, he continued to speak out about his investigation and was jailed for two more years. (♪♪)>>Well, the apartment bombings, they cost thousands of innocent lives, both Russian and Chechen, by starting a new war. They brought to power someone from the security services and that’s Putin who, of course, had no interest in democracy.>>Gillian: The first thing Putin did after becoming president was grant Boris Yeltsin immunity from prosecution. But his administration quickly moved to ensure Putin’s safety, too. Case number 144128, that corruption investigation in St. Petersburg, quietly went away. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: Prosecutor general gave an order that the criminal case should be terminated. It was explained to us that criminal investigations are not pursued in relation to the president.>>Gillian: Investigator Zykov can only wonder how history might have been different if he had been allowed to arrest Russia’s president.>>Voice of Translator: People would respect civil law because everyone would understand that if the president can be prosecuted then, in essence, our officials would understand that the law has to be protected. As it now stands, Russia has no law. (speaking Russian) ♪ I found my thrill ♪>>Gillian: When we come back… Putin woos the West. ♪ On blueberry hill ♪ (♪♪) ♪ On blueberry hill ♪ (♪♪) (♪♪) ♪ I found my thrill ♪ ♪ On blueberry hill ♪>>Gillian: of all Vladimir Purtin’s strategies for maintaining power, charm is not to be underestimated. He seduced Russians with carefully-crafted imagery… The West with promises that he was a man they could do business with. ♪ On blueberry hill ♪>>Gillian: George Bush famously came to that conclusion after simply looking into his eyes.>>Putin was trained in the K.G.B. to deceive foreigners. He has a very sharp eye for human weakness, he’s good at persuading people and intimidating them and he’s been doing this with Western leaders, sometimes with charm, sometimes with threats, but, boy, does he do it. ♪ But all of those vows we made ♪ ♪ Were never to be ♪>>Gillian: If western leaders hoped that Putin would steer Russia towards their ideals of democracy, liberalism and capitalism, a meeting in 2003 would underscore just how wrong they were. ♪ For you were my thrill ♪ ♪ On blueberry hill ♪ (♪♪)>>Gillian: It was an extraordinary gathering in the Kremlin’s historic Ste. Catherine’s hall. In attendance, the nation’s oligarchs, those who had become billionaires under Boris Yeltsin, and who had their own hopes for Putin as well. The richest of them all, the man with the glasses on the left, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: I got the impression that he was a person of our generation.>>Gillian: What do you mean by that, “of our generation”? (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: Our parents’ generation, they have a totalitarian view. Even if they’re against it, as opposed to our generation, we’re closer to the West.>>Gillian: But by the early 2000s, the West was cracking down on corruption. New legislation had just been passed in the United States. If Russians wanted access to financial markets, they would have to start playing by new rules. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: By 2003, corruption was already the key method of state governance used by the bureaucrats and bureaucrats started to demand the kind of money that was impossible to hide. I had to make a choice, build companies that are open and list them or do business Russian-style. In other words, pay bribes, receive privileges, but remain within a closed system. We decided the question was worth discussing.>>Gillian: In the meeting, Khodorkovsky asked to speak frankly. (speaking Russian)>>Gillian: As I understand it, what you were essentially doing with the television cameras running was accusing the president of Russia of running a corrupt state. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: Did not accuse him personally of corruption, and this is not how he took it. Yes, I did accuse his inner circle and him of creating a model that uses corruption as his backbone, and he told me that we, too ,took part in creating that model. (speaking Russian)>>Gillian: At that point, Putin turned the tables, reminding Khodorkovsky that his oil company Yukos was facing troubles. (Speaking Russian)>>Gillian: It was a veiled threat, delivered with a cold smile. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: Did I realize it would provoke Putin displeasure? Of course I did, but I thought he would choose the European model, and I was not the only one thinking that. Because it was obviously more beneficial for the country. (♪♪)>>Gillian: But Putin also perceived Khodorkovsky as a political threat. He’d been funding opposition parties and spending money promoting democracy. The meeting in the Kremlin sealed his fate. Eight months later, he was arrested, his oil company dismantled and divided among Putin loyalists. Russia’s richest man would serve ten years in a Siberian prison camp. Today, he lives in exile in Switzerland and has no doubts about Putin’s legacy. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: At first he thought he could build sort of a democratic model that he could control. A model like this does not exist, so he started to slide towards, at first, mild totalitarianism and then increasingly harsh totalitarianism. If the situation develops further, he will reach a full totalitarian model. In reality, every authoritarian system is a kleptocracy.>>Gillian: The roots of that kleptocracy have been exposed in a number of investigations throughout Europe. In Germany, a money laundering probe uncovered documents linking Putin to the Tambovskaya mafia group in St. Petersburg. In Spain, diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks quoted a Spanish investigator, calling Russia a virtual mafia state, and questioning whether Putin was implicated, and whether he controlled the Russian mafia’s actions.>>If you put those people in the United States or in Canada and check what they have done, they’re criminals.>>Gillian: Valeri Morozov is a Russian construction magnate who did a lot of work for the Kremlin before going into exile in London. Corruption didn’t start with Putin, he says, but under Putin, it was perfected.>>He changed immediately the whole system, but not changed — he made it different. He made it in order. It is everywhere. It is a system.>>Gillian: Sergei Kolesnikov is another Russian tycoon who lives in exile. He fled to Talinn, Estonia. He’s known the system from the inside and claims the corruption goes all the way to the top. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: Russian business entirely depends on protection. You need protection. It is called having a roof or in Russian, Krusha. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: And the more Krusha you have, the more successful your business will be. So every businessman dreams about giving presents and gaining protection. And if you give a present to the president, it’s like having God himself watching your back.>>Gillian: Kolesnikov used to run one of Putin’s gifting projects and explained to us how the scheme worked. A business puts money into a charity, in this case Pole of Hope. Kolesnikov’s company, called Petromed, then takes the money to buy medical equipment, purchased from Siemens, but the profit margin is huge, around 40%. And that money gets funnelled through a myriad of other companies to end up in something called Rosinvest. Before he fled, Kolesnikov says he owned 2% of Rosinvest. Who owned 94%? Vladimir Putin. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: All investments, all projects of Rosinvest were only implemented if Putin said “yes” to it. So no activity would have been possible without his acknowledgment. (♪♪)>>Gillian: So where did the money go? According to Kolesnikov, it was diverted to build a palace, and not just any palace. This multi-hundred-million dollar extravaganza overlooking the black sea near Sochi. (speaking Russian)>>Voice of Translator: I started saying that I’m not happy with all finances going for this palace, and I was told Putin is the czar and you are his Serf.>>Gillian: Kolesnikov believes his scheme was only one of many ways Putin made money, hidden in a labyrinth of shady structures often held by others. How much is a matter of speculation. But also some educated guesswork on the part of Moscow political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky. (♪♪)>>Gillian: $40 billion, a figure that was later confirmed by the C.I.A., according to press reports. And that if true, would make Russia’s president one of the richest men in the world. But what happens when that man no longer sits atop of the system that made him so rich? A 2007 U.S. state department cable, again made public by Wikileaks, reported that as he neared the end of his second presidential term, Putin was worried. He understood, according to the cable, that there was no rule of law in Russia, no way to ensure the safety of his secret assets abroad held by proxy. To leave power would be dangerous and Russia’s president knew it.>>There’s never been a good succession model in the Soviet Union or in Russia, and he’s very worried about how he will leave politics, he doesn’t want to leave in a coffin, he doesn’t want to go to a jail cell, and he doesn’t really have the mechanism to do it because hee has got so many guilty secrets, so much money’s been stolen, so many people have been killed, and so many unspeakable abuses have happened that He doesn’t really trust anyone to look after it, to keep him safe if he steps down from power. So in a way, he’s both the master of the Kremlin but also a prisoner in it.>>Gillian: Putin kept his proximity to power by swapping places with his Prime Minister in 2008. Three years later, he was pushed aside and Putin announced he’d run for president again. That brought masses of angry Russians on to the streets. (Chanting)>>Gillian: And, for a time, Russia’s strongman almost seemed vulnerable. But the demonstrations were quelled. (crowd shouting)>>Gillian: And Vladimir Putin would go on to win his third election in a vote widely noted for its irregularities. When we come back, Putin on the offensive.>>He has a very strong sense of entitlement that Russia had stuff taken away from it during the Soviet collapse and Russia has the right to get it back. (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Gillian: By 2012, Vladimir Putin was Russia’s president again. This time with an even longer mandate. Presidential terms had been extended to six years which means Putin could remain in power till 2024. But the Russia he rules over is not the country he promised to build. In the cities, there is a veneer of prosperity borne of high oil prices. But the economy has been pillaged. Productivity little better than in Soviet times. And in the vast reaches where the majority of Russians live, conditions remain stubbornly medieval.>>Putin’s greatest fear is that the Russians will realize that his modernization project has failed. He came into power promising to make Russia into a modern western country, and it’s still basically a corrupt backward country.>>The bottom line, just to put it with two numbers, two numbers is all we need, the median or the mid-point wealth for the average Russian is $871, according to Credit Suisse. Very neutral report. $871. Means half the population has more than that in wealth and half the population has less. Median wealth in India, over a thousand dollars. So the average Russian is poorer than the average Indian. So that’s one number, 871. The other number is 110. 110 individuals own 35% of the wealth of Russia. They are the most unequal country by far in the world.>>Now to distract from that, a very powerful tool he’s got is anti-Westernism, blame the West for everything that’s going wrong. Blame the West indeed for the isolation and stagnation of Russia. And couple that with a very powerful propaganda machine where all the mass media is under Kremlin control, and he’s in very good position. He has a very strong sense of entitlement that Russia had stuff taken away from it during the Soviet collapse and Russia has the right to get it back. (gunfire)>>Gillian: Cue the nationalist card. In 2000, Putin waged war in Chechnya. In 2008, Georgia. In the last year, he has re-drawn the map of Ukraine, annexing Crimea and supporting the rebels in the former republic’s eastern regions. It’s all played well at home. On the streets where they demonstrated against him two years earlier, the invasion of Crimea had Russians singing Putin’s praises. And the West, concerned about economic ties with Russia, unsure what to do.>>We see a series of escalating provocations against the West going back many years. And at every stage, we try and overlook it and keep on trying to bring Mr. Putin in. We invite him to our summit meetings, we try and treat Russia as a normal country and we think we’re trying to calm things down but in fact what we’re doing is staking things, we’re giving Mr. Putin the impression that we’re not to be taken seriously and he continue to push us harder and harder and harder and that’s extremely dangerous.>>Gillian: After Putin’s adventures in Crimea, the United States called for strong sanctions against Russia. But in the capitals of Europe, there was reluctance. (♪♪)>>Gillian: Until July and an act of violence that would change everything. Malaysian air flight MH17 brought down over eastern Ukraine, almost certainly by separatists using a Russian-supplied weapon. 298 people were killed. And the West was finally galvanized to act.>>I demand that Russia fully cooperate with the criminal investigation of the downing of MH17.>>It’s necessary to make it clear, it will not be business as usual.>>We’re opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine which is a threat to the world as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17.>>Gillian: In November at the G20 meeting in Australia, Putin was relegated to the margins of the class photo. Obama and European leaders who once welcomed him as one of their own now distanced themselves. At lunch, Russia’s president seemed a lonely figure, and he left the summit early. But the country he headed back to was in even deeper crisis. Plummeting oil prices, a Ruble in free-fall, and new, robust sanctions beginning to take their toll. The question now on many minds is what does Vladimir Putin do next? To some, a story from his boyhood could yet prove telling. It happened in this building where he once shared a one-room apartment with his parents. And it involved a rat that Putin had cornered. Biographer Natalia Gevorkyan.>>He said that I learned very good — I learned forever, don’t try to push somebody into the corner, they will jump because when you don’t have what to lose, you just — you attack. I think it’s absolutely true about himself. When he’s in the corner, that’s why he’s dangerous, he can jump. He will not say, okay, let’s talk. He will jump. (♪♪) (♪♪)

100 thoughts on “Vladimir Putin’s Long Shadow – the fifth estate

  1. Putin is always the victim of conspiracy. But he is a great statesman and overcome all the difficulties in his life.

  2. 😄 propoganda machine at work, yet again. Almost feels like there's no other leader to make documentaries on. Putin this Putin that. Haha hate him all you want, anyone with half a brain knows the truth. Like many in the comments section have mentioned, it's time you made a documentary on the so called leaders of democracy. Start with George Bush.

  3. had you seen Russia in the 90's. What are you talking about Putin is corrupt. The Russian people now have food on their tables, roof above their heads and clothes to wear. do you know that today there are more people in America who are homeless compare to Russia

  4. I was brought up to be honest. Now i believe that i must be from a different race.
    Does success mean to be dishonest ?
    If you buy low grade tools from abroad and sell them at a profit is that not deceiving the people ?
    Does our society of money greedy leaders seem a fitting bunch to let divide the country's resources ?
    I mean if you are going to appoint someone they should have a clean sheet and be a part of the working class.
    It would enable them to make decisions benefiting those with a lower class citizen status and trigger an empathy among the folk which leads to loyalty.
    Except someone threw a spanner in the works.

  5. Its the Russian psyche instilled through generations of fear and the ones who speak up get jailed, murdered or disappear. Same in the USA in their own way.

  6. Putin is bad in the head considering sending army to fight Ukraine for no reason but greed and still denies Russia involvement

  7. Let´s the dead go marching on!
    This documentary contradicts its purpose. Everyone who participates does the job that would not been achieved by the best Russian propagandists. This conclusion can be drawn when reading viewers' comments. No viewer has anything negative to say about President V. Putin or the Russian state system. And they are a lot of them ca 5000! On the other hand, criticism is directed at their own political zeros, Like Bush, Blair and so on, warlords, war mongers, propagandists and messy journalists. In other words, Putin's affection, determination and courage all permeate their silly arguments that have only one purpose, to demonize and throw away. They are incurable psychopaths who cannot do anything else but slander and gossip.
    So, let the dead march!

  8. didn't watch this whole thing, which I am going to after work today, but man ~~~ the intro, the dude said around @0:29, "they are criminals", … … maybe I don't know politics, I thought all of them are (regardless of which country you are from)

  9. In the West, the system is a hundred times worse than in Russia. With such an aggressive policy towards Russia, Russia will be the same as the West. Look at the English queen, the American liders, they're all the same. Don't sell mist that the West is fair because it's not.

  10. Russia may have to protect Iran if america attacks Iran. Of course he will be demonised for stopping american genocide of innocent iranians.

  11. Russia is under no obligation do be democratic. Those who blame them to be authoritan are them selfes not real democrats, but kinds of oligarchs just in western style. Putin is playing the game of power well, so he is a threat to the american system of opression. The american way of foreign policy is undeniably and visible to anyone, but instead of doing critical dokumentarys in that regard they produce this, which has no single reliable proof at all. I only see opinions, accusings and a lack of information to understand the big picture.
    The worst about this is, people will believe it and take it for granted, they way it is presented to them. This is some high quality propaganda. Cheers

  12. putins got the russian army between him and any one else….. you wont get him they are too powerful … best is to try to negotiate somthing with him he might be resonable if you bow

  13. US president should follow Russia, China and Iran leader to come back to normalit, to return to peace and peaceful way of life and peaceful development of his Country. War expansions just like his predecessors: Bushes/Rumsfeld/Chenney/Biden/Obama/ Clinton have done bring only tragedies

  14. KGB and CIA are both systems that are above the law, non-accountable, their behaviour determined by the character of the persons in power within the organization and those of the primary consumers of their product.

  15. Puttin 40 billion is a big ciffer? What about the 1 trillion amassed by the Rothschild family? Nothing is big or small, except by comparision, said Aristotle.

  16. So, if Puttin leaves, he will not have the proxies backing him. Well, what was it in the past – the moscow processes, the purge.

    Oh fortuna, velut luna, semper variabilis.
    Nunc obdurat et tunc curat ludo mentis aciem.
    Egestatem, Potestatem dissolvit um glaciem.
    Sors imanis e inanis – rota tu volubilis.

    Well, that´s what you get in the end:

    What profit a man in gaining a world by loosing his soul?
    Sapientiam autem non vincit malitia.

  17. "The Slave Soul of Russia: Moral Masochism and the Cult of Suffering". This book explores a little-remarked-upon but essential part of the Russian character and historical depth. It is among the most interesting and illuminating books available on Russia and Russians. Dostoevsky’s books are filled with aggression and suffering, and now we can understand their essence – Dostoevsky described the Russian genetic code. I would recommend this book for anyone studying Russian history, politics, psychology or literature. Anyone dealing with Russians in practical matters (e.g. business or other negotiations) will also benefit from it. This book is a must-read for all, especially for politicians. Here is a compelling portrait of the Russian people's psychology. "The Slave Soul of Russia: Moral Masochism and the Cult of Suffering", by Daniel Rancour-Laferriere, American historian. Available on Amazon.

  18. OMG this documentary only goes on to show how desperate the US has become……. going to any extent to prove Putin as a villain ……..but a poor attempt and sheer waste of time and energy. Btw how much did the US pay you people for this propaganda ? Sad indeed.
    Putin is and will continue to emerge a HERO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Salute to you Mr.President .

  19. When USA does, no one bats an eyelid. When Putin does, media starts finding fault in every nook and corner.Russia has been a long trusted friend of India🇮🇳 and India wholeheartedly supports Russians & Putin.

  20. I'm reading the comments, and by the looks of it 90% of commenters don't believe this western propaganda! Looks like the makers of this doc. Didn't achieve their goal

  21. Puti may have some dark marks but his leadership has massively benefitted his people. Whereas the USA and Europe and ors with their so called democracy have cheated and failed its people. Especially the US. In Russia at least he runs the country and is visible. In the USA it is the Cia and the banksl run the country for the Elite. Which is worse.

  22. Putin is my kinda guy.he is not perfect but he towers over all your us leaders by miles in terms of leadership world justice etc.. long live putin

  23. Money laundering… nothing for the people. Get rid of the UK Monarchy to start with and feed the people. Look at the facts. They are facts!

  24. No matter how u show him ,he will be remembered as the most popular and lovable leader of the world which ur no leader can ever achieve. Why west hate Russia so much? I think Because they are salvic

  25. Regardless of what western leaders do, Putin stole. He’s a thief. And on a grand scale. End of story. He’s no statesman. He’s a common crook. Nothing more. Fancy suits and strut doesn’t make you classy. A thief at best, a murderer at worst. Take your pick.

  26. Volim Putina putin je Kralj 👑da nije bilo putina amerika bivas jebala ko smrdljivu picku u svakoj zemlji ima bede pogledaj te ameriku naj veci bogatasi i najveca sirotinja sta kukas ti kucko na putina i taj kucak vi radite za ameriku sto posto

  27. He is hated by the same people that hate Trump. Period? Cui Bono? Democrat hatch job. Wwg1wga. Red October coming.

  28. Guys I have a theory just a theory what if brixit and frixit our true putin plan to break eu that way will be very easy to invade them trump is putin follower so what if is way to break eu ? Just think about🤔🤔

  29. US journalist made lies spread lies same story what they are doing to the philippines and china

  30. all the dislikes are by americans who think putin is a God even though they've never even been to Russia💀

    edit: or simply by dumbasses who think that revealing the unpleasant truth about a certain politician somehow implies that another not a very good politician is actually good. jfc, stop being so self centered

  31. Well presented, carry on to generate anti-Russia, anti-Putin waive. In the same process US President Mr. Trump is found guilty. I am convinced and started to look through the past periods to conclude that there is a force in US outside the adminstration,- elite and wealthy has control over Govt. establishments and on representatives of people to manupulate to achive the objective. The Democracy presented today in different form need a change in defination and application. Otherwise the world can not be a peaceful place.

  32. Just replace the Russia and Putin with any country and leader and that is how the world is.
    Power and money corrupts. It's our ( the people ) duty and right to keep them in check.

  33. Same corruption as every other government, however, the people love him and they have free medical and education not too bad for such a scoundrel EH WHAT.

  34. Wow thats some garbage propaganda eh. Shame its coming from Canada. The arrogance, the name calling, youre talking about a president of a country and people buy into this. Some pady with an american accent and a writer with a british accent claim evidence but clearly never inquired about when wars were commencing in iraq, lybia, syria illegal coup attempts in venezuela. Most of the interviewed speak perfect english somehow. Hahahahah. The man has results, credible work and experiences to run a country. Never dodged a draft, never collected any money from lobbyists never got sponsored by any corporations or did their bidding for that matter, against his people. Funny how these people never investigate their own but end up living in mansions and get driven around, living the high life. All bought and paid for, mostly by our tax money lol. Vladimir Putin works for his people thats why they keep electing him, standards of life improved exponentially despite the illegal sanctions. But hey they will never talk about problems in our own county. Evil is always elsewhere isnt it. Our western corporate governments stole the mob bisiness model and have been implementing that system all iver the world. Cant support the vets but send weapons to venezuelan rebels. Wow

  35. 5th Estate. owned by Liberals. Very left win…so sad. As a kid I thought I could trust and respect the Estate.

  36. This sure seems to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Between Putin and Lavrov, Russian politicians runs circles around anyone the west has to offer. Add Xi Jinping and you see the people that will soon rule the world. America is history. Wisely the Russian people know when they have a leader capable of making western politicians look like the fools they are. The best par of this video was the very end when the lady told it like it is. Don't push Putin into a corner, "he will jump". You propagandist fools should look in the mirror before publishing this kind of garbage.You certainly spent a lot of taxpayers money creating this propaganda. You should be ashamed.

  37. Capitalism, communism and socialism are the same thing and they’ve one common target and it is power. Now Putin beats the western in the game. Don’t point fingers when you don’t have clean ones. End of discussion.

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