Russian documentary maker Igor Shadkhan has made several films extolling the virtues of dictator Vladimir Putin. Although Shadkhan, who has been dubbed "court director" by the Russian media, maintains that he still sympathizes with Putin, he does also see another side of the former KGB spy:
After 14 years as president and premier, Putin ended his 30-year marriage in June and his judo mentor died this month. He is again lonely -- and too scared of what will happen to himself and the country to relax his grip on power, Shadkhan said.
“Many of the people in his entourage will want revenge as soon as he steps down because many of them are humiliatingly dependent on him,” the 73-year-old chain-smoker said in a day-long interview in his St. Petersburg studio Aug. 14. “He trusts no one, not even his own people.”--
“Putin is the child of the Soviet Union and that’s the problem,” the director said. “He’s nurtured a horrible Russian phenomenon in which every functionary follows his example. His moves are often driven by mistrust and others simply imitate his style. Authorities don’t help, they attack you.” --
Khodorkovsky’s arrest at gunpoint on the tarmac of a Siberian airport in October 2003 and the subsequent dismantling and re-nationalizing of what was once Russia’s largest private company showed a darker side of Putin that Shadkhan said he hadn’t anticipated.
“That was when I realized how intolerant Putin is toward those who oppose him,” the filmmaker said. “And now several people are in jail for participating in anti-government protests in Moscow! Why?” --
“Russia needs a new leader to move on,” Shadkhan said. “Putin’s gotten terribly tired. He’s stopped evolving. That’s the main problem. The country is changing, while Putin is not.” --
With friends like Shadkhan, one can only imagine what Putin's enemies are saying about the dictator ...
What a pity that Putin did not do what he planned to do back in 1996:
Vladimir Putin was lonely and homesick after moving to Moscow to work in the Kremlin in 1996 and planned to return to St. Petersburg within a year, according to a friend, documentary filmmaker Igor Shadkhan.