Last night I watched the fourth and final segment in Oliver Stone‘s interviews with Russian president Vladmir Putin. Stone asked and asked about Russian hackings of the 2016 U.S. election, which of course Putin denied any involvement with. Like any gifted politician, the 64 year-old ruler is very good at deflection and evasion. And yet two weeks ago he acknowledged that Russian “patriotic hackers” may have cyber-meddled on some level. So there’s that.
Did I expect Putin to admit that he’s an iron-fisted authoritarian whose hand is obviously strengthened with other like-minded strongmen (like Orange Orangutan) in power around the globe? That he didn’t want Hillary Clinton to beat Donald Trump? That he has a copy of the pee-pee tape in his private safe? Of course not.
Stone’s questioning of Putin struck me as direct but collegial — i.e., not overly friendly but respectful, appropriately non-aggressive. I’ll tell you one thing. Say what you will about Putin but he’s a much smarter, wiser, better educated fellow than Trump. And certainly more emotionally mature. Putin may be a brutalist and a murderer of his enemies, but he’s no dummy. Putin is a player who knows how to behave; Trump is an animal.