An interviewee might be in a documentary for a few minutes, but those few minutes are taken from a much longer interview (in this case 2 hours).
This is the full length interview of Masha Gessen, shot during the gathering of footage for the documentary "Putin's Revenge" by PBS.
The entire two hours are a joy to watch because Masha has an encyclopedic knowledge of Vladimir Putin's life, a soothing voice, and is a wonderful storyteller.
Two of her stories / analyses really struck me;
Authoritarian leaders (fascism, communist, putinist/trumpist) are always very preachy and self-righteous. They're always telling us how great they are, how bad everyone else is, and they never admit they made a mistake.
To strengthen their position when faced with the impossible task of proving that they never did anything wrong, they switch to some big ol' story about how they're "saving our great nation".
The story is always the same no matter which country you look at: "Sometime in the past our country was great; then some enemies wanted us to not be great; then we got some weak leaders who didn't really want us to be great; finally i got here, i'm a strong leader, and now we're great again."
Due to the evident stupidity of such a story, i've been strongly suspecting that this passion for "national greatness" is total bullshit, so i've been doing a lot of research into Stalin, Hitler, Putin, Xi, Trump.
I found that these people are always talking about how great they want their country to be, but in reality the only thing they end up doing is making a really, really good life for themselves and their friends.
They love shiny uniforms that they never wear themselves, they love their control of the military, anything shiny, anything big, stuff that paints a simple picture of "greatness". Then you find out they only care about these things if they can be in the center of the photo, and finally it turns out they've stolen hundreds of billions of dollars from the country for themselves and their friends.
This interview of Masha Gessen is full of simple stories showing how much of a greedy, whiny, pathological liar Vladimir Putin really is, underneath all the bullshit of glitz and glamour.
The second thing that struck me was one of the tactics Putin developed to push his message, using the LGBTQ community as evidence that democracy doesn't work.
This logic is absolutely extraordinary, check it out:
1. before Russia got democracy, there were no queer people in Russia
2. once Russia got democracy, we started having queer people
3. since having queer people is a sign that things are going wrong, it means that democracy is bad for Russia
So Putin managed to transform his personal hatred of LGBTQ into "queer people are the perfect symbol of everything that is wrong with democracy".
It makes absolutely no logical sense, and is one of the most pathetic self-serving pieces of nonsense i've ever heard about!
Truth is, when you look at the evidence, Stalin, Hitler, Putin, Xi, Trump, none of these guys could care less about their country; the only thing they care about is themselves.
Russia and its "sphere of influence"
October 25, 2017
FRONTLINE PBS, "Putin's Revenge", October 25th and November 1st 2017