The Daily Telegraph

Putin’s Russia with David Dimbleby

- Gerard O’donovan

BBC ONE, 9.00PM, WALES, 11.05PM

“In a democracy if you fail to deliver on economic promises, if you surround yourself with cronies and use the law to suppress opposition, you would rightly be thrown out on your ear. But this is Russia, they do things differentl­y here…” So begins David Dimbleby’s thoughtful film in which – as the eyes of the world turn towards Moscow for the 2018 World Cup football tournament – he takes the opportunit­y to cast an eye over Vladimir Putin’s 18 years as leader and assess the state of Russia today, especially in regard to the West.

What he finds is a country in deep economic crisis yet with a people that seem to happily hero-worship Putin and mostly accept a state machine that controls almost every aspect of their lives with the willing assistance of security services, media, military and church.

Dimbleby meets ordinary contented Russians as well as protesters, human rights lawyers, journalist­s and official spokespeop­le, coming away with a sense, ultimately, that Putin’s popularity is rooted in his strongman image and media-backed levels of suspicion and hostility towards the West unseen since the end of the Cold War.

 ??  ?? From Russia with love: David Dimbleby
From Russia with love: David Dimbleby

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