The second installment of ‘The Putin Interviews’ continues Oliver Stone’s strange buddy-buddy conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This time around, the pair have a little movie date.
The Putin Interviews continues with Oliver Stone siting down, and touring Russia, with President Vladimir Putin. He’s again humanized by an all too eager Stone, who seems like he’s interviewing a candidate for new best friend, rather than one of the most volatile leaders in the world. Like the premiere, the one-on-one interviews with Putin are spliced with footage from Putin’s life and world events involving Russia. In the second episode, Stone cheerfully shows off videos of Putin playing hockey and riding horses (not spoiling whether or not he’s doing his infamous shirtless riding). He marvels at how active and fit Putin is in his sixties.
It becomes increasingly clear throughout the episode that Stone, plain and simple, is a Putin apologist. This wasn’t just a “making the subject” comfortable situation. He appeared on The Late Show on June 12, at least a year after the interview, and defended the Russian president. Stephen Colbert questioned Stone for lobbing a lot of softballs at Putin, at least in the first two installments of the interview series. At one point in the episode, Stone finally gets around to getting Putin to open up about alleged interference in the US presidential election. And he blows it.
Putin calmly tells Stone that Russia would never interfere with another country’s politics, to which Stone replies, “Thank you, sir. We’ll see you tomorrow.” That’s it. He never pushes Putin to elaborate. When Colbert criticized him for going soft, Stone said the fourth and final installment of the series will be much more hard-hitting. But he doubled back and pretty much praised Putin after that. “I think he’s devoted to his country and I’m amazed at his calmness, his courtesy — he never really said anything bad about anybody and, I mean, he’s been through a lot. He’s been insulted and abused …” Well then.
Perhaps the weirdest part of the episode (or maybe the series, who knows) is when Stone sits Putin down to watch the Stanley Kubrick‘s 1964 nuclear war satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Stone acts like that friend who’s super excited for you to watch something, then keeps checking to see if you’re laughing. And Putin’s not. He maintains a thin smile, and like Stone, continues to be polite and amiable during a very long movie. So here’s the question? Is Stone getting anywhere by
The Putin Interviews airs at 9:00pm ET on Showtime from June 12-15
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