Masha Karp reviews Part Four of the BBC documentary 'Putin, Russia & the West'

posted 16 Feb 2012, 03:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Feb 2012, 01:55 ]
16 February 2012

By Masha Karp

Unequal Sides of the Triangle 

From 19th January to 9th February 2012 BBC2 showed 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 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 fourth part of the documentary for Rights in Russia (her reviews of the previous parts of the documentary can be read here: Part 1Part 2Part 3

Under the Spell of Myths 

The main impression of the “New Start” - the final part of the series – is that, luckily, real life intervened to expose the wrong focus that the film-makers had chosen to treat the relations between Putin, Russia and the West. Of course, it did not help the film, which bears all the traces of a hurried adaptation to developing political circumstances, but I think it would have been even worse if it had been released before the December events in Russia. As it is, the film’s viewers get a glimpse of crowds protesting in the streets with slogans like “Putin Out”, “Fair Elections” and “Down with the Party of Crooks and Thieves.” They don’t know why these people have suddenly taken to the streets, but at least they see them there. If the protests had not happened the film-makers perhaps would not have known that anything was wrong with Russian society: they were busy dealing with events on a much grander scale. [Read more]