Culture

Putin the Puppet Master at the Movies

Documentary filmmakers are busy trying to rouse interest in the West on the perils of Putin. While it is not news that the Kremlin is reviving Soviet-era dirty tricks, two new films raise some serious red flags.

Today, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are free from the Russian yoke, members of both the European Union and NATO. But, they also sit on territory which was once firmly in the Soviet sphere and host significant ethnic Russian populations. There is little question that Putin would like to have them standing back behind the Kremlin’s shadow. A new documentary, “The Master Plan,” connects the dots of an organized information campaign (including the use of manufactured journalism, provocateurs, and non-governmental organizations) to stir up discontent in the three republics. Investigative journalists tie all these initiatives back to the government in Moscow.

“The Master Plan” is as riveting, compelling and well-produced as a story on 60 Minutes, a tutorial on how Russia plays rough with those who don’t play along.

The documentary, which was screened at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. is a joint production by film companies in the three Baltic states—Mistrus Media (Latvia), Monoklis (Lithuania) and Allfilm (Estonia).

“Who Is Mr. Putin?,” recently shown at The Hudson Institute in a new English translation of a 2015 documentary, is the story of the man behind the plan.

Based on the work of two independent journalists, Anastasia Kirilenko and Vladimir Ivanidze, “Who Is Mr. Putin?” investigates how the Russian president amassed his private wealth and translated rubles into political power.

“Who Is Mr. Putin?” delivers an exhausting marathon of corruption, dishonesty and exploitation.

Together both films underscore Putin’s real designs for the West. The Russian president isn’t interested in refighting the Cold War or sparking World War III. He wants to win without fighting—undermining the legitimacy, confidence and solidarity of the West until it just lets him take what he wants.

While efforts to expose Putin’s plans are ramping-up—so are Moscow’s counterattacks, including efforts to undermine criticism with TV journalism  produced by Russian government-sponsored networks and faux documentaries with Putin starring as the hero.

The war of ideas in the West is on.

People should be paying more attention.