Directed by Tania Rakhmanova • Documentary • 2005 • 52 minutes
In August 1999, Vladimir V. Putin, head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the KGB, was appointed Prime Minister. On December 31st of that year, Boris Yeltsin announced that Putin would succeed him as President of the Russian Federation. HOW PUTIN CAME TO POWER traces the stunningly rapid ascension of this political unknown to leadership of the Kremlin.
The film documents the power struggle between the country's ruling oligarchs and a behind-the-scenes political deal that elevated Putin to power. Putin initially demonstrated his value to 'The Family,' the family members and wealthy businessmen around Yeltsin-including Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky, now in exile in London-by blackmailing the Russian Prosecutor General who was investigating a money-laundering scheme that would have exposed government corruption. As Prime Minister Putin, aided by a suspicious series of alleged terrorist attacks in Moscow and the launch of the Chechen War, established a 'law and order' reputation, which paved his way to election as President.
HOW PUTIN CAME TO POWER tells its story with archival footage, a clandestine blackmail video, remarkable recordings of government meetings, and interviews with many Kremlin insiders who offer firsthand testimony about these events, including Putin's campaign chief Ksenia Ponomareva, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, General Vladimir Shamanov, journalists Elena Tregubova and Vlad Rabinov, and former U.S. Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich.