wed 22/08/2018

Panorama: Putin's Russia with David Dimbleby, BBC One review - jolly football weather | reviews, news & interviews

Panorama: Putin's Russia with David Dimbleby, BBC One review - jolly football weather

Panorama: Putin's Russia with David Dimbleby, BBC One review - jolly football weather

As the World Cup kicks off, a sober - and sobering - insight into the host country today

If you build it... David Dimbleby at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, venue for the major World Cup ceremoniesBBC/Mentorn Media/Kate Godfrey

There was a lovely moment at the beginning of this Panorama where David Dimbleby was chatting to a schoolgirl – not just any schoolgirl actually, because she came from a family of 10 children, which surely makes her a bit out of the ordinary, even in Russia, Putin’s or anyone else’s. Had he ever met the Queen, she asked. Twice, he replied, before enquiring what she thought of our monarch. Obvious approval beamed back. Why, he pressed. “She’s old, but she still runs the country.”

Please, you thought, don’t give your man any ideas… Vladimir Putin will be 71 when his current term (his fourth, in formal terms) as Russian president expires in 2024. The question of what might happen then, the succession issue, was one of the few chestnuts that Dimbleby didn’t touch on here. Would anyone really be surprised if Putin goes on ruling his country’s 11 fabled time zones even as the sun begins to set on his own time on our small planet? After all, 18 years in, we’re still asking, “Who is Mr Putin?”, each tentative attempt at an answer outstripped by new realities.

David Dimbleby visited Russia around the time of the country's March presidential elections to see how high Vladimir Putin was still riding, and just what the Russians see in him. It’s tempting to say that the big surprise here was that his visa came through at all: you suspect John Sweeney remains very much non grata after he blundered into that mammoth museum and practically doorstepped the great leader for another Panorama back in 2014. But Dimbleby somehow exudes gravity, a link to politics, to history, in Capital Letters (cue a clip of his early interview with Boris Yeltsin). The perfect foil, in fact, for Vladimir Pozner, the venerable old Soviet-Russian TV man whom he encountered in this programme, who somehow manages to still get a current affairs programme out every week that has even a whiff of fresh ideas about it. Even if he knows very clearly which guests he isn’t able to invite.

You hesitate to use a phrase like 'round up the usual suspects', when it’s rather been co-opted by local law-enforcers who do just that

So the fact that Dimbleby was let in at all – and then left pretty much alone, as he wrote in the Times this week, to make this programme – might be construed a good thing, even if you suspect a certain forthcoming football fest had something to do with it. This was a Panorama that didn’t break any secrets, instead giving us a précis overview, professionally assembled (and filmed) by Kate Godfrey. Anything original? Dread rather set in when practically the first visuals we saw of Dimbleby were of him sniffing around the Putin souvenirs at the Izmailovo market – corny, if ever was – while his discovery that high-end Moscow housing was swooping rather low had a touch of that old paradigm, “What rich Russians get up to with interior design”, though it did tell us the get-rich-quicker stability of yore was no more. Drone shots were absolutely stunning (you miss the traffic jams that way, too). (Pictured below: David Dimbleby with realtor Ekaterina Roumyantseva)

But it’s the interviewees that producers manage to assemble that make or break a programme. (You hesitate to use a phrase like “round up the usual suspects”, when it’s rather been co-opted by local law-enforcers who do just that each time a demonstration comes round.) Did anyone else feel that the absence of a psychologist here was a loss? Because some of the foundations for the “almost hero-worship” – Dimbleby’s phrase – shown to Putin go very, very deep indeed, and certainly way beyond politics, recent or otherwise.Putin’s Russia with David DimblebyInstead we got a lot of sense from sociologist Lev Gudkov, whose Levada Centre (which, miraculously, remains independent) researches public opinion. Erstwhile Putin speechwriter Abbas Gallyamov – he’s no longer with the Kremlin, otherwise presumably he wouldn’t have been appearing here – must have had something of a hand on the pulse of the nation, as well as knowing much about the corridors of power. Which made his confirmation that the regime's popularity had been stoked on the back of artificially creating enemies, external and internal alike, all the more depressing.

The opposition figures whom Dimbleby encountered were rather isolated – literally in some cases, because the only kind of spontaneous protest allowed in Russia is by a lone individual (and even then provocateurs swiftly turn up to harass). “Isolated” is hardly a term you would apply to that mother-of-ten, Maria Cherenkova, but then nor could you say that she was speaking for the regime: she clearly supports its policies on the armed forces and (no surprise) families, but there seemed almost an element of apology when she got onto recent Russian foreign policy.

But at least Dimbleby could converse with her, and we had a sense that the encounter had not been entirely one-way. Which, given the spiels being spouted, could hardly be said about his interview with Bishop Hilarion, a highly articulate spokesman for the Orthodox Church whose line was, essentially, that it was better to agree to differ, let alone with a certain political consultant convinced that a British invasion of Russia was imminent (we invade every century, apparently). “You’ll have me laughing in a moment,” was all Dimbleby could think of to say to that one.

One of the last places he ended up was a “military patriotic centre” outside St Petersburg, where some under-tens were being trained to break down Kalashnikov rifles. The assumption seemed to be that love for the motherland – that deeply evocative Russian word, rodina – would develop in parallel, with Orthodoxy naturally blending in. Many Russians today would say that’s a perfectly normal way of bringing up children; quite a few others (and plenty of outsiders) might call it indoctrination. Only connect? There’s always the football…

The opposition figures whom Dimbleby encountered were rather isolated - literally in some cases, because the only kind of spontaneous protest allowed in Russia is by a lone individual

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Dimbleby is a snide , patronising, establishment Bullingdon boy. His job is to assist in the promotion of Establishment Propaganda, the success of which is measured by the 'opinions' of an obviously hand picked and vetted audience of plants, recruited to sell the idea of independent opinion... to direct the general public on the way they are supposed to think. Anyone attempting to deliver information that does not fit the narrative is closed down, and even removed from the building. Having watched previous Putin documentaries, actually filmed by Russians, I was intrigued to see how they compared.. so I watched Panorama. The whole programme was biased from start to finish and designed to continue the promotion of Putin as the 'demon.' The crowning glory was '' certain political consultant convinced that a British invasion of Russia was imminent (we invade every century, apparently). “You’ll have me laughing in a moment,” was all Dimbleby could think of to say to that one.' Which absolutely showed Dimbelby up for the patronising, divisive creep he is. Fact - US/Britain have invaded or been part the invading forces in Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya/Syria. And USA/NATO have military bases in and surrounding every country on this earth... Whereas Russia do not! They have troops on their own border...… Russia have NOT ever invaded another man's country. They have sent troops to assist, when requested by the legitimate government that NATO was attempting to overthrow, Fortunately there are some of us who have not been dumbed down by chemicals, and are awake enough to be able to recognise the lies and propaganda being promoted by the deep state puppet masters and regurgitated constantly by their stooges May and Johnson, who are nothing more than dangerous buffoons and a laughing stock. IMO.

Russia invaded Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. which whatever their past histories were not Russia's to touch. And yes, Putin IS a demon. What else would you call someone who silences dissent by having its proponents murdered around the world? The lies and propaganda are yours . Let me guess, you're from one of the Russian troll factories. If not, what on earth would your motivation be?

Mr. Cooper. It appears you have been well educated by the State run BBC. Perhaps a read outside of the normal sources could give you some more insight. https://off-guardian.org/2018/06/21/the-parallel-universe-of-bbc-panoram...

Mr Cooper is simply stating facts. What has the BBC to do with his response? I wonder if the Russian troll factory is now at work?

It appears you may not have read the Off Guardian review from the link I posted. ˋThe BBC flag-ship documentary series “Panorama” has long been a stalwart of state-funded television propaganda.´ Panorama is a BBC Television investigative current affairs documentary programme. The BBC is established under a Royal Charter[10] and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Mr. Cooper is repeating “facts” duly learned from the state sponored BBC. Sorry to be the one to break the news but the BBC is not unbiased. It of course is much simpler to dismiss alternative views as coming from a troll. The Off Guardian review is a well written article offering a different view point from Tom Birchenough review.

It;s just not relevant to any assessment of what the Kremlin's been up to. Landgrabbing and murdering 'traitors' are beyond dispute.

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