Russian president Vladimir Putin discusses President Donald Trump, Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with Oliver Stone, during a four-hour interview special, The Putin Interviews, debuting on Showtime.
The Oscar-winning writer and director, with the help of his longtime documentary producer Fernando Sulichin, interviewed Putin more than a dozen times over the course of two years, most recently in February, following Donald Trump’s successful White House run and inauguration.
In The Putin Interviews, the Russian ruler talks about “the surveillance state” and Edward Snowden’s flight to asylum in Moscow, and the resignation of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Showtime said. The interviews will air over four consecutive nights Starting Monday, June 12 at 9 PM.
Putin “also talks of the legacies of Stalin and Reagan,” Showtime said in one of the announcement’s more interesting juxtapositions. NATO also was discussed, as well as Putin’s personal relationships with Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump, and “fostering turmoil in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere,” Showtime revealed.
Since first becoming president of Russia in 2000, Putin has not spoken at such length to any Western interviewer.
Showtime likened the Stone interviews with Putin to The Nixon Interviews, a series of conversations between David Frost and Nicon that aired 40 years ago.
“If Vladimir Putin is indeed the great enemy of the United States, when at least we should try to understand him,” Stone said in today’s announcement.
In the course of the interview sessions held throughout the Kremlin, Sochi and Putin’s official residence outside of Moscow, the four-hour film captures the Russian leader, his approach to the U.S. and the world, incorporating footage of key events. Among the more surreal exchanges is a sequence in which Stone introduces Putin to Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove, which they watched together.
The Putin Interviews debut marks Stone’s return to Showtime, five years after The Untold History of the United States, which had the biggest premiere telecast ever for the pay-cabler’s docu-series, and still ranks as one of the network’s top docu-series ever.
In his highly personal interviews for his documentaries Comandante, Looking for Fidel, Persona Non Grata and South of the Border, Stone previously parried with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Benjamin Netanyahu, among others.
The Putin Interviews is produced by Fernando Sulichin, New Element Media and Rob Wilson. Sulichin previous credits include The Untold History of the United States, South of the Border, Comandante, Snowden, Savages and Malcolm X.