Putin’s documentary shows the president as a ruler constantly hurt by the West

Putin's documentary shows the president as a ruler constantly hurt by the West
Arnaud Haigtima

French documentary filmmaker Antoine Vitkin (45) can rightly be described as a visionary. In 2005, he actually wrote a controversial article on conspiracy thinking, in response to outlandish fabrications about the 9/11 attacks, which were allegedly committed not by Muslim extremists but by “Jews” and/or the US government. Expect the wind in their sails, and see where the Trumps and the Wahhabis have led us in 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama.photo canvas

So it’s no coincidence that Vitkin, a now veteran documentary filmmaker, was there in early 2018 with an insightful film on the broad extremism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Vitkine’s findings in Putin: the master of the game Four years later, with Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a logical follow-up, also in light of the dictator’s specific psychology.

Vitkin updated his documentary, which can be seen on canvas on Sunday, right after the invasion of Ukraine. He was able to build on a very strong foundation with testimonies from speakers close to the protagonist in the global crisis that was rolling like a tidal wave. Chief among them: Yakunin and Malofeev, close to Putin, former French President Hollande, and adviser to President Obama Anthony Blinken (now Secretary of State).

Together they paint a stunning picture of modern geopolitical history. We know the outlines of this, but the role that childishness and sarcasm play in this is surprising. Childish, how Putin should prove his manhood as a dive into a Siberian lake, catching a spear. How he messed up the field after an ice hockey game (against the United States) at the Olympics in Sochi in 2014, convened his own Security Council and invaded Crimea a few days later. Who knows what stupid folly that precipitated that raid?

From the words of those close to Putin, the image of a ruler who is constantly harmed by the West appears. He is disdainful when government leaders do not learn two words of Russian to facilitate diplomacy, while he speaks little English. President Obama dismissively described Russia as a “regional power that threatens some of our neighbors”: Putin has trampled on his soul. “You can think that Russia is good or bad, but look at us as an equal,” Yakunin explains.

And, of course, the irony is not only from the Russian side. In the film, Anthony Blinken explains without eyeliding that Obama let Putin fight his way with devastating bombings of Syrian civilians. The Americans had hoped that Putin’s support for Syrian President Assad would “get stuck” in the war. It hasn’t happened yet, but that seems to be the case now in Ukraine. The Pentagon would surely look at that with glee.

Putin’s long-term strategy, as he appears in the film, can be summed up as follows: We’ll see what happens – Russian defeatism that can certainly be described as childish in wartime.

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