RUSSIA: A glimpse into Vladimir Putin‘s rise to power – from his early promises of media freedom to the flagrant disregard of democratic norms.
Nick Holdsworth
Nick Holdsworth
Our regular critic.
Published date: August 20, 2018

What we tend to forget now that so much time has passed since an ailing Boris Yeltsin personally anointed Vladimir Putin as his successor and president-elect on New Year’s Eve in 1999, is that Putin once espoused certain democratic ideals.

The finely-tuned, well-honed image as a statesman and strongman that are now set to carrying him through a fourth term as Russian president until 2024, only came later.

Nevertheless, the exclusive fly-on-the-wall footage that Vitaly Mansky shot during 1999 and 2000, reveals in hindsight much of the threatening, insidious and belligerent persona that was to come.

«State decisions should be taken regardless of whether they generate a positive or negative reaction,»  – Putin

Mansky’s documentary – which won the Crystal Globe for best documentary film at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic early July – is a frank and disturbing glimpse into the earliest days of Putin’s presidency. The film goes a long way in explaining the autocratic state that has developed following the wild optimism and liberalism – but also the criminal chaos of the Yeltsin years.

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The Putin we see here, thrust into the limelight a few months after being appointed the sixth prime minister to serve under Yeltsin, …

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