Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Banality of Putin

Robert Cottrell, New York Review of Books; via VS on Facebook

Image (not from article) from
There is at least one truly unguarded moment in The Putin Interviews, Oliver Stone’s new four-part documentary series: Putin is showing Stone aerial spy footage of Daesh trucks shipping oil across Syria to Turkey, and Stone asks why Putin doesn’t just get together with Turkey’s President Erdoğan to clear up their mutual distrust. Putin bursts out laughing in disbelief.  ...
At almost every turn in the interviews Putin sends conciliatory signals to the United States—a point that Stone himself underlined later in conversation with Stephen Colbert. Putin praises Barack Obama, John McCain, and other American politicians. He talks repeatedly of potential “partnerships.” His tone is much warmer than you would have expected given the public diplomacy [JB emphasis] between Russia and America at the time the interviews were recorded, between July 2015 and February 2017. Tensions were high after the flight of Edward Snowden to Moscow, amid crisis after crisis in Ukraine, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and with American allegations of Russian election-hacking gaining momentum. ...

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