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Oliver Stone and Putin

American writers and commentators have criticized Oliver Stone’s four-part documentary “The Putin Interviews,” which was aired recently. It featured lengthy interviews by Stone with Vladimir Putin, and portrayed a positive image of and much admiration for Russia’s president.

Stone said he did not see in Putin a person behind the killing of political opponents and journalists, or who enriched himself via the presidency. This statement has no limit to the facts and evidence refuting it.

This is a tried and tested formula in which a dictator gives a journalist or cultural figure time, photos and previously prepared answers to questions in exchange for moments of fame via a false achievement.

US criticism of Stone’s documentary focused on Putin showing a video that he claimed was of Russian raids against Daesh sites, but were actually US raids that took place years ago against Taliban positions in Afghanistan.

For me, the worst moment was when, after Putin said the US financed extremists in the Caucasus, Stone showed scenes, without comment, from the horrific 2004 Beslan school massacre, when Chechen gunmen took students hostage and killed dozens of them after Russian troops intervened violently. This implied a complete adoption by this Academy Award-winning director of Putin’s claims about “terrorism.”

For tyrannical rulers in our region such as Syria’s Bashar Assad, the Russian president is their best supporter. Interviews of this kind undermine efforts to confront such dangerous international figures as Putin, and end up being just propaganda.

Diana Moukalled

His domestic repression and foreign aggressions in Ukraine and Syria were glossed over or dealt with superficially, allowing Putin to promote his narrative as he wished. Stone, deeply enamored by this dictator, repeated how strong he was, as if this means Russia’s government and society are also strong. Putin’s strength is derived from intimidation and murder.

For tyrannical rulers in our region such as Syria’s Bashar Assad, the Russian president is their best supporter. Interviews of this kind undermine efforts to confront such dangerous international figures as Putin, and end up being just propaganda.

• Diana Moukalled is a veteran journalist with extensive experience in both traditional and new media. She is also a columnist and freelance documentary producer. She can be reached on Twitter @dianamoukalled.