Masha Karp reviews Part Two of the BBC documentary "Putin, Russia & the West"

posted 2 Feb 2012, 10:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Feb 2012, 02:02 ]
Unequal Sides of the Triangle

On 19 and 26 January 2012 BBC2 showed the first two parts of a four-part documentary, ‘Putin, Russia and the West’ (series producer - Norma Percy, series director - Paul Mitchell, executive producer – Brian Lapping, BBC executive producer – Fiona Campbell). The film has caused a great deal of controversy (see for example Vladimir Bukovsky and Masha Slonim [in Russian], and Victor Davidoff [in English], and comment in the UK press [see pieces by Luke Harding in The Guardian and Peter Oborne in The Telegraph]).

Here Masha Karp reviews the second part of the documentary for Rights in Russia (her reviews of the other parts of the documentary can be read here: Part 1Part 3, Part 4

Six Years Later 

The ‘spy rock’ story, publicized by the BBC as the main scoop of the series, has nearly overshadowed the rest of the second part of the documentary ‘Putin, Russia and the West’ (director Wanda Koscia), so much attention – and not without reason – has it already attracted. The ‘sensation’ comes in the opening clip of the film: Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s former chief of staff, admits that the ‘spy rock’ used by the FSB in 2006 to accuse Russian human rights’ NGOs of taking money from British spies, is not, after all, an FSB invention. It did in fact exist. If this really was as much of a sensation for Britain as the filmmakers claim, one wonders why it had gone completely unnoticed throughout the publicity campaign for The Strongman, a new book about Putin published in December 2011, where Powell’s statement first appeared (page 149). [Read more]