Director Igor Shadkhan; presenter Oleg Poptsov
Length: 3 episodes (40, 40, 46 min)
Where it was shown: TVC
Characters: Vladimir Putin
Unfortunately, the film is not available online.
This film is a virtual dialogue with Vladimir Putin in three episodes. There are three types of materials used in this film. First, Shadkhan reuses footage from his film, On the Way [V puti] (2001). Shadkhan was filming passengers traveling from Arkhangelsk, Vorkuta, and Kaliningrad to Petersburg via train. Shadkhan talks to the passengers about their lives, specifically life under Putin’s presidency. Second, Oleg Poptsov, chief director of TVC, was filmed walking between the armchairs in the studio and changing his outfit, all the while pretending to be talking to Putin through the screen. Third, the filmmakers used archival videos of Vladimir Putin (from TVC).
The film is edited to make it seem like the President is listening to Oleg Poptsov and the passengers on the train talking about their lives. Some of the passengers were saying, “The President is so lonely that he does not know how the country and its people live, how poor people are, that most of the bureaucrats are stealing.” In some episodes Vladimir Putin even ‘approvingly nodded’. After the film aired, Oleg Poptsov was fired, allegedly because of this film. In her book about her husband, Natalia Shadkhan notices that foreign audiences were interested in this film but found it too supportive of Putin and his politics. The film was bought by the TV Channel Russia-1 and allegedly not shown (Shadkhan 2020).
1. Interview BBC with Oleg Poptsov (December 2005).
2. Degtyar, Mikhail (2020) Reporter.