The Putin Interviews (2017)

The Putin Interviews is a four-part, four-hour television series by filmmaker Oliver Stone, first broadcast in 2017. The series was created from several interviews of Vladimir Putin conducted by Stone between 2015 and 2017.

Stone’s interview begins with a biography of Vladimir Putin. Putin explains that he attended Saint Petersburg State University Faculty of Law in the Soviet Union straight out of high school. Next, he was required to take a job with the KGB in foreign intelligence due to the job assignment system in place for college graduates in the Soviet Union. However, he acknowledges that he hoped to get this particular job. Putin tries to explain many aspects of how things in the former USSR worked, and considerable criticism of the communist era in his country 1917–1991.

Putin thinks the West should understand that today’s Russia cannot function exactly as the West does. He explains his views on NATO, and cannot see any reason to why this military alliance has grown after the fall of Communism in Europe. When Stone asks about Putin’s views on Edward Snowden and whether he is a traitor or not, Putin replies, “No he is not, as he never has worked for any foreign country,” and also claims that Russian intelligence does not know anything more than what Snowden already had leaked before he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Stone asks, “What about if an FSB employee had done something similar?”, and Putin replies “To spy on one’s own allies, really is very dirty.” Putin had never seen Stanley Kubrick’s 1963 black comedy satire about the Cold War, Dr. Strangelove; the two men watch the film together.

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