Before election, new documentary reveals lesser-known details about Putin
In a new online documentary, Russian President Vladimir Putin admits to ordering the downing of a passenger plane that he suspected wanted to bomb the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics opening. However, it was a hoax scare and the plane wasn't gunned down. Released ahead of Russia's March 18 presidential election, the film has Putin talking about several relatively-unknown aspects of his life.
The plane in question was a Turkish Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800, flying from Kharkiv to Istanbul with 110 people on-board. In the film by reporter Andrey Kondrashov, Putin says on finding out that the captors were demanding landing in Sochi, he, as apprised by the security officials, ordered them to "act according to the plan," which was to shoot down the plane.
When asked if he would ever return Crimea to Ukraine, the Russian President told interviewer Kondrashov, "What are you talking about? Such circumstances do not exist and never will." Ever since Russia took over the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, the two nations have been warring. Last September, the UN accused Russia of committing indescribable "human rights violations" in Crimea.
Titled Putin, the two-hour documentary is available on Russian social media. Notably, Kondrashov, a major state television presenter, also serves as Putin's press secretary. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that all the information in film was accurate.
On things he cannot forgive, Putin says: "Betrayal," adding that he hasn't yet dealt with "serious events" that can qualify. Notably, Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old ex-Russian spy and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found comatose on a public bench in England's Salisbury on Sunday. Though investigations are still on, Russia's role in their poisoning is being suspected.
The film also reveals that Putin's paternal grandfather Spiridon Putin served as a cook for leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Remembering him as a highly regarded staff member, Putin says he "was a cook at Lenin's and later at Stalin's, at one of the dachas in the Moscow area." Spiridon Putin served the Soviet establishment up until he died in 1965 aged 86.