Tango With Putin
This article expands on my brief reference to “Tango With Putin” mentioned in my article “Anti-Russia propaganda in the ‘impartial’ British mainstream media”, in The Media section.
The anti-Putin film documentary “Tango with Putin” has an intriguing background with significant Israeli/Jewish connections and even a connection to Putin’s longtime political ally, DMITRY MEDVEDEV.
“Tango With Putin” was the BBC’s shorter version of the film “F@ck this Job” (the @ is intentional), first shown in April 2021 at Russia’s leading ‘independent’ documentary film festival: “ArtDocFest”, which had been founded by the Film Director VITALY MANSKY, who was Jewish, born in Ukraine, and anti-Putin. Although he would become a Russian ‘outsider’ and in ‘exile’, Mansky had originally been an ‘insider’ when Putin first became President back in 2000. Back then, Mansky worked at the state-controlled television channel, RUSSIA 1, as head of documentaries, thereby giving him access to many high-profile politicians. Mansky was commissioned to shoot a PR film for Putin, as well as biographical movies of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, during the country’s transition at the turn of the century. Mansky would later turn his film footage into a feature length profile of Putin in 2018: “Putin’s Witnesses”.
Bizarrely, Mansky was allowed by the North Korean government to film and direct a positive documentary on life in North Korea, but only if it was scripted by the government, called “Under the Sun” (2015). However, he subverted the government’s intent of the film by showing the Koreans behaving like robots. Strangely, the government still approved the draft version of the film. Had they been infiltrated by Western influence? They did protest, however, when they saw the finished version that contained unapproved footage.
“F@ck This Job” had subsequent screenings abroad in 2021 at film festivals in Poland, USA, etc. The American screening occurred at the New York based “DOC NYC”, America’s largest documentary film festival, which was founded by the Jewish filmmaker and producer RAPHAELA NEIHAUSEN.
Coincidentally or not, the British premiere of “F@ck this Job” at cinemas was on the same day as the Russian invasion of Ukraine – February 24th. A couple of days earlier there was a British review of the film in “The Guardian”. Click below for the article.
So, who made this documentary, and why?
A photograph of a glamorous, alluring ‘party girl’ wearing a pink shoulderless top and no bra (you can see 2 small bumps) is the centerpiece of the official advert for the film, which says about her:
“Natasha, 35, is a newly rich, successful woman looking for fame, reputation, and the realization of her dreams. She decides to launch an independent TV station in Putin’s Russia. Natasha hires oppositional reporters and minorities and her “baby” quickly becomes the lone island of political and sexual freedom. Dozhd TV (also known as TV Rain) is the only independent news TV station that has survived Putin’s rule. Back then, this woman couldn’t have known she would fight on the frontlines of the war between Truth and Propaganda and lose all her money. She did not think she would become a ‘foreign agent’ in her own country.”
Natasha, aka NATALYA (the names are interchangeable), said that her TV channel (DOZHD, which is Russian for “rain”) was originally meant to be an optimistic ‘Western style’ “…cultural, intellectual, lifestyle channel…” so it seems to me a bit suspicious that it quickly took on a new political mission: to broadcast the events unfolding in Putin’s Russia ignored by its’ state-run channels. Also, how did DOZHD (aka “TV Rain”) remain a thorn in Putin’s side for so long? It was eventually shut down at the start of the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Showbusiness and Politics have overlapped many times before, e.g., American Presidents Reagan (a movie actor) and Trump (reality TV star); Ukrainian President Zelensky (actor and comedian). Three standup comedians hosted the not-very-impartial British satirical TV show “The Last Leg” (shown on Channel 4, a public service broadcaster), which had declared Putin to be their ‘dick of the year’ in 2013. “The Last Leg” began as a popular comedic commentary on the 2012 Paralympics, pondering over the highlights and discussing some taboos related to disability.
Zelensky began his career studying law at university, then moved into comedy, as you do. He co-created a TV production company that would produce the suspiciously prescient TV political satire that he starred in: “Servant of the People”, in which he played an everyman who unwittingly becomes President of Ukraine. His TV production company, KVARTAL 95 STUDIO, seeded the political party that would get him elected for real as President. His former university student friend IVAN BAKANOV was a long-time political ally who led Zelensky’s political party before becoming the head of the Security Service of Ukraine.
Back to Natasha, who is NATASHA SINDEYEVA (or Sindeeva), once a fixture in Russian style magazines and a “dancing queen” of Moscow’s elite party circuit. Early in her career, well before Putin’s Presidency, she established contacts with future key figures in the Russian media market when she was the personal assistant of an influential Russian socialite and show business promoter, radio host and video producer: PAVEL VASHCHEKIN. Sindeyeva knew SERGEI KOZHEVNIKOV, the founder of the RUSSIAN MEDIA GROUP, who had previously co-founded a radio station with a member of the Russian FEDERATION COUNCIL – VITALY BOGDANOV.
Sindeyeva was recruited by her first husband DMITRY SAVITSKY to create what would become a successful radio station: SILVER RAIN.
Sindeyeva’s third husband was a wealthy Russian banker, ALEXANDER VINOKUROV (not to be confused with his namesake who was CEO of A1), whom she first met in 2005 – so we are told – at a football match at the famous CHELSEA FC, then owned by the famous Jewish-Russian billionaire, ROMAN ABRAMOVICH, who would be one of the oligarchs sanctioned by the UK government over the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich had been a Kremlin insider ever since the days of President Yeltsin when he moved into an apartment inside the Kremlin at the invitation of the Yeltsin family. Abramovich became one of Putin’s closest confidants, allegedly, though he denied this.
Vinokurov invested in Dozhd and invested in – along with Natasha – the Russian online magazine “Republic”, which had been founded by Vinokurov’s ex-banking colleague, LEONID BERSHIDSKY, a Jewish anti-Putin journalist with significant ‘Western’ connections. Although born in Moscow, Bershidsky worked at American media outlets. Bershidsky, during the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, worked as a columnist for the New York based news agency BLOOMBERG NEWS. Bershidsky was the founding editor-in-chief of Russia’s top business daily, VEDOMOSTI, an anti-Putin project created by Western media outlets such as the FINANCIAL TIMES (British) and the WALL STREET JOURNAL (American). Bershidsky was the first publisher of the Russian edition of FORBES magazine (American).
Dozhd was founded in 2008, the same year that Putin’s Presidency ended, succeeded by his longtime ally DMITRY MEDVEDEV who installed Putin as Prime Minister. This surprised some observers because Medvedev’s public stance was more Liberal, more Western; a ‘moderniser’, but to me it’s not a surprise because the duo were 2 sides of the same coin; a ‘good cop – bad cop’ relationship. Medvedev seemingly boosted his ‘moderniser’ credentials by officially visiting Dozhd in 2011, shown around their Moscow studio by Natasha. The visit would contribute to Dozhd’s success. However, the following year (2012) the duo reversed roles when Putin became President again and Medvedev became Prime Minister, and Putin was not a fan of Dozhd.
Natasha said that Medvedev’s visit had been arranged via her friend, Medvedev’s press secretary NATALYA TIMAKOVA, who previously had served Putin as his First Deputy Press Attache and as Head of the Presidential Press and Information Office. Timakova worked at the influential ‘Western’-style Russian newspaper KOMMERSANT, as did the Dozhd founding editor-in-chief, MIKHAIL ZYGAR.
Kommersant had wealthy owners with Putin connections, e.g., BORIS BEREZOVSKY, an intimate of Yeltsin. Berezovsky had originally backed Putin’s rise to the Presidency, but quickly came to regret that support when Putin started cracking down on rich oligarchs. In 2006, Berezovsky sold Kommersant to his rich Jewish-Georgian business partner, BADRI PATARKATSISHVILI, who quickly sold Kommersant to one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, ALISHER USMANOV, considered to be pro-Putin and who would be sanctioned by the European Union and the US government in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine; allegedly one of Putin’s favorite oligarchs. Usmanov worked with Medvedev at Russia’s state-owned gas company GAZPROM.
Usmanov had considerable investments in Facebook and Twitter thanks to his collaboration with the Jewish Russian entrepreneur YURI MILNER, described as one of the world’s most influential Information Technology investors. Milner gained Israeli citizenship. Milner would team up with Facebook co-founder MARK ZUCKERBERG (Jewish) when Zuckerberg and Milner and others co-founded the prize-giving organisation, BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE, and were on the board of its’ offshoot organisation, BREAKTHROUGH INITIATIVES. Also involved were the Jewish Russian co-founder of GOOGLE, SERGEY BRIN, and Brin’s wife ANNE WOJCICKI (Jewish mother). Wojcicki’s sister SUSAN was the CEO of YOUTUBE.
Returning to the subject of Dozhd; it’s founding editor, the aforementioned MIKHAIL ZYGAR, worked at the Russian version of the American magazine “Newsweek” as its’ political editor. Zygar was a TED Speaker and a TED Fellow. Zygar authored a bestseller in Russia about Putin’s inner circle, “All the Kremlin’s Men”, written after he obtained rare access to Kremlin insiders.
Another Dozhd editor-in-chief was ROMAN BADANIN, who was editor-in-chief of the Russian version of the American magazine “Forbes”. Badanin was a researcher at the ‘independent’ Russian think tank, THE GORBACHEV FOUNDATION, set up by the former Russian President and ‘moderniser’ MIKHAIL GORBACHEV.
Another founding owner of Dozhd (albeit with a small holding) was the Jewish lady who would direct “F@ck This Job” and be one of its’ co-producers: VERA KRICHEVSKAYA, yet another Jewish Russian critic of Putin. Krichevskaya’s film production company for “F@ck this Job”, SIX DAYS FILMS, was based in London and involved a Russian man whom I have struggled to identify, because the photo of him on the CINANDO film networking website (which I don’t belong to; it costs too much) is that of a Russian tycoon with a similar name. The name listed is ALEXEY LEONID REZNIKOVICH, but Cinando’s photo is that of someone with a different middle name, ALEXEY MIKHAYLOVITCH REZNIKOVICH, a Russian business tycoon. Here’s the Cinando listing:
Are they one and the same man, or relatives? It’s possible because:
1) the tycoon had a son called LEONID (the middle name of the other Reznikovich).
2) the tycoon lived in London, home of Six Days Films.
3) the tycoon and his son Leonid were trustees of a London-based charitable foundation (CASE) supporting initiatives in culture and the arts.
4) the tycoon’s Ukrainian father, MIKHAIL REZNIKOVICH, was an artistic director of a National Theatre in Kiev, Ukraine.
5) the tycoon produced a Russian feature film, “Cold Tango” (note the word TANGO, as in “Tango with Putin”), written and directed by his father-in-law, the Oscar-nominated director PAVEL CHUKRAY. Chukray had been invited by legendary Jewish film director STEVEN SPIELBERG to participate in his project: “Broken Silence” (2002), an international documentary mini-series about the holocaust. Chukray wrote/directed the appropriately named film, “A Driver for Vera” (did he get the name from Vera Krichevskaya?)
6) the tycoon’s wife, ANASTASIA (daughter of Chukray and an actress and TV presenter) teamed up with a Dozhd TV host, FILIPP DZYADKO, when she funded the creation of Dzyadko’s internet education platform, ARZAMAS, which was sponsored/partnered by the UK government-backed BRITISH COUNCIL, of which the latter was criticised for being a ‘soft power’ extension of UK foreign policy, as well as a tool for propaganda. In their Dozhd TV show, Dzyadko and his 2 brothers became three of the most recognizable faces of Moscow’s liberal opposition to Putin.
Dzyadko spoke as an ‘expert’ on Russia at a Summer Symposium at an American graduate school in 2019 alongside other ‘experts’ such as JON FINER who worked at the influential American think tank – the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) – as an adjunct senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy. Previously, Finer had been at the U.S. Department of State as the chief of staff and director of policy planning. The aforementioned graduate school is The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, which hosts The Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Dzyadko spoke again at the Symposium in 2021 – albeit online, due to the ‘pandemic’ – also attended by the CFR President RICHARD HAASS who spoke at the symposium’s Opening Plenary Panel: The World, 2021. Haass was a prominent voice on American foreign policy, having spent many years at the US Government. Haass was one of numerous Jewish people occupying top jobs at the CFR. Don’t shoot the messenger!
If I’m right about the tycoon ALEXEY MIKHAYLOVITCH REZNIKOVICH being an investor in Six Days Films, this adds a bit of spice. Reznikovich lived in Ukraine, where he did his military service. He attended the WEF’s Davos Summit in 2013. He was a Partner in MCKINSEY & CO. He chaired the Russian telecoms company VIMPELCOM (later called VEON), co-founded by a Jewish Russian, DMITRY ZIMIN, whose ZIMIN FOUNDATION set up research institutes in Israel.
Veon’s Jewish Russian billionaire board member, MIKHAIL FRIDMAN (Ukraine born), resigned in 2022 after being sanctioned by the Council of Europe because of his alleged ties to Putin, though he denied this. He also resigned from another company that employed Reznikovich: LetterOne, a subsidiary of ALFA, where Reznikovich also served (several roles). Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest privately owned investment groups, was co-founded by Fridman, who was a CFR member (on its’ International Advisory Board). Fridman donated much money to Jewish charities.
In London, Reznikovich served at a LetterOne subsidiary: L1 Technology, as its’ Managing Director. Other notable LetterOne employees included the British Petroleum CEO, JOHN BROWNE (Baron Browne), and the highly connected ex-Swedish PM CARL BILDT (Trilateral Commission member) who was an adviser to Ukraine’s President (not Zelensky).
Back to Dozhd co-owner Vera Krichevskaya. She collaborated with the Jewish Dozhd TV presenter, MIKHAIL FISHMAN, on the film documentary “The Man Who Was Too Free”. Fishman worked for several ‘Western’ media outlets in Russia, such as Kommersant; “Newsweek” (Russian version); “The Moscow Times” (editor-in-chief).
Vera moved to London in 2014, just after Russia annexed Crimea (Ukraine).
“F@ck This Job” had been scheduled for its’ Russian cinema premiere in Moscow on March 2nd 2022, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine a week earlier resulted in its’ cancellation nationwide and the shutdown of Dozhd. Thereafter, Vera tried to resume operations in Tel Aviv in Israel.
Other “F@ck This Job” producers included the UK based ROAST BEEF PRODUCTIONS, whose 2 heads were: –
- MIKE LERNER – award winning, Oscar-Nominated Producer; made films for the BBC, Channel 4, BFI (British Film Institute), HBO, PBS, Discovery Channel.
- MARTIN HERRING – worked with the BBC, Channel Four and Discovery.
“F@ck This Job” executive producer JESS SEARCH worked at Channel Four as a Commissioning Editor in the documentaries department. Jess Search co-founded and was Chief Executive of a Channel 4-funded creation: DOC SOCIETY, Britain’s first documentary foundation, whose partners/supporters have included the BBC, Google, FORD FOUNDATION, Open Society (George Soros), BFI (British Film Institute), BRITISH COUNCIL, SKOLL FOUNDATION. The last one in the list, the Skoll Foundation (created by the Jewish President of eBay, JEFF SKOLL), is relevant here because Jess Search acted as an interviewer/moderator for the annual SKOLL WORLD FORUM on Social Entrepreneurship, which usually took place in Oxford. For the 2021 Skoll World Forum, Jess Search’s interview with AUDREY TANG was preceded by Jess walking through Oxford whilst wearing a mask (a ‘pandemic’ year).
Jess was Chair of Trustees of IPPR, an influential UK centre-left ‘think tank’.
Jess co-founded SHOOTING PEOPLE, an international social network for independent filmmakers. Her fellow co-founder CATH LE COUTEUR (a BBC employee at BBC Imagineering) attended a Rockefeller Foundation residency programme in 2012 at its’ Bellagio Centre at Lake Como, Italy.
Jess Search’s fellow Doc Society employee, SANDRA WHIPHAM (its’ Director) was another “F@ck This Job” executive producer.
A Doc Society Non-executive board member, MANDY CHANG, headed the BBC’s “Storyville” documentary features strand, which would later air the BBC’s shorter version of “F@ck This Job”: “Tango With Putin: Storyville”, but under a different head, PHILIPPA KOWARSKY.
Would you be surprised if I said that Philippa Kowarsky was from Israel? Don’t shoot the messenger!
Kowarsky announced the documentary a month before the Russian invasion, in January 2022, one of 8 Storyville documentaries to be shown by the BBC in 2022.
Kowarsky co-founded the Israeli film firm CINEPHIL (based in Tel Aviv).
Other anti-Russia documentaries by Storyville aired in March 2022:
1) “The Distant Barking of Dogs”, about the impact of a previous conflict in Ukraine, in 2014, when pro-Russian separatists fought government forces in the Donbas region of Ukraine. “The Distant Barking of Dogs” was broadcast on BBC4 on March 23rd 2022, earlier than had been originally scheduled in order to make it more topical (according to the BBC’s “Radio Times”).
2) “The Earth is Blue as an Orange” (aired on BBC4 on March 30th 2022), about a family living under siege in the Donbas region of Ukraine in the late 2010s. Intriguingly, the documentary’s Ukrainian director, IRYNA TSILYK, refused an award in 2020 from President Zelensky, claiming that she was “just starting my career in film directing” and that she considered it “inappropriate to accept such awards with a light heart in times of uncertainty, when many of my colleagues from the film community were offended by the unjust actions of the current government.”