Inside Putin’s Russia

I’m Nick Schifrin over the next hour
we’ll present a PBS Newshour series called Inside Putin’s Russia with the
help of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting producer Zac Fannin and I travel
to more than a dozen cities, conducted 40 interviews and were arrested twice will
report on Russian propaganda Russia’s opposition Russians who join Isis and a
tense relationship with the US our first story explores a new Russian identity
it’s a combination of religion old Russian traditions and rediscovered
patriotism this new identity helps explain a lot about how today’s Russia
thinks how President Putin acts and why he remains popular we begin our series
in the southern city of Krassner it is Sunday morning and Russia’s conservative
South more than 70 percent of Russians or Orthodox Christian and under
President Vladimir Putin the church has been revitalized arch priest Ivan
garmisch is known as father John he tells parishioners there’s only one
way to be a true Christian and he says being a true Christian is the only way
to be a true Russian so ghusl Moscow the state and my faith
are united they can’t be separated the values of the church and the state
coincide in Russia faith is patriotic the Orthodox Church criticizes liberal
Western values as heresies while Orthodox priests bless Russian weapons
and endorse Putin politically and personally the president’s faith
increases his popularity well he is a religious man and he takes part in the
divine worship with the people in churches what the president is doing
what the government is doing of course we support it because he acts
conscientiously and truthfully today’s re-energized Orthodox Church helps
create pride in the shared religion it is an historic Russian symbols like
Cossacks help create pride and shared traditions 500 years ago Cossacks became
the Russian Czars henchmen they were famous and feared and helped police the
Russian empires borders the Soviets persecuted them today’s Russia restores
them Cossacks fill crafts in our streets an annual parade
I believe Russia should be governed by tradition not the rule of law not of
only the nation that has kept its traditions and honors them more than the
law deserves respect the strength of the nation is in its traditions for 17 years
Vladimir Gromov led the regional Cossack army he revitalized this event and
helped get the Cossack state sponsorship President Putin awarded him the order of
friendship medal gramado considers putin the custodian of russian pride and
stability preventing the chaos of the 1990 Linnea he gained putin if it wasn’t
for President Putin Russia as a state would be struggling through the toughest
times now and possibly may have ceased to exist only Putin has saved the state
from total collapse and in return cossacks do what they feel saves putin during the 2014 Olympics the band Pussy
Riot performed a song that disparages poof Cossacks unleashed their
centuries-old tradition of vigilante violence last year cossacks dows the
main opposition leader Alexei Navalny attacked is fact and in Kaliningrad when
a small group of demonstrators demanded the government change its foreign policy
a Cossack beat up 63 year old protester Yevgeniy grecian he lost 80% of his
eyesight well our generation if the regime can’t suppress civil protest
through legal means they punish the people through affiliated associations
like the Cossacks the regime acts through them why have the authorities
crack down so much what I see in Russia statehood comes first and human rights
come last they use any means to prove the state is the most important more
important than a human the idea that the state is more important than the people
is actually not new Russians have long had a collective identity for us the men
is collective concept we consider ourselves to be the part of the whole so
to be Russian means to share the same the same cultural and historic identity
for years TV fixture and firebrand Alexandra Dugan inspired the Kremlin
ideology he says Russia’s collective identity comes from patriotism
projection of power and respect for the rules
Hooten taps into all three connecting today’s Russia to its Imperial grandeur
butter diesel is organic it is not artificial Empire or state is not
something additional artificial because it is our breasts our skin our
organic way of life today’s kremlin uses that patriotism to
try and unite the population and convince them only a powerful state can
protect them from enemies enemy number one the US America is on the brink of a
revolution Dugan in the Kremlin accused the u.s. of humiliating Russia by
expanding NATO to Russia’s borders and supporting revolutions in former Soviet
states and satellites Dugan advocates fighting back by attacking the West with
asymmetric war you talk about introducing geopolitical disorder
actively supporting dissident movements extremism racist sectarian groups this
seems much more than just exactly as usual it’s exactly what you are
supporting separatist group we are supporting any kind of admission with
including Russian nationals that is against Putin my words are a fear of
what you are doing it is near and you are right so much because you are doing
the same thing against us in Ukraine that philosophy was
weaponized did he die in eastern Ukraine Russia aids local separatists who fight
against the Ukrainian government that’s pro-western and in 2014 in Crimea Russia
helped install separatist leaders who rushed through a referendum that led to
Crimea’s annexation regime regime in Russia Putin the day of annexation Putin
gave a speech combining religion patriotism and imperial history
he said the West had been subjugating Russia and Russia was finally demanding
respect yes or no for assuming if you compress the spring all the way to its
limit it will snap back hard Russia is an independent active participant in
international affairs like other countries it has its own national
interest that need to be taken into account and respected it is impossible
to overstate how transformative eastern Ukraine and here Crimea have been in
recent Russian memory after the Crimea annexation Putin’s popularity spiked to
nearly 90 percent Russians told pollsters that suddenly they felt like a
superpower against the Germans and Russians all over the country mobilized
she saves brunettes Denis Solomon in 2014 fighting in eastern Ukraine he’s a
former soldier who was working a mid management retail job when he quit and
crossed the border it’s just looseness to work quicker now
we hear that behind us there’s an intense battle mortars and shells are
raining in our direction Solomon went to war because of that collective Russian
identity he believed the Ukrainian government was attacking ethnic Russians
death was a those people who were under fire I identified them as Russian people
who needed protection by those who can at least hold a weapon what was it about
them that you felt I need to help them those are the people with the same
culture as mine the same language the same worldview English shootings he was
convinced of that by propaganda in May 2014
dozens of pro-russian separatists died in Odessa Ukraine I’ve never felt
equipped a woman among young it probably became the pivotal moment there was a
lot of information about how people were simply getting beaten and killed but as
anyway I must Russian media exaggerated yes even using an actress to play a
victim we know she was an actress because she appeared in unrelated
pro-russian stories as three entirely different people that disinformation
campaign convinces the Kremlin’s critics the new Russian identity is manufactured
a product of deception and repression sometimes that repression shows up in
masks guns and camouflage those are special forces surrounding 66 year old
ill me o merav in the jacket and Jean Loup merabh is a leader of the Tatars
a Muslim minority in Crimea he and other Tatars fight the Russian annexation in
response many Tatars have been jailed on questionable charges and Umarov was
thrown into a local insane asylum we’re good the film is together so this all
together we call one big act of intimidation the purpose is to silence
some and keep others ignorant turn them into zombies so they think the same
thing these are the necessary conditions in order for the people to be loyal to
their government but do you acknowledge that that is the majority of the
population who feels that way career synchronously of course of course
we can’t say that this is a stupid population or stupid people they’re just
living in a constellation of fear and the propaganda machine rolls over them
like a steamroller Umarov may accuse Putin of manipulating the population but
under Putin Russia has revitalized majority religion brought back historic
tradition and projects power so until there’s an
alternative he’d considered the creator and will remain the caretaker of the new
Russian identity for years the Kremlin and the media it controls have waged a
multifaceted information and disinformation campaign inside Russia
and pointed externally and it’s perceived adversaries and last year that
effort crescendoed here during the u.s. presidential campaign
so our second story is about the information war the media publishing
Dogu Sudarsan in russia whoever controls the media controls the country and
Saturday night sir sir Gabriel EOS sourcing that the 44 year old is an
anchor for Russia one if the country’s most popular channel and its state-owned
do you think that that means that you have a Russian perspective when you
report the Russian perspective these a perspective of your country in any
reporting brilli of says he doesn’t feel pressure to push the government’s line
during the show we saw he challenged the government minister about police jailing
a former theater director who’s a government critic I imagined that
tomorrow tonight’s the broadcast I may have in some security agencies in saying
what I think he’s saying Russian state media have long delivered the government
perspective and rallied the public behind it really of denies that’s his
job but he hints at whose job it is a sandy program which is quite
conservative in western terms ultra-conservatives I would say
aggressive perhaps Oh Fox News pass car apart or CMEs Sunday night anchored
Dimitri Kiselyov is part Sean Hannity part Stephen Colbert
he’s crass and entertaining and widely believed to reflect the Kremlin’s
thinking Americans get Priuses again yet the American press is driving Trump into
a bullfight with no rules the aim is impeachment no pretext it will be
created invented engineered exaggerated thought my architect Eero CIA staff
hackers are hiding behind another name for example behind the so-called Russian
hackers kiss we have started targeting Russia’s opponents in 2012 an inch Nikko
massive protests threaten President Vladimir Putin says journalist and
author Mikael digger that was very important to start hating the enemies
that’s the the point when the audience starts bleeding you when I see it Russia
is the only country in the world and is realistically capable of turning the
United States into radioactive ash so Putin got all moving until 2015 Ziegler
was the anchor and editor-in-chief of TV reign in a sea of state media TV rain
was an independent TV island we’ve had reputation of the ala TV channel that is
trying to make real investigations in a Kenyan assignment in 2014 TV reign
accused the Kremlin’s cheap political strategist of corruption that was very
short but very effective campaign against us I was getting like hundreds
of personal messages with people wishing me that then all the major networks had
direct phone calls from Kremlin and they had to switch us off within one month
their audience dropped from 20 million to 60 thousand protesters fought to keep
them on the air but targeting critical media is nothing new in the last six
years the Kremlin’s targeted 12 critical newsrooms
say president ronpa so the GAR says state TV tries to convince russians to
support their government by replacing reality with a carefully crafted message
democracy does not exist our system is much more stable because we we have much
more much stronger leadership which in consumption Putin is universally
accepted as one of the most qualified heads of state on the planet if not the
most qualified but this isn’t only about shaping Russian opinion guess we all
considers the news a weapon aimed at Russia’s enemies as he put it in an
interview on his own channel well you see what my by absorbing it if you can
persuade a person you don’t need to kill in let’s think about what’s better to
kill or to persuade because if you weren’t able to persuade then you’ll
have to kill if the politics of defending your country’s interest is
pro-russian then probably a pro-russian margarita simeon is the editor-in-chief
of our team formerly known as russia today she says the network reaches 35
million viewers day in six languages including American
and international channels its stay down and aimed foreign audiences as an
alternative to channel Simeone calls pro-western CNN and BBC if you look at
any station you will see that what people are reporting comes from what
they believe in where they stand their background what their countries believe
in and let it be one of the voices in that quiet American and coalition forces
are in the early stages of military operations because when the choir sings
just one song awful things happen like the war in Iraq critics say our tea
isn’t just another media voice it highlights conspiracy theories the
article basically accuses the u.s. of manufacturing the Cibola outbreak it
describes a Holocaust denier as a human rights activist Russia is a threat to us
is hegemony and a neo-nazi is a German expert Germany is the country which
supports violent Islamist criticism is again that you’re trying to confuse
rather than inform now that’s absolutely a lie we’re never trying to confuse
we’re informing if we do have people appearing on the air life that are later
found out to be Holocaust deniers or anything like that we in middle
immediately put them onto a list of people have rapport forbidden from the
air you are telling me that people in the West are seeing as well believe me
most of the people in Russia I see in the west of the threat for the West the
biggest threat in terms of information comes from that building that is the
headquarters of the FSB successor to the KGB during Soviet times the KGB launched
deliberate disinformation campaign like planting the idea that President Kennedy
was killed by the CIA today Western governments accused the
FSB of launching the same kinds of campaigns except instead of offering
communism as an ideological alternative they’re waging a kind of hybrid war
against their enemies with a new kind of soldier hackers over the last two years
the Russian military ran online recruiting ads where soldiers put down
their guns to fight a cyber war in a January report US intelligence
agencies accused Russia of hacking Democratic National Committee and
Hillary Clinton campaign emails and leaking them to WikiLeaks to fuel
Russia’s propaganda campaign it was designed to quote undermine public faith
in the u.s. democratic process denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her
electability and potential presidency it worked
the Clinton campaign has now had to deal with more than a week of embarrassing
daily revelations thanks to WikiLeaks now these wiki leak release have rocked
the campaign WikiLeaks has released what appears to be transcripts of paid
speeches by Hillary Clinton to Goldman Sachs hacked emails became anti-clinton
talking points and many of those talking points were spread online by fake
accounts known as trolls believed to work in the st. Petersburg building 42
year old Marat mindy ARA used to be one of those trolls suddenly you see a lot
of comments at night and they’re always saying yes and this is actually the
people are doing their job they have their coffee they have a time to do it
their identities every day Mindi RF would get a document that instructed him
what to write on christmas eve 2014 he was told to quote create a negative
attitude about obama’s foreign policy so he posted photos comparing Obama to
Hitler portraying the u.s. as a fish about to eat the planet and an eagle
sharpening his talons he posted under the headline can the US take Russia out
on 50 websites in 23 cities and fellow trolls kirilov Ashkan Gennady Orlov Mike
Brandon expressed the exact same thought six hundred posts from 70 fake accounts
in 12 hours just one battalion in a sock puppet army manufactured by a handful of
trolls how many identities will the workers be
expected to pretend to be 100 hundred really hundred I myself made to have
2030 I didn’t count them US intelligence says the likely troll financier is
Afghani priests Koshien a businessman with catering companies he’s been dubbed
Putin’s personal chef Mindy Aarav left the factory because he didn’t believe in
its product but he says it’s effective because the stories are succinct and
echoed widely everything is very simple there yeah
Blair my real father the second quiet Russian propaganda is actually very
predictable and relatively simple and I think of it as the four DS which are
dismiss distort distract dismay then Nemo is an Atlantic Council senior
fellow studying how Russian media hacking and trolling combined you get
your own people to write this but then you pretend it’s not your people is just
some do-gooders in Russian society all the different parts of your machine then
amplify it and what you’re doing is you’re pushing out in dozen different
languages on all the different platforms there are one story and what that story
is what the Kremlin wants it to be dellavedova say to yourself in January
2016 it was a fake story that a Russian German teenager had been abducted and
raped by Muslim migrants Russian state TV apparatus repeatedly reporting false
claims after the German police had come out and said there was no abduction and
there was no rape but if the fake story helps parts real protests against German
Chancellor Merkel a frequent Putin critic but even though it was fake
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov used it to criticize one of Russia’s taught
adversaries the motivation behind the campaign as a whole was precisely to
weaken Merkel by amplifying this this very personalized story about crimes
committed by in a vertical most mackerels migrants we investigate the
stories misrepresented by the mainstream media last year the Russian propaganda
machine exploited a research psychologist who argued Google was
manipulating its results to favor Clinton so this is a gentleman called
dr. Robert Epstein he came out with a paper which said that by altering the
results of a search engine you could potentially alter people’s voting
choices and Google support for Clinton is is really very strong it was quickly
debunked but the different parts of the Russian propaganda machine echoed the
story from RT to State on website Sputnik to Russian trolls this was a
classic example in which the different parts of the machine were amplifying
each other what you then had was the claim being picked up by a number of
larger conservative media in the US it like Google is in the tank for Hillary
there’s no question about it and there you’ve divorced the story from the
source well you’ve laundered you literally I
know that says that the source has been laundered then candidate Trump said was
the effect of Google was ringing its results in favor of Clinton Google
search agent was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton now we don’t
know where he got that from but we know that to be an assertion point for that
story were they crammed in this information at that for any purveyor of
propaganda your dream is to have some high-value amplifier amplifying you
especially if you can contrive that in such a way that you were divorced from
it how about oh how about that next we travel to Russia’s southernmost border
the Republic of Dagestan is in the North Caucasus a kind of bridge between Asia
and Europe over the last two decades Dagestan each have fought a brutal
separatist insurgency against the Russian state with violence spilling
over from neighboring Chechnya where Russia’s fought two wars Americans might
know Dagestan because the Boston Marathon bombers were Dagestan II
immigrants but now there’s a new problem by one estimate as many as 5,000
Dagestan E’s or fighting for Isis we traveled to Dagestan to try and
understand why so many Dagestan E’s are fighting in Syria and Iraq if any some change it is no accident
that the youth are tempted to go to serious because today there is a revival
of Islam kazeem nurmagomedov is 62 years old and his son fought for Isis he was
never tempted to go to Syria but he and his wife Rashida understand why their
son marat was well there the islam the islamic color was talking about the one
in every muslim soul is hidden deep down it’s like a light in someone’s heart
nurmagomedov lives deep in the caucasus mountains were nearly dried up rivers
meander through thousand foot high cliffs and beyond ancient rock
formations isolated dirt roads connect secluded villages one of those villages
is Kurata official population is 4,000 but residents say it’s half that size
this area is nearly a hundred percent Muslim before Friday prayers men greet
each other in the small town center there are a few young people in part
because this village sent as many as two dozen to Isis al-qaeda and the wars in
Syria and Iraq that’s her that’s another Amina kondakova is a Muslim convert she
shows me photos from a happier time that’s very cute she says they grew up
traditional and comfortable and then two years ago her daughter Miriam and her
son Alyoshka told her they were going on vacation instead they traveled with
Miriam’s husband to Mosul Iraq to join Isis who told mom they lied to me about
going there I was so disappointed and then I became afraid about what could
happen to them she says this town is pious but wasn’t really just enough for
her daughter did she feel judged by people in this society the closest
weapon yes they gave her looks they didn’t like how she was dressing they
wanted her to dress like everyone else she wanted to dress the way it’s written
for a Muslim woman to dress kondakova believes that judgement drove her
daughter away she reluctantly admits that in Mosul her daughter is happy
raising her first grandson mama Yakult is his mom I feel like I was reborn here
I regret all those years I spent in Dagestan don’t you want to come here too
I want to live with you I want you to see my boy growing up
and Herman Chamitoff gets to see his grandson when his son Murat left for
Syria he abandoned a pregnant wife Oh Alexei is now three years old they look
at photos of Murad as a boy and a young Murad clowning around with his older
brother shamil when you look at these doesn’t make you wish that your sons
could all be here with you together yeah daddy
yes I am a realist I know there’s no return
life isn’t a book where you can tear out the pages if you didn’t like what you
wrote and write new ones the Dagestan youth who fought for Isis
continued a decade’s old legacy here of radicalism and militancy there’s been a
local insurgency here in the capital Dagestan mahadji allah for years
targeting both local authorities and symbols of the national government their
most prominent attacks targeted civilians in larger cities in Moscow in
2010 militants allied with al-qaida blew up the subway in 2013 in Volgograd they
blew up the bus station and then a commuter bus as seen on Russian media nimbala so suddenly there was no social
or physical protection every day there were bombings terror attacks that calls
people’s lives a be Magomedov is a former police lieutenant colonel and
member of Dagestan anti-terrorism committee
he says conservative Islam combined with high rates of unemployment and poverty
to radicalize the reunion it’s the living conditions absence of
possibilities absence of social mobility which creates waves of anger and
distress there has to be some sort of history that sets the person on a
certain track where you only need to light a match for the fire to start that
match is often a brutal security crackdown in January 2013 Russian
Special Forces flooded into Dagestan II villages local state security services
have practice collective punishment against entire families torture even
extrajudicial executions mama Mehta admits they went too far but he tries to
explain their motivation well yes the if keeping people safe requires limiting
rights and freedoms of certain individuals it’s probably worth it my
brother died in 1990 when someone threw a grenade in his
house you know the freedom of one man ends where the freedom of another starts
today the violence is diminished but it’s still religious Muslims whose
freedoms are most often restricted this mosque practices an austere and
aggressive form of Islam it also rails against government policy
and that makes it a police target after prayers police set up a checkpoint
officers must meet a monthly quota of arrests leading to what many call
indiscriminate – tensions including of journalists trying to tell the mosque
story we were filming that scene from across the street – standing on the
sidewalk for only about 90 seconds when police came up and arrested US they
threw us into their car they drove us to the precinct they refused to tell us why
they were arresting it and when we were in the station we thought dozens of men
have been in that mock before also arrested that is simply how police here
act thirty three-year-old manga met Magomedov is the mosque spokesman Levitt
I drew G as you saw yourself they arrest people not because they’re suspicious
but only because they came to a mosque do you think that the tactics that the
police used can help radicalize young people here there is – of course this is
the thing that provokes people since literally everyone can be arrested not
on the basis of actual cause but something totally subjective then of
course that irritates and that helped lead so many to Isis the group exploits
the abuse ahia Russian language propaganda says Russia oppresses Muslims
and present Syrian Iraq as a pious paradise fit for family and as Isis
recruited Dagestan ease Russian security services showed some the door exporting
extremism by facilitating their travel to Syria this first of Allah brothers
doing it was the right thing to do since the moment these people left Dagestan
for Syria local terrorism dropped dramatically if they had stayed there
would have been terror attacks there would have been human casualties who
helped you leave who facilitated your departure one of those who was pushed is
this 27 year old Dagestan who now lives in Turkey we agreed to hide his face and
alter his voice Rugel river holes of people who were on
the federal wanted list could somehow get a passport and leave the country
some security officers said to them will either kill you or you can leave the
country the way I was helped was that every time I went to my local government
office I was taken by the police and interrogated but when I went to get a
passport nobody stopped me and after the dagestan he’s left Russia made sure they
never came back we’re apostles they simply said that if I come back they’ll
do bad things to me so I won’t ever go back many dagestanis who fought for Isis
have died in Syria and they’re celebrated by Isis propaganda but some
managed to escape often to the port city of Odessa Ukraine former Isis fighter
Marat agreed to talk to us if we didn’t show his face
well since the majority went to Syria with the notion of jihad that Assad was
repressing Muslims and we needed to help them really we’ve actually already met
marajó he’s the son of Kazim Norma Gannett off
because neem is often in Odessa to visit is she oh-hoh she says we consider our
family lucky he is back alive and healthy and realized that where he ended
up wasn’t what he thought it was when his son left for Syria kazeem didn’t sit
back and let him die he traveled to the outskirts of Aleppo and saw the
destruction he helps convince Murad he’d made a mistake Marat finally left when
he thought about his own son the more thoughtful I was thinking about him
constantly hoping that I could leave and see my child I was always thinking about
what a big mistake I made thank God I was able to leave there
alive because practically everyone I knew there no one is left alive
they all died there Marat will never return here to Dagestan and that’s
what’s inspired Kazim to speak on camera for the first time the Asian who did
come there are thousands of Isis fighters in Syria who want to leave I
feel it maybe my story will be a lesson how to do it what obstacles to expect I
feel some sort of responsibility to use my experience to help get others out
people like cos Eames neighbor Amina she fears her daughter is dead she hadn’t
heard from her in four months what would you say to a mother in
America who’s listening to this story well yet subscribe to new Qaddafi don’t
let your children go anywhere look after them
look after there every step but don’t let them leave you ever but their
children have left this place and most will never return next we look at the
fate of some of the Kremlin’s enemies according to one study in the last three
years 38 prominent Russians have been the victims of unsolved murders or
suspicious deaths the high mortality rate has a long history but critics say
it’s emblematic of how President Vladimir Putin runs today’s Russia in
today’s Russia there are consequences to criticizing the state
we tell protesters their rally isn’t sanctioned they’re asking President
Vladimir Putin not to run for reelection this demonstration is sponsored by the
opposition group open Russia from saint-petersburg and across the country
police arrested more than a hundred protesters it is democratic opposition
activists are being arrested and given lengthy prison sentences it is members
of the Democratic opposition who are being forced into exile a harassed or
attack unloaded 35 year old Vladimir Carr Mirza is open russia’s vice
chairman he’s an outspoken activist demonstrating against putin and
organizing protests we first sat down with him late last year we believe in
the rule of law would be different human rights we believe that Russia should
enjoy the same democratic institutions of the rest of Europe enjoys to try and
create those democratic institutions he teamed up with the man he calls his
mentor or a stem Soph a former Deputy Prime Minister who became the country’s
leading dissident the two travelled to Washington to highlight the mysterious
death of Sergei Magnitsky a lawyer who exposed corruption among senior
officials nemstov and cara mirza convinced the US Congress to freeze the
assets of Russians believed connected to Magnitsky’s death these people in
account Russian regime who rule like to keep you know the money the asset in the
West they won a vacation in the West’s and the kids to churches schools to the
west and this you know personal accountability may well be the only
thing that will make them think twice a little more than two years later Nemtsov
was assassinated a few hundred feet from the Kremlin walls
his death was brazen and shocking this is the spot where Boris Nemtsov was
killed and you can see the corner of the Kremlin right there just
hundred yards away and you can see the memorial for him that’s on this bridge
today in Moscow a court sentenced five people in themselves murder whether or
not they were the mastermind they permanently silenced them sobs outspoken
criticism you live in car Mirza believed someone used poison to silence him too
I started suddenly feeling really really sick and within the space of 15 to 20
minutes I went from feeling could be normal like I am now to having a really
rapid heart rate sweating palpitations started vomiting and then I just lost
consciousness kidneys I think one first and it was the
heart the lungs the stomach the liver everything everything just shutdowns I
have no doubt that this was deliberate attempt to murder based on my political
activities motivated by my activities in the Russian opposition there are people
working as opposition who are not targeted what is the line that you
apparently crossed there’s a clear line between just saying things that are
against the regime and it’s a totally different thing to go off to their own
personal interests after their pockets the history of assassination goes back
decades in 1940 Leon Trotsky was killed with an ice axe in 2006 crusading
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered and in 2014 Alexander
Litvinenko a former intelligence agent who accused
Putin of ordering polar Kostas death was killed by radioactive T Dennis Warren n
Coppedge lawmaker who defected to Ukraine and became a Putin critic in
March he was walking down the street in Kiev when a gunman shot him three times
his body bled out on the sidewalk in the middle of the day Maria mock Zhukova is
his widow I was reading about my first spring and Keith was beneath I was
screaming so desperately first I thought it’s very nuts to be born at all when
you lose something like moxa Cova lives in kiev where she’s
raising their son in Moscow she and Lauren in Cabo lawmakers allied
with Putin and they enjoyed the spoils that come from power but he’d also been
an investigator who uncovered corruption in the Russian intelligence agency the
FSB who do you think killed your husband he had certain enemies and these enemies
are in the FSB the anti-corruption schemes that he would investigate from
here that is lots of money and lots of
influence lots of of everything physicians and that is something that
they would not let him do Russia calls her claim a fabrication but his death
fits a pattern a once loyal family member becomes an outspoken opponent and
ends up dead my family you can be born in truth it can be adopted inted can’t
believe it voluntarily people who have tried to leave the Putin family
voluntarily have not fared very well Masha Gessen is a Russian journalist
author and prolific anti-putin activist you’ve been dubbed by some an enemy of
the state are you an enemy of the state well I’m certainly an enemy of them
office in absolutely yeah I’m not an enemy of the Russian state gessen was
the first journalist blacklisted by Putin’s Kremlin she’s also been targeted
because she’s a lesbian who’s raising adopted children
nothing Western woman you want to do a new health intervention up of
micromanagement condemnable of dog warden in 2013 she helped lead a video
campaign criticizing an anti-gay propaganda law
it helped condone homophobia and attacks on gay Russians and Gessen argues the
law explains how Putin rules the autocrat needs everybody out in the
street would would Flags aloft they need that’s primaries they need for
mobilization to have mobilization you need to have it you can have all the
beauty people as enemies today and then you can have Americans tomorrow and keep
the LGBT people in your back pocket and then pull them out and you need them
again and Gessen says above it all is a boss served by loyal lieutenants who
don’t need explicit instructions to launch attacks let a patriarchal family
will fit in you know do I always have to tell you what to do like don’t you know
what the right thing to do is that the Kremlin kill is political
enemies hundred percent sure not the Kremlin denied our interview request
but Sergey Markov a member of Putin’s party and Russia’s national strategic
Council reflects the Kremlin’s defense counterpunch and embraced conspiracy
theories starting with the assassinated opposition leader Boris Nemtsov who
organized his killing I strongly believe that it’s terroristic organization as
both intelligence service of Ukraine Ukraine calibers names you not you
create the Ukraine is country you know captured by terrorists but terrorists
who captured Ukraine they killed by eating soup but it’s more than observe
right Vladimir karmerz has been poisoned twice Anna post gaya was was killed
there there are a lot of people who criticized the Kremlin who end up dead
first of all not too much this atmosphere which is killing people exist
but this atmosphere had been created not by Vladimir Putin but by Western
countries against Russia for the people Putin target that argument is an attempt
to distract Russia surrounded by enemies we should support even stronger than
before our leader etc etc there’s a standard propaganda for any of territory
and resume mikhail kasyanov was Putin’s first prime minister in the early 2000s
the two worked together to pass much-needed economic reforms in 2004
Putin fired him in castiana became an outspoken opposition politician
appearing alongside Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir car Mirza last year a prominent
Putin Ally posted a video of him and Kara Mirza in crosshairs but not all of
the Kremlin’s enemies end up dead some end up humiliated how did they target
you on television go there blackmailing me and just creating your two stories
etc as ever five months before 2015 elections state television broadcast
castiana having sex with his assistant the video helped fracture is party they
will try to destroy publicly to destroy morally and reputation of all of us and
they’re doing this quite successfully and they day and they they can book and
here doing this is there anything you can do to stop them we cannot do
anything because we have no protection we have no free and fair elections we
have censorship in the media we have political prayers more than 100
political prisoners now in Russia today one year after he nearly died from
poisoning car Mirza got better and restarted his work in February he was a
few hours away from boarding a plane to Washington where his family lives for
their safety when he says he was poisoned a second time we sat down with
him and his wife yevgenia in March I couldn’t breathe
and at this stage you know when you’re lying there trying to gasp for air you
know I think I felt just life slowly going out of the whole body and I
remember that distinct feeling this is it is it again
now I’m going to die the only thing I was able to do I called my wife if Kenya
who was here in the United States I asked them to take him to the hospital
to the same medical team that had treated him in 2015 had it been on a
plane had it been alone in his apartment had
it been somewhere with I don’t know in the streets of Moscow oh my god he
didn’t talk Karl Mirza had noticed that almost every
night Moscow city workers removed Boris nemtsov’s memorial so we made a film to
protect his mentor’s career and life buddy screams wolf on Norwegian analogy
what film was the most difficult thing I ever did in my life
this film is about the portrait of a man who could it’s not for a quirk of fate a
very well become president of Russia do you miss him Turner was this quite
fortunate sort the risks they do hit closed home
closer and closer every time have you ever asked him not to go back it is very
fine I’m not going to lie to you but I want him to continue to do what he
thinks is important what he thinks is right and her fate allows car Mirza to
keep his faith that he can change the system he says after recovering he’ll go
back to Russia to finish the work that he and nemstov
started Vladimir Putin is now serving an unprecedented third term as russia’s
president and he’s expected to seek another six-year term in next year’s
presidential election putin’s been widely popular but this spring for the
first time in years there were large anti-government demonstrations across
the country this is the season of Russia’s discontent under President
Vladimir Putin there’s been a tacit agreement that people enjoy their lives
and stay at a politics now many Russians are deciding that bargains no longer
worth it the value of him respect until recently people were thinking politics
were somewhere far away but now people understand politics hits close to home
38 year-old Alexei kodoroff and his neighbors had considered themselves a
political but they launched these protests when the city of Moscow planned
to evict them from their apartments to knock them down and build high-rises
as always police presence was strong but some Russians fear of their state seems
to be fading and faith in themselves rising do you think you can make a
difference that one wasn’t with me we can change things if we stay together we
need to stay active it’s very important right now to recreate civil society for
the last five years civil society has almost disappeared in the 1960s the
former Soviet Union built coder AUVs apartment complexes inexpensive housing
your home is home for people like him to have their own space whatever I’ll go
inside it’s nice with a view of the Moscow River quarter of accuses local
officials of wanting to seize valuable land to
rich Jefferson wozmak busca now is a very important moment the people are
starting to unite to show the government their point of view I was gonna but it
has the man most responsible for creating that unity is Alexei Navalny
the 41 year old lawyer is the country’s most prominent opposition politician on
a crusade against corruption evil I’ve never mind look what he did just because
the ruling United Russia party the party of crooks and thieves in March he posted
an hour-long YouTube expose about mansions yachts and land that he says
were corruptly acquired by Putin’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev we did Medvedev
can steal so much and so openly because Putin does the same but on a greater
scale the system is so rotten there’s nothing healthy left the volleys been
fighting Putin for six years in 2011 he sparked massive protests ahead of a
parliamentary election he called rigged let’s in raw food it’s very simple power
to the people two years later he ran unsuccessfully
for Moscow mayor against the Putin backed incumbent yes some will Chuck
today by using YouTube Navalny circumvent state-run media and
maintains a huge following this video has 23 million views at the mashallah
this is our country and these swindlers are stealing our money
everyone should fight however he can tens of thousands of people answered his
call on March 26 and June 12th Russians launched the most widespread
unsanctioned protests in a quarter century they were held in 185 cities
nearly all the protesters were young and motivated to speak out by corruption Putin’s a thief they chanted police
joined the people they say don’t serve the government of monsters police
declined our invitation and arrested 1,700 protesters across the country
including Navalny he was sentenced to 25 days in jail for organizing an
unsanctioned rally he was also arrested and jailed in March and back in 2014 he
was convicted of a felony defrauding clients of a shipping company helped his
brother Oleg start Oleg remains in prison Alexei calls his
brother a hostage and the charges fabricated his conviction means legally
he can’t run for office that hasn’t stopped him from campaigning for next
year’s presidential election we want you won you dog food we do not owe the
government anything it is the government who owes us they build an authoritarian
regime that doesn’t give anything back his rallies are unusual in a country
where retail campaigning is almost unheard of the crowds are young and he
talks like them Lorna she says they think we have no right to ask questions
that we have to shut up and listen they tell us you and we have to say oh okay
we’re very sorry but no we have gathered here to say we’re going to ask these
questions and will obtain the answers his anti-corruption message resonates
with me and I think that he is a very charismatic politician 23 year old cyril
Kozlovsky and anyone in the crowd who wanted one got a photo with Navalny
Kozlowski promptly posted it to his profile on VK russia’s equivalent of
facebook Kozlovsky acknowledges that Putin has brought relative prosperity to
Russia he’s not even old enough to remember the political and economic
chaos that Putin helped end when he came to power in 1999 what would you say to
your parents or grandparents who say look things were a lot worse for us
before President Putin in the 18 years that have passed he and his team could
have done a lot more to help the situation a lot more to make it better
and he didn’t so did the blame for this in Cheboksary 375 miles east of Moscow
the local government made sure no one in the city center would rent space to the
Navalny campaign so as gatherings take place on the edge of towns like this
apartment complex as a guy father Semyon coach ken is the local campaign
manager a level coletek see we were rejected by all the landlord’s by all
the hotels even the International hotels even construction fields rejected us
coach Ken says he’s been targeted personally last year on VK he posted a
clip from comedian John Oliver’s HBO program last week tonight scamming
Aussies is the best thing anyone did on earth thanks wait
the video shows band Isis symbols and coach Ken was arrested for extremism he
took a selfie in the back of a police car he accuses the government of
exploiting anti-terrorism laws to silence novotny’s campaign by ellicott
we are constantly fighting with the authorities and it’s always one-sided
because when it comes to election season they make it impossible local police also arrested 35 year old
Andre Yusupov he’s the local orchestra’s first violin on March 26th he joined the
Navalny protest and a week later police interrupted a rehearsal to take him to
jail I asked him if he thought he’d be arrested for protesting if Navalny were
president yeah absolutely beautiful couplet I’m absolutely certain this
would not happen because under Alexei Navalny the country will be more open
Alexia’s for transparency and only with transparency can we overpower corruption
arrests are only one way the Russian establishment pushes back directed in
the one ample will Sheila’s state TV portrays novela knees protests as an
existential threat to Russia stability listen to what the country’s most
popular anchor said last month see when the provocative they use people to
provoke the crowd and make the situation spiral out of control
achieving chaos first in one square in one city and then they plunge the entire
country into poverty I’m afraid to say civil war government-run high schools
for students to watch a video comparing Navalny to Hitler accusing him of being
a fascist trying to undermine the state but for the first time in a generation
young people are rejecting the government talking points in a
classroom 2,000 miles from Moscow students posted a video of themselves
challenging a government funded school teacher who called Navalny supporters
freaks and defended corruption in the state home drive a second avocado would
cool yeah another thing you gotta mine now I am
young but I like impulsive and you must have been dealing the pressure on Navami
himself is sometimes physical last year members of the pro-government Cossacks
doused Navalny with milk and beat up its staff in April a state TV channel showed
an assailant after he sprayed in a volley with green dye and chemicals
Navalny is right I needed surgery Navalny accused the Kremlin of
organizing the attack no does really let’s get backwards even
if I look like this does that mean that we will accept money’s been stolen and
used to buy yachts I don’t think so more Navalny x’ poll numbers remain low
but he’s changing public opinion 2/3 of Russians now identify corruption as the
country’s number one problem President Putin avoids responding to
Navalny substantively but the Navalny effect means at a town
hall in moscow where questions are usually screened in advance this
teenager dared to ask Putin about corrupt officials undermining the
public’s faith in government but for the Dominions oh how are you planning to
solve this problem Putin responded and venules digital
applause pathetic you read your question did you prepare it yourself or did
someone put you up to it little life prepared me for this question hey that’s vastly while he’s inspired
the younger generation some fellow Putin opponents criticized Navalny for being a
nativist six years ago he released videos comparing immigrants who work in
Russia to cockroaches if only stands by the videos instead he
wants to appeal the Nationalists which is why he rarely criticizes Putin’s
muscular and popular foreign policy in Ukraine and Syria
Navalny turns down interview requests including ours and tries to keep the
focus on corruption you save your harshest criticism of the president for
his domestic policy obviously not his foreign policy in fact you don’t talk
very much about its foreign policy is that because you agree with most
available avenues two-party system I don’t talk a lot about foreign policy
because here everyone is interested in wages income and bad roads he tries to
feed populism to an audience that’s hungry he highlights government
corruption to people who feel they have nothing to lose and he’s trying to
convince a generation and perhaps the country that politics requires
participation and finally the us-russia relationship to say it’s been tense is
an understatement so next we try and understand how
Washington sees Russia and how Russia sees the United States on Russia’s most
patriotic holiday Russians of all ages remember what they consider their finest
moment they mark the anniversary of victory in World War two by honoring the
dead Korea nom nom ovitch his grandfather fought the Nazis
he says Russian the US were once allies and should be again we can finally read
what you really want to love you and be friends with you we are waiting for you
to finally meet us halfway for Russians it’s the u.s. who’s unwilling to come
halfway many here believe President Trump wants to improve things but is
being blocked by what Dmitri sheikin calls the American establishment we’ll
go area by Lee to cool Trump wants to do something but he’s forced to follow the
general political line Donald Trump is the most right-wing candidate of the
Republican Party perhaps nobody expressed more hope in Trump’s and
Alexander Dugan a right-wing TV firebrand and philosopher who’s helped
inspire the Kremlin’s ideology really we supported trumpism
which supported our agenda Dugan says the Kremlin saw Trump is a kindred
spirit who vowed not to meddle in turn ash
we supported this choice of anti-establishment conservative America
revolution that changed when President Trump ordered a missile strike on Russia
ally Syria and Teddy felt he must respond to a chemical weapons attack as
long as America stands for justice then peace and harmony will in the end
prevail we trusted not in trump as pro-russian figure we trusted in trump
realist and we are disappointed the disappointment and tensions have been
growing last month over the Baltic Sea a Russian jet flew within 5 feet of a US
Air Force reconnaissance plane that same week a NATO Jets shadowed the Russian
defense ministers plane and a Russian jet came up and rocked its wings
demonstrated was armed last year the Obama administration accused Russia of
hacking the election and then seized Russian properties and increased
sanctions all of that has led to Russian frustration Maria Zakharova is the
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman we were trying to establish normal relationship
normal didn’t know this word normal relationship what is wrong with food
president and I have been discussing various things going very well last week
the u.s. took steps toward normalization presidents Trump and Putin announced a
deal on Syria both presidents called their meeting the
first step to warming the relationship asturias if we develop our relations in
the same way there is every reason to believe that we would be able to at
least partially restore the level of interaction that we need the president
echoed that hope on sunday he tweeted he wouldn’t dwell on 2016 hacking and wrote
now is the time to move forward and working constructively with russia
foaming-at-the-mouth this is not the language other Trump administration
officials use about Russia on Syria how many more children have to die before
Russia cares now is the my view on Ukraine
we do call on Russia to exercise influence over this separatist
in the region whom they do hold complete control over and on potent personally
this is a man for whom veracity translated into English the one senior
administration official who’s declined to echo that criticism is Donald Trump
if candidate and president wouldn’t it be a great thing if we could actually
get along with Russia with nothing sir a respect vote is a strong leader I can
tell you that unlike what we have we have a pathetic leader Putin C kill’uh
a lot of killers get a lot of killers while you think our country’s so
innocent and last week in Warsaw President Trump once again questioned
the US intelligence community’s unanimous assessment that Russia hacked
the 2016 election I think it was Russia but I think it was probably other people
and or countries and I see nothing wrong with that statement nobody really knows
at the very least giving the president all the benefit of a doubt this is very
bizarre behavior Democratic Senator Mark Warner is the vice chairman of the
Senate Intelligence Committee we are seeking to determine if there is an
actual fire but there is clearly a lot of smoke Warner’s helping lead the
Senate’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and
whether President Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia’s attempts to sway
the election we first interviewed him three weeks ago it is very strange that
any presidential candidates and in particular Republican presidential
candidate would pair it so much of the Russian line Republican Senator James
Lankford is also on the Intelligence Committee in some ways as president
Trump aligned himself with the ideals expressed by Russia yeah he’s pushing
out the messages that are consistent with the Kremlin policies and I would
tell you every opportunity that I have I try to articulate very clearly there’s
no question that the Russians were trying to hack into her election there’s
no question that we should have a strong NATO and the United States should be a
part of that NATO alliance do you believe that he’s not echoing that
because the Russians have compromising material on him I don’t know I hope not
but the goal of this investigation is not only reconfirm Russian intervention
and explain that to the American public but to also see if there was any
contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians and just this week we
learned that last June Donald Trump jr. met with lawyer Natalia Vissel MIT skya
and lobbyists Rinat Akhmetov both believed
to have ties to the Russian government I spoke to Senator Warner again last night
this indication that they were willing to accept this information from Russians
and it was part of an overall Russian government effort to help Trump and to
hurt Clinton I think this is the first time the American public has seen that
in black and white much of this town has been worried about Trump in Russia since
he became president current administration officials tell Newshour
the White House drafted an executive order that would have lifted sanctions
imposed on Russia over Ukraine senior administration officials and the
intelligence community successfully lobbied against it and this spring
senators passed a bill that would restrict the president’s ability to lift
those sanctions the bill is not yet a law but it was designed to be a nearly
unanimous message to the President and to Putin we believe strongly that what
Russia continues to do they will threaten Ukraine threaten its neighbors
threaten NATO to continue to pry into not only our elections but other
elections is destabilizing it in a demands a response what they’ve yet to
have a consequence for what they did in the election time and they should in
some ways the president has fallen in line on Sunday he tweeted he wouldn’t
lift sanctions on Russia over Ukraine until Ukrainian and Syrian problems are
solved and last week he also endorsed article 5 NATO’s collective dissents the
United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions
that we stand firmly behind article 5 the mutual defense commitment
that convinces many in Moscow that the u.s. establishment is making sure the US
remains anti-russian Dmitri trenin is a former Soviet Army colonel who directs
the Carnegie center in Moscow the United States has been remains and will be the
power that defines a common Western ie us driven foreign defense and security
policy and given that treinen says the US remains Russia’s
main adversary and Russia is simply targeting the US with whatever tool it
can I’m sure that the Russians have been looking at things I’ve been hacking
things have been using the material that they’ve hacked my are you surprised that
that you are being packed this is a method of espionage this is what you do
if you can do it do it if you can’t protect against that protect against it
but don’t whine but it goes one step further many in Russia look at
Washington’s turbulence and see a US state considered strong and unified
suddenly weakened and they’re exploiting that weakness in the US foundation it is
not so coherent it is not so stable it and it is vulnerable I would say and we
have seen that we have seen what we needed to see to see vulnerability of
American society and with that vulnerability with that lack of unity
both American and Russian officials acknowledged that Russian interference
in the United States is going to continue for all of us at the PBS news
hour I’m Nick Schifrin thanks for watching you

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