Russia Vs The World – Channel 5

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What on earth was this rubbish?  I’d been looking forward to it, seeing as it promised to tell “the epic story of Russia and how a millennia [sic] of explosive drama ….” but it was just awful.

It started by jumping from Grand Prince Vladimir of Kievan Rus to Ivan The Terrible, and ignoring the five centuries in between.  Hey, let’s make a programme about “the epic story of England”, and jump from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth I.   And that was just the start.  A small sample of things which it totally failed to mention – the Mongol invasions, the Battle on the Neva, the Time of Troubles, the Schism, the Table of Ranks, the Pugachev Rebellion, the Napoleonic Wars, the Decembrists, the Crimean War, the liberation of the serfs.  It did however mention James Bond, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Rasputin, Vladimir Putin going scuba diving, Boris Yeltsin’s drinking habits and Roman Abramovich.

Then it concluded by saying that Russia had come full circle from Grand Prince Vladimir to Vladimir Putin.  Presumably apart from Vladimir Putin not being a Russian Orthodox saint, and Grand Prince Vladimir neither being interested in scuba diving nor having spies who went to watch Arsenal.

Seriously, Channel 5?  I thought you’d got your act together with history programmes, but what on earth was this?

I think it was just meant to be Cold War-esque propaganda making out that Russia is the Big Baddie.  I don’t want to see stuff like that.  We’re supposed to have moved on from those days, and I don’t want to see any sort of propaganda on British TV.  Out of two hours, about twenty minutes was spent on pre-revolutionary Russia.  Then even the Civil War was pretty much skipped over, and it was on to Stalin, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Chernobyl, the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin sitting on a tank, and then loads and loads about Vladimir Putin.

The argument seemed to be that Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great (apart from Vladimir and Nicholas II, every other monarch was completely ignored) were dictators (Catherine would not be impressed with that at all) who paved the way for Putin.  Well, that’s logical, isn’t it?  Three monarchs in 500 years.  You might as well say that Henry VIII, George IV and Victoria are the reason that Boris Johnson could do with losing a few pounds (on which score I sympathise with them).  You could look at any country’s history and pick three monarchs in 500 years, and claim that they somehow typify the country’s leadership.  Then it completely contradicted itself, by saying that it was actually the KGB in charge, not Putin.

Not impressed.  We don’t need this sort of programme on TV.  And, if you say you’re going to talk about a millennium of Russian history, even if you don’t seem to know that the correct word is “millennium” rather than “millennia”, then please, er, do so.

3 thoughts on “Russia Vs The World – Channel 5

  1. A great post! I have not seen this documentary, but I very much agree with you on everything you’ve said since I am not surprised at all. It seems like this documentary focused on everything that is considered “bad” and “evil” in the Russian history and left out everything that is good. Werther they like it not, Russia, as ANY other country in the world, also had its GOOD moments. It seems like there is an attitude on TV that if ANYONE says ANYTHING good about Russia they are considered to be “siding immediately with the present government” , which is just not true – because there were so many brave Russian heroes who fought Nazism fearlessly and sacrificed their lives in this struggle, there is this great great Russian literature and art, and poetry and culture. It is simply so wrong and biased and, frankly, disgusting to focus only on the “bad stuff – you are right, what country did not have some kind of bad stuff? Sorry for this rant, but I know exactly what you mean.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I am grateful someone is talking about it (and also not actually “afraid” to say what they think) and this “cherry-picking” seems very convenient nowadays. I guess, it “makes sense” now to focus on evil characters from Russian, rather on such people as Dmitri Mendeleev who invented the Periodic Table or Yuri Gagarin who was the first human in space.

        Liked by 1 person

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