Secrets of the Oligarch Wives (2022) Movie Script

- So I'll pass it to you.
["Blueberry Hill" playing]
[gentle piano music]
- I found my thrill
- This clip
from 2010 has gone viral.
- Oh, my God, his face.
- On Blueberry Hill
narrator: As Putin woos
a star-studded crowd
in St. Petersburg,
the West seems oblivious
to the true nature
of this soulless dictator
who will go on to sacrifice
hundreds of thousands
of lives.
What were we thinking?
What was he thinking?
- It was all about
how your ego is feeling.
And that just gets in the way.
It blinds everything.
- As a psychopath, Putin's
illness leads him
to lack any normal
human emotion.
- He was always rejected.
If they don't want me,
then I will do it my own way.
narrator: To understand what
drives the most dangerous man
on the planet, we're looking
into Putin's mindset
with a different lens.
- He was always a shadow.
He is a shadow man.
And suddenly, you became
a leader of this country.
narrator: We will hear
from the women
closest to the fabulously
wealthy men
who were in Putin's
inner circle--
the oligarchs.
- They were all obsessed with
the yachts, with private jets.
- It was not about quality.
It was all about price.
- And they'd go,
oh, you're from Russia.
Putin. Yay!
And you'd go, what
are you talking about?
narrator: It's a story
about the men
who put Putin in power,
the ones who stood up to him
and paid the ultimate price.
[dramatic music]
These are women
who dare to speak out.
- I know I will not be going
back home anytime soon.
narrator: They saw through
it all from the inside.
- That type of character,
they can absolutely lash out
when they feel cornered.
- I think he became
really crazy.
It did not happen just now.
He just destroyed Russia.
- He has a mission.
This is clear.
- A person who is
really ill doesn't really
care about what happens next.

[pensive music]
London, England--
home to more oligarchs
per square mile
than anywhere
outside of Russia.
- So we're in
Eaton Square now,
which is sometimes wittily
known as Red Square.
And Londongrad
or Moscow on Thames
because this is where
the Russians started
flocking to
in the early 2000s probably.
narrator: English-born
Countess Alexandra Tolstoy,
descended from Russia's most
famous writer Leo Tolstoy,
has lived
the fairy tale lifestyle
as the partner of one
of those oligarch elites.
- We're now
approaching Hanover Lodge,
which is the most beautiful
John Nash building,
Regent's Park.
Andrey Goncharenko
bought this in 2012.
At the time, it was
the most expensive property,
120 million.
It's funny, Russians--
they've chosen
very specific areas
like Chelsea,
Regent's Park, Highgate.
But I suppose it's a sign
of a newly developing elite
that they
have to follow each other.
You know, it's very much
about prestige.
narrator: Alexandra first
met Russian oligarch
Sergei Pugachev in 2006.
"Forbes" magazine
estimated Sergei's net worth
to be over $2 billion.
- The oligarch lifestyle,
it was everything
you probably expect it to be.
It's private jets.
It's Rolls Royces,
chauffeurs, chefs.
We had an amazing yacht,
which was a Palmer Johnson,
which is this very sort
of sporty
James Bond-type yacht.
It was all
beautifully decorated
by this amazing decorator,
full of art deco antiques.
And all these toys--
jet skis and stuff like that.
They all loved to holiday
in exactly the same places--
it's the South of France,
it's Saint-Tropez,
it's St. Barts.
They're obsessed
with Courchevel and skiing.
And it's all about show.
Someone said to him,
do you want to go
to St. Barts for New Year?
And he said yes.
We stayed
in the Eden Roc Hotel,
which is
a very glamorous hotel.
So Sergei always traveled
with a bodyguard and a doctor.
And wherever we were,
they were two meters
behind us following us.
narrator: A hotel room
wasn't enough for Sergei.
The couple went shopping
and ended up
in a realtor's office.
- And within half an hour,
he'd chosen the biggest house
on the island.
I think it was 35 million euros
or something.
narrator: Alexandra quickly
learned that Sergei
had the ear of the
most powerful man in Russia--
Vladimir Putin.
- They spent hours talking
to each other every day.
And obviously, yeah,
he had chosen Sergei
as a particular confidant.
narrator: Her relationship
with Sergei
has given her
extraordinary insight
into the ultra-elite world of
the oligarchs who made Putin.
- Sergei was like
a microcosm of Putin.
I mean, he had had far too
much power even, you know,
not of a country,
but of his world.
Wealth for him
was extremely important
because it was a
way to be powerful,
to control other people.
Today, Alexandra is bravely
speaking out about Putin
and those in his orbit.
But she is not alone.
Another woman well connected
to the community
of billionaires who have
fled Putin's Russia
and made London home
is Tatiana Fokina.
One of them is her partner,
Evgeny Chichvarkin,
once worth over $1.5 billion.
Together, they now own
and run Mayfair's
most exclusive wine shop
down the road
from the world-famous
Ritz Hotel.
It's a far cry from
their humble beginnings
in mother Russia.
- From a human perspective,
we need--
we need to understand that
we all came from a country
that had nothing.
We had nothing.
We were wearing
the same clothes.
I had maybe two dresses.
I had no toys.
And after that, imagine
you get access to everything.
And it's really tempting.
And you want everything.
narrator: But not all
the Russian billionaires
in London had to flee here
to save their lives
and fortunes.
Some, like Roman Abramovich,
one of Russia's richest men,
were here by choice.
Rumored to be once worth
$23 billion,
he remains
in Putin's good graces,
even serving as his
back channel in peace talks
with the Ukrainian government.
- He now has all these
different properties in London,
a beautiful Chateau
in the South of France.
I think he's got three yachts.
[seagulls cawing]
So now we're drawing up
to the famous
Chelsea Football Club,
which was bought in 2003
for 233 million by Abramovich.
[announcer shouting
[cheers and applause]
Abramovich buys his way
into the heart
of British society
by acquiring one of
the country's most
prestigious football clubs.
- I suppose
Chelsea Football Club
was the first
huge Western asset
to be bought by a Russian.
I don't think it was
controversial at the time,
particularly, as he
invested so much money in it.
He bought these
amazing players.
Every Russian I knew,
they wanted to go
and sit in the box
at Chelsea and watch a match.
That was their sort of--
the most glamorous thing
you could do in London.
narrator: Unlike some
fellow oligarchs
who keep a lower profile,
Abramovich has a taste
for entertaining
and likes to be
surrounded by celebrities.
- He had these famous
New Year's Eve parties.
I once went out with Demi Moore
and Ashton Kutcher on a plane.
They were coming into a party.
And, yes, I met him.
Wearing a very casual shirt,
looking like
he was trying to be
a bit of a raver.
It was funny, actually.
And the Black Eyed Peas
were there.
I just remember very sweaty.
And I did think,
"God, it's funny."
You're a--you know,
he was an orphan in Siberia.
But how did Abramovich
and the select group
of oligarchs
who were responsible
for Putin's rise to power
make their fortunes
in the first place?
[inquisitive music]

The oligarchs, like everyone
in 1980 Soviet Russia,
struggled to get by.
Tatiana Fokina remembers.
- I was born
in Leningrad in 1987.
So the union collapsed
when I was four.
And I still remember really
Soviet times,
virtually having no food,
and queues for food
for five hours,
and, you know,
literally eating potatoes
for weeks and weeks and weeks
when I was little.
narrator: After decades of
prioritizing military spending
at the expense
of civilian society,
President Mikhail Gorbachev
that an arms race
with the United States
was not winnable.
- Mr. Gorbachev,
open this gate.
[cheers and applause]
Mr. Gorbachev,
tear down this wall.
[cheers and applause]
Suddenly, in November 1989,
the Berlin Wall fell.
And from Moscow
to East Berlin,
a new era would begin.

Vladimir Putin
was a 37-year-old officer
in the Soviet spy agency
the KGB,
based in Dresden,
East Germany,
when the Soviet Union
A phone call from
an old friend brought him back
to his hometown of Leningrad,
whose pre-Soviet name,
St. Petersburg,
was then restored.
For him,
free market capitalism
had meant a loss of status.
But his fortunes were about
to change dramatically.
Ksenia Sobchak
was just a child
when her father,
Anatoly Sobchak,
became the first elected mayor
of St. Petersburg in 1991.
- He was one of the main
democrats of a new Russia.
He worked shoulder to shoulder
with Boris Yeltsin.
So in the years when my father
was active in politics,
I was around 11 years old.
narrator: Ksenia observed
her father's political career
from an early age.
She recalls how he threw
an old friend a lifeline.
- Putin was a guy
whom he met in university.
And he did some work for him,
and he liked the way
he did it.
He always said
about Putin as being
very efficient
and very responsible
for what he was doing.
narrator: As deputy mayor,
Putin quickly impressed
his mentor,
easing a citywide food crisis
by trading Russian minerals
overseas to countries
that sent back potatoes.
- I understand why my father
respected him so much.
Being in the limelight,
doing political,
you know, work, being a mayor,
which is a quite public thing.
You always have this guy who
doesn't want any light on him,
but he was ready to work hard.
I would never
believe if someone
would say this guy
would be ruling Russia
for more than 20 years.
I would never ever believe.
narrator: Some city officials
suspected Putin
was also selling food
on the black market
and pocketing the money,
exploiting a new era
of entrepreneurship.
- The '90s years in Russia
were the only years
when there was real freedom
and a lot of possibilities.
- There was a time
of unique opportunities
that presented themselves
when the Union collapsed.
And, you know,
things were for grabs.
And did everyone
have the courage, the skill,
the intelligence,
you know, the social skills
to make profit of it?
No, because in Soviet times,
you know,
there was no business.
You didn't have
that business initiative.
narrator: Tatiana's future
partner, Evgeny Chichvarkin,
was a natural entrepreneur.
- First steps in business,
I just rent one square meter,
put newspaper,
and bring everything
what I have at home--
my old clothes and some food,
chocolate, cognac.
I sell more than half of that.
I asked my father
to give me $5,000--
that probably
everything that he had.
And he trust me,
and he gave me,
and I return it
in 23 days back.
There was great time.
narrator: Alexandra's partner,
Sergei Pugachev,
also seized every opportunity
he could find.
- I think in the '90s,
it was a bit like
sort of cowboy world.
They were just taking
insane, very dangerous risks.
But obviously,
they did pay off.
And it was all about
bluffing, really,
and you had to convince people.
And people wanted to be--
feel they were
with the powerful--
but, you know, it's a bit
like in the jungle where
you want to be with the lion.
You don't want
to be with the lizard.
Which was almost
a badge of honor
because it was--
you were enterprising.
He said he had
a jeans line where
he was making fake Levis,
and then he had
one of these car factories.
He went and bought
slightly damaged parts
and then would
assemble them on a line
and sell the cars for cheaper.
He then set up a bank.
And his was the biggest
private bank,
I think, at the time.
[people shouting]
Without the iron fist
of the Soviet police state,
the early 1990s were a time
of lawlessness and anarchy.
Boris Yeltsin grappled
with widespread unemployment,
faltering state industries,
and food shortages.
As his popularity waned,
Yeltsin's solution
was to transfer
massive state-owned industries
like banking and gas
into the hands
of select businessmen,
who would then
loan the government
the funds it needed
to keep running.
At that time, American-born
financier Bill Browder
was investing heavily
in Russia.
- I started investing in 1993
at the beginning of the
Russian privatization program.
At the time,
during the Yeltsin era,
the oligarchs
were people who were
not just immensely wealthy
but immensely powerful.
In order to get
reelected in 1996,
he allowed 22 oligarchs
to steal 40% of the country.
The government borrowed money
from the oligarchs,
and the oligarchs
asked for collateral.
And so the government
then handed over
all the crown jewels,
and then the government
conveniently defaulted
at the end of the loans.
And these oligarchs then
became immensely wealthier
through owning the most prized
crown jewels of the country.
[suspenseful music]
narrator: Overnight,
became billionaires, and a new
political class was born--
the oligarchs.
- And in return,
they used their resources,
their media,
and everything else
to make sure that
he was president.
But in doing so,
he also gave up
a huge amount of power
and sovereignty
to these 22 oligarchs.
- The oligarchs
in the original
and the true sense of words,
they were not just
super rich, you know.
They were not businessmen
who made
good business decision
or, like, a dodgy deal
here and there.
They had political power.
And this is a crucial key
element to being an oligarch.
narrator: Yeltsin put
his political prospects
in the hands
of Sergei Pugachev,
Alexandra's future partner.
- In 1996, he ran
Yeltsin's election campaign.
And he brought in these
American campaign managers,
which was quite controversial.
And it was the first time
where they sort of worked
on someone's public image.
And it did work.
[upbeat folk music playing]

[cheers and applause]
narrator: After their
man won, many oligarchs
took office as senators.
- The money that
they continued to steal
led to a terrible
social crisis in Russia
where they were rich,
and everybody else
was destitute.
Nurses became prostitutes.
Professors became taxi drivers.
And art museums sold
the paintings off the walls
in order to survive.
It was a terrible time.
[apprehensive music]
narrator: The all-powerful
oligarchs were now
like mafia bosses
working with criminals,
ignoring a legal system
that had evolved little
since Soviet times,
and turning Russia
into fiefdoms
of organized crime.
Whilst Yeltsin
turned a blind eye,
Russia's security service,
the FSB,
take matters
into their own hands.
One up-and-coming intelligence
officer at the FSB,
formerly the KGB,
targeting criminal gangs,
is Alexander Litvinenko.
His family and friends
called him Sasha.
He's tasked with leading
a secret intelligence unit,
one of whose missions
is to keep oligarchs in line
who'd become too independent,
too powerful.
- These people who had money
became politician.
And they tried
to get this at top level
and be elected
to Russian parliament.
narrator: Sasha soon discovers
the FSB itself
is involved in this
web of crime.
- He realized
organized crime now
very linked
to security service,
to politician,
and to big money.
And this is--his was
the first concerning
something is going wrong.
They received more and more
order what doesn't look legal.
What does it mean?
They need to kidnap people.
They need to even maybe kill.
narrator: The man at the
top of Sasha's hit list
is Boris Berezovsky,
a media baron
and owner of Russia's
biggest TV channel.
As Russia's
most influential oligarch,
is an obvious target.
He's already
survived one attempt
on his life two years earlier.
narrator: Berezovsky's driver
had been decapitated.

narrator: Instead of
carrying out the order
to assassinate Berezovsky,
Sasha decides
to warn the oligarch.
- Sasha came
to Boris Berezovsky to say,
"I was asked to kill you."

Boris Berezovsky assumes
the order came from Yeltsin.
He tells Sasha to inform
the newly-appointed
head of the FSB,
Vladimir Putin,
a man Berezovsky trusts
and recommended for the job,
that his agents are being used
for political assassinations.
- Boris Berezovsky
they have a good friendship
with Putin.
But that was not true.
And when my husband Sasha
met Vladimir Putin,
Putin didn't say nothing.
I think Sasha
was not really impressed
of Vladimir Putin as a person.
narrator: Sasha's next step
is extraordinary.
With other FSB whistleblowers,
he holds a press conference.
It's broadcast by
Berezovsky's own network.
Sasha reveals not only
the plot to assassinate
Boris Berezovsky
but also shocking corruption
inside the FSB.
- I was really nervous
when Sasha said
they're going publicly
for this press conference.
I said, why you need to be
so public in saying this?
But he said, don't worry.
He felt Boris Berezovsky
has a lot of power.
And he felt his support
and a lot of support
from other business in Russia.
Other guys were
wearing glasses,
and one was in a balaclava.
narrator: Sasha chooses
not to cover his face.
- [speaking Russian]
- I was really shocked.
And I asked him,
what is next after this?
He said,
"Mm, I might be arrested,
or I might be killed."
narrator: Immediately fired
from the FSB by Putin himself,
Sasha is arrested
on trumped-up charges
of beating up a suspect.
He spends
nine months in prison.
[sirens blaring]
[upbeat marching band music
By 1999,
Yeltsin is deeply unpopular,
and his behavior
becoming erratic.
In ill health and fearful
of being prosecuted
for corruption,
his days in the presidency
are numbered.
Sergei Pugachev is one
one of the oligarchs
plotting to find
Yeltsin's replacement.
He has someone
in mind that he thinks
would be perfect
for the job,
someone who would be
- Sergei definitely always got
to be number one in the room.
So he would never ever
have chosen
someone who he thought could
ever vaguely compete with him.
They thought they had
this very malleable pawn
who would fulfill
all these instructions.
Boris Berezovsky recalls
how he supported Putin when
he first became president.
- Definitely I support Putin.
I support Putin.
And I trust that Putin
took this position
as a successor of Yeltsin.
Yes, as a successor.
What it means, that he's
supposed to continue reform.
- I would in this respect
agree with Berezovsky
that in this way,
he has honesty
and decency to has his clear
way of how things should be.
And no one can take him out
of this road he chooses.
narrator: At first,
Putin acts just like
the drab bureaucrat
the oligarchs expected.
[apprehensive music]
- After the Yeltsin era,
I and everybody else
was just desperate
for somebody normal.
And here comes along this guy.
He's got this blank face,
not charismatic at all.
But he spoke English,
didn't drink.
And so I sort of placed him
in the category
of boring functionary,
but it's what Russia needed.
And I had no idea the evil
that lurked just underneath.
Sergei told Alexandra
how Putin reacted to the
opulent halls of the Kremlin.
- Putin grew up
in a communal flat,
which is really
the most humble way
you could possibly grow up.
It's a shared kitchen.
It's a shared bathroom
with other families.
To have then gone to be living
in this sort of semi-palace,
apparently he was just like
a child in a sweet shop.
He was just so excited and
couldn't even really hide it.
narrator: The oligarchs were
confident they'd found the man
to do their bidding
and sold their pick
to the ailing
alcoholic president.
On December 31, 1999,
Yeltsin resigns.
- [speaking Russian]
- In a nationwide
television address,
the ailing 68-year-old
Yeltsin said
his life's work is finished.
"Russia will never return to
its Communist past," he said.
Yeltsin then handed power
and Russia's nuclear suitcase
to his prime minister,
Vladimir Putin.
Putin, a 47-year-old
former KGB spy,
will be Russia's acting
president until elections
are held in three months.
[lively fanfare]
narrator: President Putin's
first official move
is to grant Yeltsin immunity
from prosecution
on corruption charges.
- In 2000, when Putin
became president,
he looked young, promising,
healthy, and so on.
[tense music]

- Here is a young,
effective president
with good health,
very open to the world,
very open
to America and Europe.
- The vast majority of people--
and this is--
this completely makes sense.
He was a breath
of fresh air because
he spoke foreign languages,
he was young,
energetic, sporty.
As much as we hate him now,
you have to give it to him.
He is very charismatic.
Really, he can be
very charming still even.

narrator: Just four months
into his presidency,
Putin invites Russia's
most powerful oligarchs
to a meeting behind
closed doors at the Kremlin
and offers them a deal.
Do what I say, and you
can keep your wealth.
Stand against me,
and I will take everything.
Tatiana's future partner,
at the time
the youngest
multi-millionaire in Russia,
had been paying
close attention.
- Putin said, that's the rules.
You can do everything, make
as much money as you want.
But don't go to politics.
And everybody said yes.
Yes, sir.
At that time, I thought,
"If I will be
just trading phones,
"and I've been not
involved in politics,
nothing will happen with me."
That was my thought.
narrator: The oligarchs
still believe Putin
is their puppet president.
Yet in public statements,
Putin denounces the oligarchs
for their greed.
- [speaking Russian]
- In Russia,
people hate rich people.
Most of the people
hate oligarchs.
They think all the money
that have oligarchs,
they only come from,
you know, stealing.
One oligarch in particular
believes Putin means
what he says about
reducing the oligarchs' power.
narrator: Other oligarchs
believe the president
can be managed,
even though some suspect
he is jealous
of their lifestyle.
- Sergei told me funny stories
like even about--
because he's
quite small, Putin.
He told me once
he was swimming.
Sergei was swimming
in a swimming pool.
And Putin was
standing at the end.
And he said, "Look at you
with your long arms."
I think he probably
felt very frustrated
that the oligarchs were living
these crazy, glamorous lives.
Putin would much prefer
to have been an oligarch
than to have been
the president.
narrator: Another person who
has no illusions about Putin
is FSB whistleblower
Sasha Litvinenko,
released from jail
after nine months.
- He really worried
about us, his family,
when he decide
to escape from Russia.
This was not only because
he would be arrested
again and put to jail.
He knew they might do
something against us.
narrator: Sasha sends Marina
and their young son Anatoly
on holiday to Spain.
She doesn't yet realize
her husband
is plotting their escape
from Putin's Russia.
- When I was in Spain
with Anatoly,
Sasha first time started
to talk about
maybe we're not going back
to Russia.
And when he started this,
I was immediately disagree.
I said, no way.
No way I leave my parents.
I leave everything.
Reluctantly, Sasha gives in,
saying they will return
to Moscow after the holiday.
But then he gets
a call from Berezovsky.
- Boris Berezovsky
called him and just said,
"Sasha, don't do this.
Your life will be in danger."
Instead of flying home,
the Litvinenkos
board a flight to London.
- First of all, I had
not only a suitcase.
I had my husband
and my son with me--
Anatoly, who was
just six years old.
We left everything behind--
our friends,
our families, our job, all.
But we had to do this
for him, for our son,
because he will be
a freedom person.
He will live
in a freedom country.

narrator: At the start
of his presidency,
the world
had high hopes for Putin
that he might lean in
to democratic rule,
a 21st century man
ready to reform
a corrupt
and inefficient system.
- And I looked
the man in the eye.
I found him to be
very straightforward
and trustworthy.
narrator: But as the
first year of Putin's rule
comes to a close,
Russian journalists
are rocked by a string
of unexplained murders.
Investigative reporters
brutally eliminated,
the suspected killers
with ties
to the security services.
The message was received
loud and clear.
[tense music]
There were limits
to press freedom.
Putin's Russia
was not the West.
In August,
Putin travels to Murmansk
to meet the
grief-stricken families
of sailors who had drowned
when the
submarine "Kursk" sank.
In a six hour conference,
they unleash their anger
on Putin's officials.
- [speaking Russian]
narrator: For weeks,
Boris Berezovsky's ORT network
wall-to-wall coverage
of Putin's public humiliation,
sharply criticizing
the president's handling
of the crisis.
A few months later,
Putin gets his revenge.
Facing charges
of fraud and embezzlement,
Berezovsky is forced
to sell his media empire
and flee to London,
realizing he has no future
in Russia.
[suspenseful music]
At first, the other
oligarchs believed
that if they stay out
of the public eye
and build their fortunes
in dull industries
like banking and oil,
Putin will leave them alone.
But in 2003,
they learn a lesson
that no one would ever forget
when the richest man
in Russia,
Mikhail Khodorkovsky,
challenges Putin
at a Kremlin summit.
- [speaking Russian]
- [speaking Russian]
- I remember the meeting
when Khodorkovsky expressed
his concerns over corruption.
And it sort of
made your blood go cold
just because you knew
it was not going to end well.
There was that famous footage
and how Putin looks.
And then, you know,
shortly after, he got arrested.
And he was an absolute hero
because it took
so much courage
just to say those words.
And, you know,
and he had things to lose.
narrator: Khodorkovsky
breaks the oligarch code
by involving himself
in politics,
for which he is destroyed.
The state seizes much of his
estimated $15 billion fortune
and sentences him to nine
years in prison for fraud.
- Khodorkovsky started
being politically active,
and that was why
he went to prison,
and that when Russia started
to change dramatically.
- And at that point,
the other oligarchs
came to Putin and said,
"What do we have to do
so we don't go to jail?"
And Putin said, 50%.
And at that moment,
Putin became
the richest man in the world.
While Putin privately demands
half their wealth,
publicly, he continues
to threaten the oligarchs,
knowing ordinary Russians
feel little sympathy for them.
- [speaking Russian]
- Ordinary Russians,
they live
a completely different life,
and we can't imagine.
You know, they have
the toilet outside.
They literally think about
getting food on the table.
This is the level
of their concerns.
So people saw that as, yeah,
they stole all our money.
They got punished,
and that serves them right,
and I'm poor, and they're rich.
I think they saw this as
a demonstration of strength
from Putin.
narrator: Oleg Deripaska
was one oligarch
who prospered in the
first years of Putin's regime,
becoming Russia's richest man.
narrator: Deripaska owns
several sectors
of Russian industry,
employing thousands.
When he tries to close
a cement factory
and fire its workers,
it is an opportunity
for Putin to step in
and posture as a man
of the people.
- [speaking Russian]
Deripaska abandons his plans
and keeps the plant running.
[tense music]

narrator: The oligarchs
now understand
they have underestimated Putin
all along.
Unlike Berezovsky
and Khodorkovsky,
Deripaska had done nothing
to embarrass or upstage Putin.
It is now clear to everyone
money does not equal power.
With his friend and ally
oligarch Boris Berezovsky
already ensconced in London,
the Litvinenko family
now arrives.
They hope Berezovsky
will help them
as they build new lives
in a foreign country.
- Sasha and Boris
Berezovsky been
the most different people
you can imagine.
And many people been surprised
what might be between of them.
But it was really
a friendship.
narrator: But Sasha
cannot stay quiet
when another good friend
of his,
journalist Anna Politkovskaya,
is murdered after criticizing
Putin's war in Chechnya.

- When Anna was killed
7th of October,
Sasha was devastated
because he felt
it something he didn't prevent.
After Anna's murder,
Sasha is invited
to speak to journalists
at a gathering in London.
- [speaking Russian]
narrator: Just days after
he accuses Putin
of Anna's murder,
Sasha falls gravely ill.
- I thought it might be
just some kind
of digestion problem
or anything.
But sickness was so powerful
and so unusual.
And Sasha immediately
suspected something wrong.
His immune system
dropped almost to zero.
And doctors and hospital
didn't know why.
narrator: Sasha told
hospital doctors
he suspected foul play.
- I'm a Russian,
I'm former security service,
and I have
a very powerful enemy.
For nearly two weeks,
they try to diagnose
the cause of Sasha's sickness
until finally, a blood test
revealed he'd been poisoned.
- And his blood was checked
for poisoning first time.
And it was a trace of thallium.
narrator: The Litvinenko case
would be a warning
to all Putin's enemies
who thought
they'd be safe in England.
Paying close attention is
the oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
- He asked Boris
to come to see him.
Berezovsky, I saw he was
really, really nervous about.
And Sasha say,
"Boris, you promise
"if something happen to me,
"you will never leave Marina
and my family
without attention."
And, of course,
for Boris, it wasn't
even a question to discuss.
But he had two days
to talk to police.
He gave a lot of evidence,
even if it was very difficult
to talk.
And they told me, we definitely
will do everything
to investigate this case.
- We're sorry to announce that
Alexander Litvinenko died
at University College Hospital
at 9:21 on the 23rd
of November 2006.
And the matter is now
an ongoing investigation
being dealt with by detectives
from New Scotland Yard.
narrator: From his deathbed,
Sasha had helped police solve
his own murder,
pointing the finger
at two Russian associates,
both ex-KGB,
who he said had spiked his
green tea
with radioactive polonium-210,
a claim the
Russian government denies.
- For me, it looks
they didn't expect
polonium would be discovered
because it's
radioactive material.
You can't buy.
You can't just select it.
You can't take it from nowhere,
just from nuclear reactor.
narrator: In 2006, at the time
of Litvinenko's death,
Alexandra Tolstoy
was traveling in Russia
with little knowledge
of Putin's world.
She was a young woman having
an adventure living abroad.
- I was doing
these different jobs,
and I taught English
just occasionally,
and a friend of mine
said to me,
"Oh, my boss wants to have
English conversation lessons."
And I said, yeah, sure.
I'll do that.
But he was so reserved
and silent
and sort of seemed
to be watching me.
I was flailing around like,
what should I--and I said,
should we talk about Putin?
And he said, no politics.
No politics.
And then I went home,
and I Googled him.
And I went--I remember
going bright red.
You know, I thought,
this is awful.
I had no idea,
and he was a senator.
And he was already
nicknamed Putin's banker.
narrator: The next time
Alexandra crossed paths
with Putin's banker
would be two years later
and in very different
- I was working
for something called
the Laureus Sports Awards
in St. Petersburg.
And I was asked to invite
people who would spend
10,000 euros on a ticket.
I suddenly remembered him,
and then when I met him
at the sports awards,
I walked up to him, and I said,
do you remember me?
And he looked at me and went,
oh, my goodness.
You've made my evening.
I'm so happy you're here.
I've thought about you
every day since those lessons,
and I was completely staggered
because at the lessons,
he'd looked so serious.
So I sat next to him
at dinner,
and Sergei just clung
to me, I remember,
and I felt--it was
very exciting to feel
that looked after.
And in my life, I'd never
felt like that and protected.
And then Sergei really
pursued me, I suppose.
The event went over two days.
There was a dinner.
And then the next day,
there was this big ceremony
and then the sort of
after party,
and he just was
with me all the time.
narrator: Sergei's friend,
the president of Russia,
is guest of honor.
- Putin gave a little talk
at the ceremony.
I just remember
his body language.
He's quite small.
There's a lot of
sort of strutting,
you know, really trying
to pick himself up.
At the end of the dinner,
suddenly, we all stood up,
and then Putin marched out
with this great phalanx
of bodyguards around him.
And as he did,
I was standing at Sergei,
and I saw Sergei go like that,
and he, like,
caught their eyes,
and he sort of bowed.
It was quite a kind of almost
feudal thing, you know.
He sort of bowed
slightly to him.
narrator: Alexandra says
Sergei felt like
his relationship with Putin
was special,
and he was stunned
when the president demanded
a cut of his business.
- He owned a huge property
on Red Square,
which was half the length
of Red Square.
And he was meant to make it
into a very luxurious hotel.
And it was worth--
I don't know--3 billion.
He got some very famous
Belgian architects
who came and made a whole plan
of how to develop it
into a luxury hotel.
And it would've been
the most amazing location.
narrator: But Alexandra
says Putin made Sergei
an offer he couldn't refuse.
- Putin said, look,
it's opposite the Kremlin,
so I have to see what
the plan is for this hotel.
And so Putin came.
He showed him the plan.
And he says that during the
meeting, Putin's face changed,
and suddenly, he realized,
oh, my gosh.
He's so jealous.
Weeks later, these guards
were moved in,
and the property was seized.
And that was the
first time that
he'd had to hand
something over.
And he told Sergei,
you're gonna be compensated,
and he never was compensated.
Sergei told me, "Because
I don't give him money,
I'm being punished."
By this point, Putin had gone
power hungry and crazy, really.
- There's no difference
between Russian organized crime
and the Russian government.
The Russian government
is effectively
an organized crime
and Vladimir Putin
is the mafia boss.
narrator: In 2009,
Bill Browder discovers
what the oligarchs had
already learned the hard way--
that no matter how sizable
your financial resources,
you can never win
against someone
who has a government agencies
under his control.
- Sergei Magnitsky,
my lawyer, my Russian lawyer,
uncovered a $230 million
government corruption scheme.
And he believed that there
was a rule of law in Russia.
And he believed that
even though there
was corruption in the system
that the law
would eventually prevail.
And he thought that Putin was
a patriot and a nationalist.
And I never believed
any of those things,
and I asked Sergei to leave
after he uncovered
this $230 million scheme,
to come to London at my expense
and stay here
under my protection.
But Sergei was a patriot
and an idealist,
and he stayed in Russia.
And he was
subsequently arrested,
tortured, and killed.
That weighs very heavily
on me,
and I do regret that I didn't
try harder to get him out.
narrator: After refusing
to cut Putin in
on his hotel project,
Alexandra says Sergei Pugachev
falls out of favor.
- At the end of 2010,
we'd gone together
to St. Barts over New Year.
And then I stayed on
with the children.
It is when she is online
looking for mentions
about Sergei
that Alexandra
learned some bad news.
- Every day,
I would type in Sergei's name
to see what was going--
you know, what he was doing
or whatever.
And it came up saying
he'd been demoted as a senator.
The meaning of his demotion
is immediately clear to her:
Sergei has been expelled
from the inner circle.
- I was terrified
because I knew
that it meant he'd no longer
have diplomatic immunity.
I knew that, you know,
he'd been losing
all these assets.
I didn't care about the money,
but I was so frightened for him
because there have been
so many stories.
I just--he could be arrested.
narrator: Alexandra now fears
for Sergei's life
and what it would mean for her
and their three children.
- I remember calling him.
He didn't answer the phone,
and I was calling and calling.
And then about
a few hours later,
Sergei called me and said,
"Hello, I'm in France."
And I was so relieved because,
you know, he was alive,
and he was--and then he
never went back to Russia.

narrator: In building
his cell phone empire,
tycoon Evgeny Chichvarkin
was never part
of the inner circle.
In fact, he did
everything he could
to fly under Putin's radar.
But that was impossible.
- One of Putin's general
of FSB came into warehouse
and just took the assets
for 36 million of mobile phones
and said,
"We have to have a share."
We said no.
They said, yes, you will.
We said no.
And then Putin said, go ahead.
narrator: In 2008,
Evgeny is charged
with a slew
of financial crimes.
The Putin regime would get
its share of his assets,
or he would go to prison.
- In a few days,
five people was in the prison.
There was open criminal case
against me.
- I think that was
an incredibly stressful time.
His children never went
to school without a bodyguard.
- My head of security
came to me
and said, "I know
from the head of the prison
"there's the special
luxury room is waiting
for you from the next Tuesday."
Said, thank you so much.
I'm going to airport.
Enough is enough.
- Fortunately,
he had a UK visa.
So he just, you know,
boarded the next plane
and came to London.
He managed to take most
of his family with him
and at least a part
of what he's earned.
narrator: One family member
Evgeny had to leave
was his 59-year-old mother.
Four months later, he makes
the tough decision
not to return to Russia
for her 60th birthday,
convinced Putin's agents
have laid a trap for him.
- My mother was found dead next
day after her 60th birthday,
and the police said
it's accident.
- The theory is that she was
killed to make him come back
so they could capture him.
He hasn't been
to Russia ever since.
narrator: Evgeny embarks
on a new life,
building a business
in fine wines.
- And that's how we met--
at a job interview,
and he asked,
do you drink wine?
I was like, look,
you know, I enjoy good food.
I'm sure I will
enjoy good wine,
and this all sounds
very interesting.
- When we start to work,
I believe that with this lady,
we can do everything now.
- It's natural when you work
very closely with someone,
you get to know them.
Then you fall in love and--
It's the law of attraction,
something like that.

narrator: By 2010,
Tatiana and Alexandra
are both living in London
just a few miles apart.
Yet they've never met
until now.
- Yeah, so for my experience,
from what I saw of Sergei,
there were two types of
successful people in Russia.
There were the oligarchs,
who Sergei--
he was like a deal breaker.
- Yeah,
I think it's, you know--
there are businessmen
like Evgeny.
But that's very different
to wanting to be in power.
Whenever you make a contract
with the devil,
there will be consequences.
You know, if you deal
with the dark side,
it will come
to haunt you later.
narrator: Alexandra and Sergei
are no longer a couple,
but during the ten years
she spent with him,
he painted a vivid portrait
of his onetime friend
Vladimir Putin.
- He was the first person
who took Putin
to see where he would live.
And he said Putin was literally
like a child in a sweet shop,
just amazed by the sort
of lavishness of it.
- He never gets to actually
live in those villas,
use those yachts.
You know,
he is stuck in Russia.
- Sergei was a bit like
a microcosm of this.
He had an amazing yacht.
We had the best house
on St. Barts.
We had, you know,
planes and whatever we wanted.
He never used them.
All he wanted to do
was lie in bed
and watch the Weather Channel.
- Putin--because he came
from a very--
- Humble.
- Very humble family.
And I think that's a big part
in understanding who he is
and what he's doing.
- For me, Sergei,
his behavior, everything
just seems to mirror Putin.
And from my experience,
he trusts nobody.
- I actually don't think
there was a safe way of,
you know, staying
really wealthy in Russia
because inevitably,
someone will be
coming knocking on your door.
narrator: And that was
certainly what Russian banker
German Gorbuntsov
believed when he fled Russia
after discovering
his business partners
were allegedly defrauding him.
Gorbuntsov was due
to give evidence
against two other
former partners
in a meeting
with Russian investigators.
But it never took place.
A security camera
outside his home
captured what happened next.

- [speaking Russian]
narrator: Gorbuntsov
had built up a fortune
worth over $1 billion,
and at one time owned
Russia's Spartak hockey team
and a Le Mans race car.
He believes the hit
was ordered
by his business partners
who had boasted of their
ties to the FSB,
the chain of command going
right up to the Kremlin.
- It's kind of like
"The Sopranos."
You have
the Philadelphia mafia,
the New Jersey mafia,
the Brooklyn mafia.
Each of them
have their own areas
for committing extortion,
drug dealing, et cetera.
They get their money,
and then they've got to
divert a bunch of that money
right up to the mafia boss.
And if anyone
stands in their way,
then they can use the FSB,
which is the Russian
security services,
to have people arrested,
to have people killed,
et cetera.
narrator: Exiled oligarch
Boris Berezovsky
knew he was never truly safe
from Putin's long reach.
Here's how he put it to
British journalists in 2012.
narrator: His remarks
were eerily prophetic.
The following year,
seven years after his friend
Sasha Litvinenko's poisoning,
Berezovsky is found dead
from apparent suicide
at his mansion
just outside of London.
Official report stated he had
hung himself in his bathroom.
- When I received this news,
I was really shocked.
Very, very devastating.
And I never believed
he committed suicide.
- I do remember very clearly
when Berezovsky died.
I was sitting
on the sofa with Sergei,
and we were watching the news,
and it came up,
and Sergei immediately said
that was not suicide.
- The circumstances
of his death
are still mysterious
and would lead me
to believe based on what
I've read, he was murdered.
narrator: Sergei Pugachev
always suspected
that Putin was not
finished with him either.
His partner Alexandra
is the first
to bring him some bad news.
- A friend of mine works
in political intelligence,
and she had come
to me and said, look,
I've got to warn you,
there's a search
going out on Sergei's assets.
True enough, there was
a worldwide freezing order,
and they froze all his assets.
narrator: Putin's
regime charges Sergei
with embezzling hundreds
of millions of dollars
from his Russian bank.
Alexandra tries to help,
making an introduction
to a top British lawyer.
- They said, "You're about
to get a freezing order,
and we can help you."
We can make your assets less
visible, and blah blah blah.
And I realized
Sergei is so chaotic,
his personality makes it
absolutely impossible.
He can't listen to anyone.
So for him, he would
say to me often,
who the hell is a lawyer?
They haven't made
as much money as I have.
They're nobody.
It was just appalling.
He thought he could
just bulldoze his way
and bully his way
through everything.
narrator: Instead of
taking legal advice,
Sergei decided
to escape to France.
- You know, you can't do that.
You've been told
not to leave the country.
And I said, well,
I just tell you one thing.
If he does that,
I am not following.
I never ever will follow him.
He just had a tantrum
and said, that's it.
And he ran away to France.
About two weeks later,
the bodyguard
knocked on the door.
I said, Denise,
what are you doing here?
Where is Sergei?
What's going on?
And he wouldn't look at me.
He walked around the house
like this robot picking up
every single personal belonging
of Sergei's--all his papers,
absolutely every sock,
every--absolutely everything,
cleaning the house of it.
Put it all in a van
and drove off without literally
addressing one word to me.
Next come British officials
from the Crown Prosecution
- Yeah, that is horrific.
I was going to church
with my children.
And there was
banging on the door,
and it was a lawyer
with a search warrant.
So they went round,
got my iPad,
got my laptop, my phone,
downloaded literally
every message
I'd ever written to anybody.
narrator: Sergei is
found in contempt
when he fails to appear
in the British court.
In absentia, he is sentenced
to two years in prison.
Alexandra cuts
ties with Sergei.
Their three children
now live with her permanently
in London.

Are there other sides to the
iron willed ruler of Russia?
Vladimir Putin the man,
the human being?
Family friend Ksenia Sobchak
has had a glimpse
of the human side of Putin.
- He always calls on the day--
when my father passed away,
he calls to my mother
and says his condolences.
So he never forgets to do that.
And I know that he loved
my father sincerely very much.
These are things
that are very hard to fake.
narrator: In 2013,
during an intermission
at the Moscow Ballet,
Putin broke some news
to the public,
giving the world a rare look
into his private life.
- [speaking Russian]
- [speaking Russian]
- [speaking Russian]
- He just--
very off the cuff
and apparently spontaneous,
but nothing is spontaneous
in the KGB
or let alone
in Russian television.
So I don't think it really was.
But he said,
"We're getting divorced,"
and we've just never really
heard about her since.
- [speaking Russian]
- Sergei used to tell me
that actually she was
more intelligent than him
and more charismatic,
and in private,
she would really
humiliate him and sort of
laugh at him.
And she was from a more
sophisticated family.
He was from a very, very poor,
very humble family.
And I think she came from a,
you know,
more well-off family.
And so then the boot
was on the other foot.
So I think maybe there was
an element of revenge.
narrator: The presidential
divorce isn't a huge surprise
to the Russian public,
for whom it was
common knowledge
that Putin had a mistress.
Alexandra remembers
when she first saw her.
- It was a very big event.
All the oligarchs were there.
And then we were just
sort of standing around,
and I saw a little gathering,
and I looked over,
and there was a girl in a kind
of Grecian white dress--
yeah, that dress a bit like
Marilyn Monroe famously wore--
sort of twirling around.
And it was eye catching 'cause
it was quite extraordinary
that--obviously the attention
that she wanted
and that she had this group
of people watching her.
And I turned to Sergei,
and it was just--
I said, oh, my gosh.
I taught that girl English.
It's Alina.
And I hadn't seen her since,
and it was just--seemed
such a funny coincidence.
But what struck me most
was that
she had put on so much weight,
and she's obviously
a very, very famous--
well, very famous
in Russia--sportswoman.
So I said to Sergei,
oh, my goodness.
But she's--
poor thing, she's so fat
compared to what she was.
And he said,
oh, well, she's pregnant.
And she is Putin's girlfriend.
Even after his divorce,
Putin keeps his life
with Alina Kabaeva
out of the public eye.
- The weird thing is,
you think,
why don't you now live
with Alina Kabaeva officially?
She was a gymnast.
She's like
a real Soviet heroine,
which really fits with the
whole propaganda
Soviet angle now.
And that's quite a mystery,
but I can only guess
that he's just such
an egomaniac that he
doesn't literally want
anyone distracting from him.
I don't know.
narrator: To observers,
Putin appears
more isolated than ever.
- This is--you know, this is
a very lonely existence.
And, you know,
you should be surrounded
by your grandchildren
and love and family.
He completely alienated
everyone because he is--
you know, he was
always paranoid.
But now I think there are so--
there are millions of people
across the globe who wish him--
- Dead.
- Dead.
- I know this, his nickname
the other KGB officers
gave him--
the moth.
That's important.
At night, in silent, in dark,
nicknames in Russia so strong.
It's like a bullet.
narrator: Until his war on
most countries understood
Putin not just
as a ruthless dictator
but also as a leader
in control of vast
energy resources,
someone you had
to do business with.
Here he is in 2018
at an opening ceremony
for the World Cup
being hosted by Russia.
- This is the face of Russia.
This is the face
of the Russia that we love.
And thank you most importantly
as well, President Putin.
[speaks Russian]
For your commitment,
for your dedication,
for your passion.
Without you, all this
would not have been possible.
I'm sure about that.
So thank you. Congratulations.
We did a good job
together as well.
- Putin has done
a very good job
over the last 22 years
of only committing crimes
that were plausibly deniable.
Creating this ambiguity,
he was able to feed
into the apologists and the
appeasers around the world
and give them enough
ammunition to say
we don't know for sure
who shot down MH17.
We don't know
for sure who killed
Alexander Litvinenko,
even though everybody
knew for sure.
But in doing so, it allowed
business to carry on.
narrator: And Bill Browder
has had a personal reminder
from Vladimir Putin himself
that the Russian ruler
never forgives or forgets.
- In early July 2018,
Donald Trump
and Vladimir Putin met
in the first organized summit
in Helsinki.
And it was just after the
Robert Mueller investigation
had indicted
12 Russian GRU officers
for interfering
in the U.S. elections,
and at the press conference,
one of the journalists
raised his hand
and asked Putin--
- And will you consider
the 12 Russian officials
that were indicted
last week by a U.S. grand jury?
- And Putin said yes.
- [speaking Russian]
- Then we would expect
that the Americans would
reciprocate Mr. Browder
in this particular case.
Business associates
of Mr. Browder
have earned over
$1.5 billion in Russia.
They never paid
any taxes neither in Russia
nor in the United States.
- And then the question
was asked
of Trump, what do you think?
- I think that's
an incredible offer, okay?
- Thank you.
- Now, it's one thing
for Putin to go after me.
He has been publicly naming me.
He's been chasing me
with death threats,
kidnapping threats,
arrest warrants.
And I'd grown used to that.
But to have the president
of the United States,
the most powerful man
in the free world,
ready to hand me over to Putin
to effectively be killed,
that was a shock.
narrator: German Gorbuntsov,
who survived
being gunned down, is another
victim of the regime
still looking
over his shoulder.
- [speaking Russian]
But Evgeny Chichvarkin
is decidedly not afraid.
In fact, he has spoken out
in support
of Russia's jailed opposition
leader Alexei Navalny.
- What's happened
to him few times
is absolutely unacceptable.
It's a crime.
I think he have to be
on election list,
and Putin
have to be in the prison.
- Alexei Navalny is a friend.
And when he got poisoned,
you know,
everyone was in shock.
But, you know,
when someone you've--
I don't know--
went for dinner with
is there unconscious, in coma,
his wife absolutely distraught.
narrator: Tatiana knows the
couple's support for Navalny
comes at a steep
personal cost.
- I kept going back to Russia
up until autumn 2021.
People kept telling me,
you're crazy.
This is crazy.
Stop doing this.
And Evgeny was really worried.
And I used to take
our daughter with me
because for me, it was very
important for her
to see St. Petersburg
to know what our heritage is.
These are normal things.
I should be able
to do this with my daughter.
Going to Russia now
would be suicide for me
because I will--
the plane will land,
and then they will just show me
all the various things
I've said and say,
"According to the new law
of Russian Federation,
"blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,
you are going
to prison for 20 years."
narrator: Another brave voice,
but this one still based
in Russia, is Ksenia Sobchak,
daughter of Putin's
political mentor,
who today is carefully
critical of the regime.
- Maybe I'm not
in prison because, you know,
everyone knows that he had
some links with my father.
I'm just trying
to be not too much aggressive
because, of course, I'm afraid.
I have a son.
I don't want to go to prison.
Putin's war on Ukraine
has triggered punishing
American and British sanctions
against his inner circle,
forcing some oligarchs
to return home
or relocate to countries
ready to welcome them--
or at least their money.
- Yeah, okay, so we've just
driven past, actually,
two houses that belonged
to Abramovich's ex-wife,
and just by chance, I once went
to look at them to rent them.
And actually,
where we lived in Chelsea,
he and his third wife Dasha
had bought another
massive property on the river.
And now we are approaching.
But I suppose
this one was, like,
his gem in the crown
in Kensington Palace Gardens,
which will be very near
Kensington Palace.
I think it's worth 200 million.
But I suppose
for the last few years,
he has not been able
to spend any time here anyway
because he couldn't get a visa.
And now it's been sanctioned,
and he can't--cleaners
can't even go in.
It can't be maintained.
It must be just standing
completely empty.

The sanctions have made
for a tricky moment
of reckoning
for Russia's business
and oligarch elite.
They must ask
if their loyalty to Putin
is worth losing part
or all of their fortunes.
And the stakes
could not be higher.
Reports say that
since January 2022,
as many as six prominent
Russian businessmen
mysteriously decided
to commit suicide,
even killing
their families first.
- It looks to me like
since the sanctions
were imposed on Russia,
the pie has shrunk.
And so now you have a bunch
of people fighting over
a smaller amount of money.
And whenever
there is limited resources
and very powerful people,
people start getting killed.
- [speaking Russian]
narrator: Tatiana believes
what motivates Putin
is his almost mystical
attachment to the notion
of eternal mother Russia.
- In Russia,
there are so few things
that are left to be proud of,
to be honest,
for everyday Russians.
And the sheer size
of the country is one of them.
We live in the biggest
country in the world.
The sheer size really,
really matters,
and for Putin as well.
And I think at one point,
he got himself convinced
that it is his mission.
He wants to go down
in history as Vladimir,
the person who brought
the Russian soils,
territories all together.
This is what
he wants kids to learn
at school when he's gone.
- He has a mission.
This is clear.
He is not about
buying a golden palace.
He's about a mission
of another world order.
narrator: For Alexandra,
the Russia Putin craves
is a dark reminder
of the world witnessed
by her ancestor, Leo Tolstoy.
- So I love
this quote by Tolstoy,
but it's haunting, really.
Navalny quoted it recently
I think from prison.
He wrote, "The villains
who robbed the people
"gathered together,
recruited soldiers and judges
to guard their orgy,
and are feasting."
- People are very quick
to judge the Russians
who still live in Russia
and are not doing anything now.
I don't think any of us
sitting here warm and fed
have the moral right to say,
"You need to speak up,"
because the minute
they speak up,
they get put
into Russian prison.
- In Putin's mentality,
that all people
around him enemies,
all countries
around Russia enemies.
And he's poor little guy
in the circle
of many circles of enemies.
It's a big psychiatry problem.
- I think Putin is ill,
but not in the way that
most people think Putin is ill.
Putin is mentally ill.
But he's been mentally ill
as a psychopath since,
you know, childhood.
Putin's illness leads him
to lack any empathy,
lack any--a conscience,
lack any normal human emotion
when it comes
to the fate of other people.
And that will lead him to
all sorts of terrible crimes.
- There are rumors
that he is ill.
And if those rumors--
and I think
they're likely to be true.
And if they are true, that is--
for me, that makes me
really frightened
because a person
who is really ill
doesn't really care
about what happens next.
[somber music]

When he got away with starting
the conflict in the Ukraine,
that set a precedent.
And unfortunately,
we're living the consequences.

Having the Ukraine
that was really desperate
to be part of Europe,
go its own way,
be more democratic,
be more prosperous,
not depend on Russia--
he just could not
let it happen.
The propaganda is still
telling people in Russia
that Ukraine wants
to be a part of Russia.
- He looks much,
much more angry, I would say.
He looks really
unpredictable now.
And he's been in power
far too long.
He's gone--it's just
completely gone to his head.
- Like a cancer,
it's getting worse and worse.
Less and less freedom,
more and more paranoia.
We are halfway to North Korea.
- I don't think that Putin
is ever gonna back down
because he can't.
And I don't think
the Ukrainians are gonna
allow Russia
to take their territory
because how can they
justify that
after the atrocities
And so I imagine that this is
going to be an ongoing war.
- Every day,
I'm thinking about this.
It goes circles and circles.
I see no positive ending.
Families are ruined.
People are killed.
There will be no forgiveness
in any way.
It will be a point of hatred
for years and years.

- What we all feel is shame.
He is a tyrant.
But still, we are human.
And this is why
we feel profound guilt
for something
we did not commit
and we were not a part of.

I want to still be
proud to be Russian.
But at this moment in time,
it's impossible.
When we wake up, and we look
at the news on our phones,
we just want to see one news--
that he's not--no longer
at least the president
of Russia.