On Sunday August 17 my DH and I watched The Putin System a documentary on CBC. (A surprising about-face for a network often referred to as the "Communist Broadcasting Corporation.")
I was suspicious of Vladimir Putin's political motives from day 1, and of course his 8 years as Russia's president only confirmed those suspicions. I rarely watch TV, but I guess I decided to watch that program to get a bit of smug comfort in seeing the MSM confirm them for me.
Little did I expect to be shocked and frightened by what I saw. But I was. Totally. This is one ruthless, menacing and evil dude.
What really drove it home for me was Putin's answer to a western journalist asking about the war in Chechnya and the murder of civilians by Russian troops.
Narrator: Putin is so sure of his hold over European countries that when, during a summit, a French journalist criticizes the war in Chechnya, he hits back, below the belt.
Putin: If you want to become an Islamic fundamentalist and be circumcised, come to Moscow. We are multiconfessional, we have very good specialists.I can recommend one for the operation. He'll make sure nothing grows back."
There was dead silence in the room as Putin (smugly) sat back and put his earplug back in.
I would have liked to see the Ukrainian viewpoint represented a bit better, seeing as Ukraine is the second-largest ex-soviet republic and as such, vital to rebuilding the old empire.
It doesn't look like this documentary is available for purchase (couldn't find anything on the CBC website) but for those who missed it, some good soul put up a few segments on YouTube. (Sophisticated downloaders can get it from bittorrent but you're on your own if you want to try it.) Perhaps the CBC can be convinced to air it again in the near future, and/or make it available for sale.
Some pretty interesting comments from Putin fans on those YouTube sites, a few are even civil.
The Putin System - Part 1
The Putin System - Part 2
The Putin System - Part 3
The Putin System - Part 4
The Putin System - Part 5
The Putin System - Part 6
The Putin System - Part 7
The Putin System - Part 8