For months, reports of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have dominated the headlines.

Now, in a special, two-part documentary Putin’s Revenge tells the inside story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States, and Hillary Clinton in particular, as an enemy, and how U.S. intelligence came to believe he targeted the 2016 presidential election. It also examines the fallout under President Obama and now the Trump administration, and the implications for the future of American democracy.

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Putin's Revenge (Part Two) airs on Saturday January 20, 2018 at 10 p.m. ET/PT 
(REPEATS Sunday January 21, 2018 at 10 p.m. ET/PT)

Putin’s Revenge draws on more than 60 interviews with heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, diplomats, Russian politicians, historians and journalists to trace how Putin went from low-ranking KGB agent to long-serving president of a newly assertive Russia with the ability to wage cyber-war in the U.S. and across the globe.

With in-depth reporting from Moscow and Washington, D.C., the documentary from filmmaker Michael Kirk (The Choice 2016, Bannon’s War) explores why Putin has sought to sow distrust in America’s democracy.

Part one of Putin’s Revenge is a portrait of what makes the Russian leader tick, and the events that shaped his belief that the U.S. has sought to undermine Russia dating back to the fall of the Soviet Union. It explores how Putin came to power and then carefully constructed his image, cracking down on independent media outlets and opponents. It also traces key turning points in Putin’s relationship with the U.S. over the years, including how his fear of a U.S. policy of regime change intensified, and how he came to see Hillary Clinton in particular as an enemy trying to oust him – despite State Department insistence it was only promoting democracy, not trying to steer the outcome of Russia’s election.

“He said that it was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who provided funds and means to the Russian opposition and made them to get out of the - on the streets,” says Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats in the film.

Part two of Putin’s Revenge delves into the riveting story of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, and how and why the Obama administration struggled to confront Putin about both election interference and, before that, Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

Former CIA Director Brennan says in the documentary, “I remember being on the schoolyards of New Jersey, where I grew up, and bullies tried to intimidate.” “And they keep moving forward unless they get their— their nose bloodied a little bit. And I felt as though Mr. Putin really needed to get his nose bloodied. And I think it would have caused him to back off.”

Part two goes on to show Donald Trump’s repeated praise of Putin, and how Russia is believed to have weaponized hacked emails to influence U.S. news cycles and exploit the gulf between Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ supporters. And, how fake news picked up by Russian propaganda websites eventually found their way into mainstream American news broadcasts.

Against the backdrop of investigations by the FBI and Congress into the role Russia played in the election, Putin’s Revenge is the inside story of what drives Putin, and what might happen next.
 

Credits (Click to expand)

Open credits:

 

PRODUCED BY

Michael Kirk

Mike Wiser

Jim Gilmore

Philip Bennett

 

REPORTED BY

Jim Gilmore

David E. Hoffman

 

WRITTEN BY

Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser

 

DIRECTED BY

Michael Kirk

 

Close credits:

 

DIRECTED BY

Michael Kirk

 

WRITTEN BY

Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser

 

PRODUCED BY

Michael Kirk

Mike Wiser

Jim Gilmore

Philip Bennett

 

REPORTED BY

Jim Gilmore

David E. Hoffman

 

EDITOR

Steve Audette, ACE

 

PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE

Colette Neirouz Hanna

 

POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR

Elliott Choi

 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Ben McCoy

 

NARRATOR

Will Lyman

 

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

Olivia DelVecchio

 

RESEARCHER

Andrew Helms

 

COORDINATING PRODUCER

Karinna Sjo-Gaber

 

ORIGINAL MUSIC

John E. Low

 

SOUND

Jason Pawlak

 

ADDITIONAL CAMERA

Coby Howell

 

ADDITIONAL SOUND

Tom Levy  

 

ONLINE EDITOR/COLORIST

Jim Ferguson

 

SOUND MIX

Jim Sullivan

 

VOICEOVER

Jeremiah Kissel

Mike McNally

 

LEGAL

Ken Fishkin

 

ACCOUNTANT

Joseph Shulman

 

SPECIAL THANKS

Andrey Stankevich

 

FIXER, RUSSIA

Katya Korobtsova

 

LOGISTICS, RUSSIA

Vladimir Alexandrov

 

TRANSLATORS

LEXIT

Nini Arshakuni

Tatyana Gassel    

Yana Balanov

 

ARCHIVAL MATERIALS

Al Jazeera

Alamy

Associated Press

BR via TELEPOOL

CNN

Doug Mills/The New York Times/Redux

DVIDS

epa/Sergei Tyagin

epa/stringer

epa/ Vassili Korneyev

epa/ Vladimir Mashatin

Getty Images

Getty Images / BBC Motion Gallery

Getty Images / ITN

imago/epd

Journeyman Pictures

NBCUniversal Archives

Pete Souza

Pond5

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Reuters

RUPTLY video news agency

Russia State Archive

ScapeWare3d

Screenocean/Reuters

Sergey Kozmin/Redux

Shutterstock

SLUB Dresden / Deutsche Fotothek / Hartmut Schütz

VII

Wazee

William J. Clinton Presidential Library

Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR/Redux

 

Original funding for this program was provided by Public Television

stations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, John D. and Catherine T.

MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Park Foundation, John and Helen Glessner

Family Trust, Heising-Simons Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, FRONTLINE

Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler

 

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