For months, reports of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election dominated the headlines. Now, in a special, two-part documentary Putin’s Revenge tells the inside story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States, and Hillary Clinton in particular, as an enemy, and how U.S. intelligence came to believe he targeted the 2016 presidential election. It also examines the fallout under President Obama and now the Trump administration, and the implications for the future of American democracy.
Part 1: Putin’s Revenge – Part One
Part one of Putin’s Revenge is a portrait of what makes the Russian leader tick, and the events that shaped his belief that the U.S. has sought to undermine Russia dating back to the fall of the Soviet Union. It explores how Putin came to power and then carefully constructed his image, cracking down on independent media outlets and opponents. It also traces key turning points in Putin’s relationship with the U.S. over the years, including how his fear of a U.S. policy of regime change intensified, and how he came to see Hillary Clinton in particular as an enemy trying to oust him – despite State Department insistence it was only promoting democracy, not trying to steer the outcome of Russia’s election.
“He said that it was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who provided funds and means to the Russian opposition and made them to get out of the – on the streets,” says Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats in the film.
Part 2: Putin’s Revenge – Part Two
Part two of Putin’s Revenge delves into the riveting story of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, and how and why the Obama administration struggled to confront Putin about both election interference and, before that, Putin’s actions in Ukraine.
Former CIA Director Brennan says in the documentary, “I remember being on the schoolyards of New Jersey, where I grew up, and bullies tried to intimidate.” “And they keep moving forward unless they get their nose bloodied a little bit. And I felt as though Mr. Putin really needed to get his nose bloodied. And I think it would have caused him to back off.”
Part two goes on to show Donald Trump’s repeated praise of Putin, and how Russia is believed to have weaponized hacked emails to influence U.S. news cycles and exploit the gulf between Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ supporters. And, how fake news picked up by Russian propaganda websites eventually found their way into mainstream American news broadcasts.