Russian Godfathers

2005, Politics  -  178 min Leave a Comment
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This feature examines the relationship between Russia's richest men ('the oligarchs') and Putin's administration in the Kremlin. The series follows each one in turn to find out what they were up to in the years leading up to 2005, and the crew is granted intimate access. Two of the five are now in exile, wanted on criminal charges and planning their own anti-Putin campaigns with their wealth and influence.

1) The Fugitive: Broadcast a year before the Litvinenko murder, this fascinating series lifted the lid on the struggle that still continues between Putin, and his adversaries, the Russian Oligarchs. The first part follows exile and Litvenenko associate Boris Berezovsky as he campaigns to fight Putin in the Media and along Russia's borders. Under threat of arrest, Berezovsky travels to revolutionary Ukraine for the campaign to elect Yuschenko.

2) The Prisoner: This part follows the trial and conviction of Russia's richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky's grinning face was famously beamed across the world from behind the bars of the court's cage, and this episode reveals the tactics that Putin used to suppress the oil baron and separate him from his company and wealth.

3) The Politician: Final part in the formidable series on Putin's fight with the oligarchs. Shot a year before the murder of Litvinenko, this film examines Putin's fight with the only serious rival for the presidency, Yuri Luzhkov. The crew follow Luzhkov, the renegade billionaire Mayor of Moscow as he takes the fight to Putin. This is a fascinating film which shows both the ruthless methods in which Putin crushes his opposition and the extreme corruption that exist at the highest levels of Russian government.

Directed by: Patrick Forbes