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Russia
The Russian Spring - Russia
Killing the Messenger - Russia
Putin's Hidden War - Chechnya
Putin's Media War - Russia
Inside Rebel Territory - Chechnya
Being Nice to Mr Putin - Chechnya
Blood and Belonging - Chechnya
Conscripts for Chechnya - Russia
Life In The Freezer - Russia
The Kursk Cover Up - Russia
Arctic Survival - Russia
No Country For Old Men - Russia
Deadly Secret - Russia
Killing Boys - Russia
Cheated of Childhood - Russia
Russia - Return of the Cossacks
Hate Crimes - Russia
Drinking Away the Pain - Russia
Holy War - Russia
A Right to be Gay - Russia
Putin's People - Russia

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Russia: A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby »

Description

Russia

From Wikipedia

Russia is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also has maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Russia is also the world's ninth most populous nation with 143 million people as of 2012. Extending across the whole of northern Asia, Russia spans nine time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources and is the largest producer of oil and natural gas globally. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves. Its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's liquid fresh water, 20% in Lake Baikal alone.




The Russian Spring - Russia
Over the last month thousands of Russian people have protested against the lack of free elections in their so-called post-communist democracy: "If we yell loud enough, Putin will hear us." However, not all share this optimism. Boris Nemsov of the People's Freedom Party admits, "the opposition has no chance to be registered" and, with the middle classes now active in an unyielding political arena, he fears the peace will not last: "our revolutions are bloody, brown and red".
January 2012

Killing the Messenger - Russia
Over the past decade, dozens of journalists have been murdered in Russia and many more have been beaten and mutilated. Yet there have been few convictions for any of the attacks and there has been a historical nervousness of candid political expression. "The fault lies not with specific people. It's the whole atmosphere", says journalist Oleg Kashin. He believes that one man is ultimately responsible, Vladimir Putin. Many are afraid that his hold over the media threatens a bleak future for those whose job it is to question political authority. For the opposition, there is only one answer: "Russia must be free of Putin!" As his popularity wanes, is free speech around the corner?

A Film By ABC Australia
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures
March 2011

Putin's Hidden War - Chechnya
May 2004
For Chechen civilians, Russia's 'clean-up' operations amounts to little more than genocide. Even Russian soldiers condemn their actions in Chechnya.

When Ivan volunteered to fight in the second Chechen war, he had scant understanding of what he would experience. Even now, he remains deeply troubled by his time there. Lack of supplies and widespread alcoholism fuelled acts of brutality. His ill equipped unit had little choice but to rob civilians. "We had to feed ourselves. Of course we turned to looting. Of course we'd kill," he says. He believes the Chechens are being forced into acts of terrorism out of desperation and revenge. "We'd come in the house and kill five people -- one survives, they have nothing to live for and it becomes blood for blood." 60 year old Sowdat has seen two of her children killed by the Russians. Another two have disappeared without a trace. "It's genocide and it's conducted openly," states Rusen Badalov, of the Chechen Salvation Committee. Despite Putin's assurance to the contrary, Chechens believe that a bloody war is being waged against them. Daily 'disappearances' in every village tell the same story. It seems that Russia's campaign to impose order is creating the terrorism they mean to crush.
Produced by SBS/Dateline
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Putin's Media War - Russia
March 2005
Putin's censorship of the media has led to the re-emergence of Soviet style propaganda in Russia. Journalists telling the truth are literally risking their lives.
"I've written my will. I'm getting my children used to the idea that at any moment they might be left without me," states journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Her reports from Chechnya have constantly contradicted the official line, making her deeply unpopular with the Kremlin. "Since Vladimir Putin became President, propaganda and censorship have re-emerged," complains editor Oleg Panfilov. During the Beslan siege, Russian networks were banned from mentioning the hostage takers demands and ordered to claim they were international terrorists not Chechen rebels. In the wake of Beslan, even tighter controls are planned. The FSB are lobbying for a complete ban on reporting terrorist acts. "Then, if people are killed, there'd be no impact, no stress, no outcome favourable to the terrorists," explains Pavel Pozhigaylo, Deputy Head of the Information Policy Committee.

Produced by SBS/Dateline
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Inside Rebel Territory - Chechnya
12 June 2000
How will the killing of Aslan Maskhadov affect fighting in Chechnya? As images of Maskhadov's body circulate, we bring back the last ever interview Maskhadov recorded.

Being Nice to Mr Putin - Chechnya
10 October 2001
With moves to increase Russian influence within Nato it seems that Chechen suffering will go virtually unchallenged by Western governments. What seems important is that Russia is kept open for business.

Blood and Belonging - Chechnya
19 September 2000
In a refugee camp in Ingushetia a Chechen boy aged 13 is holding a kalashnikov. The children learning how to fire guns may soon grow up to use them against the Russians.

Conscripts for Chechnya - Russia
1 November 1999
Russian males find it hard to escape 2 years conscription in the shambolic army.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Life In The Freezer - Russia
19 March 2001
Russia's far-flung eastern outpost was once proud and thriving -- headquarters to a superpower's awesome Pacific fleet. Now it's a broken down and dismal Place, gripped by savage cold. Vladivostok has just suffered the worst winter in 50 years.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

The Kursk Cover Up - Russia
October 2002
Putin's insensitive treatment of the relatives of the Chechen hostages has provoked accusations that he learnt nothing from the tragedy of the Kursk. In light of these criticisms, we look back at the government's handling of the sinking of the Kursk and expose a series of state cover-ups that signed the death warrant for 118 sailors.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Arctic Survival - Russia
October 2004
Without whale meat, the people of Chukotka risk starvation. They're angry that the IWC will only let them hunt by traditional methods.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

No Country For Old Men - Russia
June 2008
In the depths of Siberia, amongst the ruins of a former Soviet military base lives a hidden community. Although hundreds of kilometres from civilization, people are volunteering to come and live here.

Eniseisk 15 was once a secret radar site that detected missiles launched from space but was dismantled after an arms agreement with America. Now it is being used to house disabled people long with elderly people who volunteer to receive free housing here from the state. Conditions are difficult though, with no employment opportunities for the young and no medical care for the elderly. Yet compared to surrounding villages "the housing here is comfortable. You don't have to chop wood, you don't need to heat the stove and the toilet is inside the flat," explains the local councilor. Maybe that explains the increase of people wanting to move to this desolate, remote village in Siberia.

Deadly Secret - Russia
February 2001 - In Russia, the toll of a terrible nuclear accident is only just emerging after years of official denial and cover-up.
The truth of what occurred at the Mayak nuclear weapons plant, at the foot of the Ural Mountains, is by any measure appalling. With radioactive pollution far in excess of Chernobyl, the countryside around Mayak, including the village of Muslyumova, has been poisoned. And the people who've been forced to stay there as guinea pigs for the Russian government are dying. But for a long time, they didn't know it. The accident and its staggering after-effects were kept hidden from the villagers - and from the rest of the world - until it was too late.

Killing Boys - Russia
A gritty and absorbing film about a street gang of Russian ten year olds that cleans cars, begs, steals and sometimes even murders.
On 23rd February 1994, ten year old Vlodya Jacobs and his gang killed and mutilated a 50 year old man. Police records show that the gang was involved in at least four other killings. This film began as an investigation of homeless children. It became a report on Vlodya, his family, his friends and the reasons why he has committed such grotesque crimes. Popular with the sellers at his local market and generous to other homeless children, it seems inconceivable that he should have beaten a man to death. Sitting in her dirty, ramshackle flat, Vlodya's mother denies that her sons are criminals. Leafing through a shabby photo album, she recalls the days when they had enough food. Now, she's surviving on an inadequate pension, having undergone psychiatric tests. Outside in a leafy park, her two eldest sons tell of the money they have stolen from a kiosk stall and admit to pickpocketing and beating up drunks. They describe how they "beat the shit out of one who wouldn't cough up." In this vast country who will take pity on the Killing Boys?

Cheated of Childhood - Russia
Feb 2002
Russia's metro stations have become home to a generation of street children, who survive by begging or prostitution.

At first sight, 11 year old Yuriy and his 13 year old friend Max look like normal, happy children. But after family problems forced them to leave home, they've been reduced to living on the streets. "For me, the most dangerous thing about living on the street is paedophiles," states Max. "I know a lot of people who have been abused." Despite this risk, both boys would rather remain homeless than return to their families. Max and Yuriy are just two of the millions of children thought to be living on the streets. Once homeless, many children turn to glue sniffing and become infected with HIV. The issue of street children is a relatively new problem for Russia. The collapse of communism triggered many family breakdowns, driving children as young as seven onto the streets. The fear is that if something is not done to help them now, it may be too late to save future generations.

Russia - Return of the Cossacks
Feburary 2006
In pre-revolutionary Russia, the Cossacks were the Tsars' most feared enforcers. Now, they've been re-enlisted as Protectors of the Motherland and are using their new powers to target minorities.

"If I face a tough situation, I simply let my horse loose on that person," states one Cossack. Keen to exploit their military skills, the Kremlin has granted Cossacks responsibility for law and order in certain districts. Using their official powers, they harass minorities like the Meskhetian Turks. "They come to our houses and beat people up", states one refugee. Turks claim the harassment is increasing and believe the orders are coming from above. But the Kremlin refutes any suggestion of state-sponsored persecution.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Hate Crimes - Russia
April 2007
St Petersburg has become the skinhead capital of Russia. Girls as young as nine have been attacked and murdered by ultra-nationalists, targeted simply because they aren't Russian.

Dmitri leads the extremist Slav's Union group. "You realise we are at war", he states. "We can have people ready and fully armed within an hour". Militia groups like his are blamed for a host of racist murders, including the stabbing of two little girls. But Dmitri believes these killings can be justified. "Who might those children become in the future --terrorists or enemies?" There's little sign the authorities doing anything to tackle the problem. Some MPs even claim the victims bring the attacks on themselves. As Alexander Prokhorenko from St Petersburg's City Government states; "These people come here without much respect for Russians".

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Drinking Away the Pain - Russia
Sept 2003
More and more Russians are turning to drink to help numb the pain of post-Soviet life.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Holy War - Russia
October 2002
Vladimir Putin has worked hard to create an image of an open, forward-thinking Russia. But the policy of religious discrimination currently being pursued by his government is more akin with the Tsarist regime of old than a new, modern Russian state.

Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

A Right to be Gay - Russia
Aug 1996
Until recently it was a crime to be gay in Russia.

Today, gays can revel until dawn in nightclubs teeming with lipstick drag queens and male dancers clad in silver pants. As the bass reverberates around the room, two doctors arrive from St Petersburg's most respected clinic. Igor reveals, "I feel free here, I can talk to other people, and at work I can't do that." Despite Yeltsin's reform, homosexuals live in fear of persecution. The communist concept of a superior Socialist man still engenders a deep seated revulsion against men who deviate from the norm. A homosexual human rights group breaks into its own clubhouse after it was illegally closed down by marauding police. Boys who were beaten up during the raid are too scared to complain in case their families are made to suffer. A group of friends sitting in the sunshine by the river discuss homosexuality. 21 year old Sergei proudly admits to gay bashing. They all agree that gays should not "show off in public". It is only in selective clubs that gays can flaunt their sexuality in safety. The fear is that even this limited freedom might be taken away.

A Film By Lighthouse Pacific (Mark Davis)
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Putin's People - Russia
Feb 2008
Profile fo Dmitri Medvedev, Putin's chosen successor.
The result of next month's Russian elections may be a forgone conclusion but a real power struggle is taking place. It's occurring not on the campaign trail but behind closed Kremlin doors.
In temperatures of -23°c, Mikhail Kasyanov, Russia's only independent Presidential candidate, is trying to rally support. Banned from holding meetings indoors, he's forced to deliver his speech on the street, where he's an easy target for Putin's fans. Putin's presidency may be coming to an end but his power and influence are not. His anointed successor, Dmitry Medvedev, is likely to appoint him Prime Minister. But by endorsing Medvedev, Putin has alienated the KGB and FSB stalwarts who backed his rise to power. Led by Igor Sechin, Deputy Chief of Staff, this faction is fighting back. "Mr Sechin is the only really dangerous enemy", states analyst Stanislav Belkovsky. "Medvedev will be doing his best to get rid of him". But it won't be an easy job. Sechin is seen as the second most powerful man in Russia. He has no loyalty to Medvedev, making him a potent political foe. But the majority of Russians are happy to back Putin's man. As one woman states; "Putin did a lot of good things. If Medvedev follows his way, he will be good too".

Produced by SBS/Dateline
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

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