The Daily Telegraph

What to watch


The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill


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

 ??  ?? Hiding in plain sight: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
Hiding in plain sight: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

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