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'FRONTLINE: Putin's Way'
(DVD / NR / 2015 / PBS)

Overview: FRONTLINE and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation go behind the latest headlines to investigate Russian leader Vladimir Putin-his remarkable ascent from unemployed spy to modern-day czar, and the persistent accusations of criminality and corruption that have accompanied that rise.

DVD Verdict: Investigating the Rise of Putin is something that has been done before, but here in 'FRONTLINE: Putin's Way' they actually trace Putin's career back two decades to his political start in St. Petersburg. A place, and an era, where allegations of corruption began almost immediately.

Vladimir Putin has been the President of Russia since 7 May 2012. Putin previously served as President from 2000 to 2008, and as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. During his last term as Prime Minister, he was also the Chairman of United Russia, the ruling party.

For 16 years Putin was an officer in the KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before he retired to enter politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991. He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin's administration where he rose quickly, becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999 when Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned. Putin won the subsequent 2000 presidential election, despite widespread accusations of vote-rigging, and was reelected in 2004.

Because of constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term in 2008. Dmitry Medvedev won the 2008 presidential election and appointed Putin as Prime Minister, beginning a period of so-called "tandemocracy". In September 2011, following a change in the law extending the presidential term from four years to six, Putin announced that he would seek a third, non-consecutive term as President in the 2012 presidential election, an announcement which led to large-scale protests in many Russian cities. In March 2012 he won the election, which was criticized for procedural irregularities, and is serving a six-year term.

'FRONTLINE: Putin's Way' chronicles Putin's ascent as Boris Yeltsin's chosen successor, examines his controversial ties to former German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder, and revisits the horrific 1999 Moscow apartment bombings - which continue to haunt the country, with unanswered questions about the role of Russian security services and Putin's complicity.

From the producer of Murdoch's Scandal and On Our Watch, we follow Putin through is rise, but also note that this is the same man who called the 2014 Ukrainian revolution a "coup", a "forcible seizure of power in Kiev in February" and "lawlessness". And, according to Putin, the War in Donbass was armed forces suppressing "the people in the southeast who did not agree with this lawlessness." Ergo, watching 'FRONTLINE: Putin's Way' may well have you deciding, come the end, to think things over in a completely different way. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.