Putin is back
80' / 2014
World governments are all turning a blind eye to events occurring in Russia today. Muted silence and vague gesticulations are their only response. However, their attitude changes when negotiations for contracts with Russia appear on the agenda. On the whole, the world is acting as if in Russia nothing special was really happening.
In 2007, we made « The Putin System ». Broadcast in more than 40 countries it showed how an insignificant KGB lieutenant, Vladimir Putin, had methodically climbed the ladder to power becoming, after 25 years in the shadows, the president of Russia for 8 years. His two mandates saw the rebirth of Russia as a world power combined with an exacerbated sense of national pride within an increasingly authoritarian regime. After 8 years and two mandates as president, Vladimir Putin becomes Prime Minister to President Dmitri Medvedev, his chosen dauphin, for 4 years. After a carefully programmed absence, it is precisely at this moment in time that, our film begins. “Putin is back”.
In 2011, the announcement of Putin’s new candidacy for Presidency arouses a wave of de revolt and the emergence of fierce opposition to his “system”. After rigged elections to avoid the humiliation of a second ballot, Vladimir Putin is re-elected president…this time for a possible 12 years. The repression of his opponents is immediate and brutal and is accompanied by systematic and obsessional anti-freedom decrees: refusal of the rights to demonstrate and all forms of freedom of speech, the denunciation of NGOs as foreign agents, a enlarged and deliberately vague definition of spy crimes and high treason, and the declaration of homosexuality as a crime… During Medvedev’s presidency, Putin had prepared his return to power by re-inforcing state control, monopolising oil and gas, encouraging corruption, and imprisoning lawyers and journalists opposed to his supremacy. Russia is today a state which is at the mercy of its special services : the police, the army and secret services, all of which Putin is the uncontested master. Like a Tsar he is the only person controlling the cohesion of the different clans of a regime in which each and every member craves for a place in the Kremlin galaxy.
There is a certain resistance amongst the intelligentsia and civil society but it is still divided and in search of a leader. Many entrepreneurs who could bring economic vitality to Russia are systematically robbed of their assets by Mafiosi members of the FSB, (former KGB) sentenced and imprisoned by pro-Putin judges, or forced into exile. The prolonged incarceration of Khodorkovski, the Magnitski affair and the imprisonment of the members of the group, Pussy Riots, condemned for denouncing the collusion between the state and the Orthodox Church, have today become the symbols of a form of a dictatorship. While authorizing free enterprise, the free circulation of the population and elections, the Putin system is blocking the media, crushing any real opposition, imposing the worst possible nationalist ideologies, and possesses total political power and quasi-total control of the economy. Russia is today a “dictocracy”, or as the Russians sometimes call it, an “imitation democracy”.
Geo-strategically speaking, the Shanghai cooperation accords are a good example of Russia’s foreign policy. The Federation of Russian is largely Asian and commonly joins forces China to resist the hegemony of the US and its allies. They have the same policies on arms and energy exchanges and, re-iterate the same vetos concerning Iran or Syria on the Nato Security Council.
The increasing power of the FSB, its complicity with the church, endemic corruption, the emergence of a serious opposition, the despair of new entrepreneurs, Putin’s tactical alliances with China and the increase of anti-freedom decrees in a state where there has been no rule of law for decades, will articulate the content of our film, Putin is back. Sequence by sequence, brick by brick, the film structure will follow the construction of a new “Wall” within Russia itself. The use of archive footage concerning the last 10 years in Russia, in combination with the viewpoints of Russians themselves from all horizons: politicians, intellectuals, writers, journalists, business men and artists will reveal the terrible political glaciation of “New Russia”. It will dissect the mechanisms Vladimir Putin is installing in order to consolidate his totalitarian grip on the nation and realise his unfailing dream: the re-construction of a Great and glorious Russia, gradually alienating former soviet republics like Ukraine and Georgia, or Chechnya.
In February 2014 the next Olympic games will take place in Sochi on the Black sea (close to these former soviet states.) Putin is back will be ready for broadcast before the Olympic Games. The film’s aim is to give viewers the keys to understand the new political objectives of the Federation of Russia.
Beyond official speeches exalting the sporting spirit and the non-political confrontation of world nations, the sumptuous ceremonies which accompany these Games will bring Putin the mediatized consecration necessary to enforce his control over the Caucasus, the most vulnerable region as far as his leadership is concerned.
@Les Films de Grain de Sable, France 2, Simple Production and RTBF
- Duration : 82'
- Original language : French, Russian
- Scriptwriter and director : Jean-Michel Carré
- Image : Jean-Michel Carré, Gosha Porotov, Basile Carré-Agostini
- Sound : Jean-Michel Carré, Gosha Porotov, Baisle Carré-Agostini
- Editing : Basile Carré-Agostini, Gadiel Bendelac, Svetlana Vaynblat
- Music : Benoît Jarlan
- 29/01/2014 on La Une
- Le 30/01/2014 on La Trois
- Le 04/02/2014 on La Trois
- Le 25/02/2014 on France2
- FIPA (Paris)
- FIGRA (France)
- Festival de Lasalle (France)
- Festival signes de nuit (Paris)
- IDFA (category "Masters")
- English version with English subtitles
- French version with French subtitles