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Greenlit: Putin, Russia and the West, BBC2

Putin, Russia and the West (4 x 60′) – Documentary series that delves into the West’s fraught relationship with Russia since the turn of the millennium.

After eight years as President and four as Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin looks likely to be re-elected President of Russia in March. Putin began as a top Russian spy. But as President he made himself a valued ally of the West. How did he do it? And what made Washington and London turn against him? For the first time Putin’s top colleagues – and the Western statesmen who eventually clashed with him – tell the inside story.

Key interviews include Putin’s first Prime Minister, his Foreign, Defence and Economy ministers, as well as Presidents of Georgia, Ukraine and Poland. The West’s side of events is told by, amongst others, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Robert Gates, David Miliband and Gerhard Schröder.

The first film, Taking Control, starts with George W Bush meeting Putin in June 2001 and declaring how he ‘got a sense of his soul’ by looking him in the eye. It explores the effect of September 11th on the relationship between Russia and the West, and how Putin established control over the country’s leading business men, the oligarchs.

The second film, Democracy Threatens, includes an extraordinary interview with the retiring Ukrainian president admitting to being Putin’s ally in swinging the country’s 2004 election to Russia’s advantage and shows a newly discovered interview with the former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko, a fierce critic of Russia’s government, who in 2006 died in a London hospital after apparently being poisoned.

The third film, War, explores how the tensions between Russia and Georgia escalated into an armed conflict. It also shows how Putin reacted to US plans to station an anti-ballistic missile system in Russia’s neighbours.

The final film, New Start, examines how Barak Obama, on his election in America, immediately launched a campaign to build a friendship with President Medvedev. It brings to life the tense renegotiations that took place to ensure the renewal of the Nuclear Treaty, START. It also looks at the complex double act of Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

Channel: BBC2

Producer: Brook Lapping

TX: Early 2012

Source: BBC Press Office

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