The Daily Telegraph
What to watch
The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill
CHANNEL 4, 10PM
An extraordinary and bizarrely entertaining film exploring the operation of a statesponsored murder programme in Russia; one that operates at a level of incompetence that would be laughable were it not so deplorable. The focus is the botched attempt, last August, to assassinate the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by smearing his underpants with the deadly nerve agent Novichok. Director Jon Blair – with the help of a breathtaking body of evidence collected by Navalny, the investigative website Bellingcat and numerous brave contributors – follows a trail that leads straight back to the Kremlin.
Along the way, we meet the man who invented Novichok, revisit Navalny’s exposés of corruption and hear the long list of Putin opponents who’ve been killed. In a film brimming with the banality of evil, the most absurd moment comes when Navalny tricks one of his alleged would-be assassins into outlining their modus operandi by pretending to be a Putin aide demanding
to know what went wrong. Navalny may be back in prison for now but his genius for making Putin
look stupid could yet determine Russia’s political future. Gerard O’donovan