Four Corners: May 16

Four Corners traces Putin’s rise to power from his days as a KGB counterintelligence officer to a global power player.

Monday’s Four Corners is a PBS Frontline story, “Putin’s Road to War” on the Russian leader’s rise to power.

He is more dangerous than he’s ever been at any point in the last 22 years. He will not lose. He will grind the country down to a fine, fine ash.” Author

When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February it came as a shock to many. Why would Vladimir Putin want to overturn decades of stability by sparking the biggest security crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War?

“He came to see himself as almost ordained to lead Russia back to greatness. If that is your ordained mission, then there aren’t a lot of limits on the means you can use to achieve that goal.” Reporter

For those who have studied Putin for decades, this war has been long in the making.

“It seemed almost as if Putin had drawn up a plan, a long time in advance, and now he had finally decided to execute it. This was not the war of the Russian people against the Ukrainian people. This really is Vladimir Putin’s war.” Global affairs analyst

On Monday Four Corners traces Vladimir Putin’s rise to power from his days as a KGB counterintelligence officer to his emergence as a global power player in the post Cold War era.

“He’s a professional liar. To lie is what he was taught in the intelligence school. He was pretending that he was going to pursue the same development of Russia as Yeltsin did. But that’s all is just one big lie.” Russian journalist

This film shows how he has repeatedly used so-called national security threats as a pretext for suppressing dissent and asserting his control.

“He came to power because of the war in Chechnya inside Russia’s own borders, just as brutal as the horrors that we’re seeing in Ukraine today.” Global affairs analyst

In fascinating interviews, former top international diplomats describe their dealings with the Russian strongman.

“You could almost feel the humidity from the spittle that was spewing. It was pretty shocking because it was pretty aggressive.” Former US Ambassador to NATO

These keen observers say the invasion of Ukraine is being driven by Putin’s obsessive desire to find a place in history.

“He wants to be a great historical figure for Russia. It’s Putin the Great, is what he wants to be. And one of the deeds that Putin the Great will have accomplished is reuniting Russia with Ukraine.” Journalist

And they warn that in Vladimir Putin’s eyes, failure is not an option.

“It doesn’t matter how many Russian soldiers die in the process, how many Ukrainian soldiers and civilians die in the process. He will not be humiliated, and that makes him also much more dangerous.” Author

Monday 16th May at 8.30pm on ABC.

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