State of Play: A Paean to Putin: The Oliver Stone Interviews

Members Only Subscribe to read the full article

Showtime claimed its four-part documentary of Oliver Stone interviews with Vladimir Putin provided “unparalleled access” to the Russian ruler and “intimate insight into his personal and professional lives.” The timing of the show was certainly appealing, considering the intense media focus on Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Unfortunately, the result is sorely disappointing. The Oscar-winning director’s interviews amounted to little more than a Russian “active measure,” a carefully choreographed vehicle for Putin to air his well-known grievances against the U.S. and reinforce his strongman image. When, for example, Putin claims that Russia “doesn’t interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries,” the viewer eagerly awaits a hard-hitting follow-up question, but Stone rarely challenges the Russian ruler’s assertions.

Stone’s approach is no surprise. The interviews occurred between July 2015 and February 2017. During that period, Stone was in Russia filming the Snowden biopic, his latest work on U.S. government conspiracies. His award-winning film JFK details another conspiracy, a supposed plot by the CIA and shadowy right wingers to assassinate the president. The film is partially based on a book by Joachim Joesten, Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy. Joesten was reportedly a KGB agent, and according to the Mitrokhin archives, his publisher received subsidies from the Soviets to spread KGB disinformation. In Stone’s obsession to unmask an American conspiracy, he was duped by a Russian one.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief‘s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+Member.

Continue Reading

Get access to all our briefs

Sign up Today

Categorized as:InternationalTagged with:

Related Articles