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GRM Monthly Documentary Film Event - June

Research & Others

2019/6/19

A documentary film event was held on Thursday, 13 June 2019.
We watched a film, titled
Peace and War: The View from Russia
 

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Date: Thursday, 13 June 2019
Time: 17:30 P.M. - 19:30 P.M
Venue: Meeting Room, Shikokan Building, Karasuma Campus
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■Commentary
Written by Iyas Salim

There is no doubt Putin has been, perhaps, the most familiar name and face on the world stage currently. A leader of a major country, Russia, and his name is generating controversy around the world. In the West, Putin is more often vilified and accused of interfering in the U.S. elections of 2016, Brexit, Donald Trump, military intervention in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. In the Middle East, Russia, under the leadership of Putin, is increasingly playing a major role in shaping events in the politically volatile region, namely his interventionist policy in Syria, and his support for Assad’s regime.  

Despite being at the center of the global political spotlight, not many know enough; who is Putin? His background as a former Soviet spy, when based in Germany during the Cold War, may tell on his views on the world; be it hegemonic influence, expansionism or creating some sphere of influence. Putin does not hesitate employing power, using unscrupulous methods to achieve his goals. What are the internal dynamics of Russia’s politics and decision making? What is the end goal of Russia’s strategy? Who are the elites and individuals deigning Russia’s foreign policy?

The timing of this film, “Peace and War: The View from Russia,” cannot be over emphasized. Many of us are curious to know more about Putin and Russia. The film’s presenter, Mikhail Zygar, is a journalist with an invaluable experience and insight on Russia and its political machination. He is also the author of book on Russia titled, Kremlin Men.” The presenter’s insight into Russia’s complex politics and familiarity with subject-matter propels him to meet influential Russians, diversified opinion makers and the movers and shakers. The outcome provides a thought-provoking insight into our topic, with a rich variety of perspectives.

After the film, participants, who come from different parts from across the globe, joined in a lively discussion. One U.S. participant commented on how the issue of “Putin tampering” into the 2016 election has become like a national obsession, exasperating the political partisan divide in the U.S. Another student from Africa said that Russia is competing with major global powers, particularly America, in different parts of the world, vying for influence and power. One participant who speaks Russian and familiar with Russian culture and politics stressed the importance of the internet world inside Russia. Putin is considered a hero to a considerable portion of Russian population. Russian culture embraces heroes, and for many Putin is like a hero figure. On the other hand, as the film showed, there are many in Russia who dream of more open space for political participation, freedom of expression, transparent politics, corruption-free state apparatuses, human rights, etc. In all, the film is very important to watch, as it provides a quite engaging and moving view on Putin and Russia.