Oliver Stone Claims Putin May Have Used Him To Send U.S. A Message

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Oliver Stone for series called "The Putin Interviews." Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool/Reuters

U.S. director Oliver Stone admitted "perhaps" his interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin was used by the leader to send a message to the West.

Stone dismissed the possibility he has unwittingly acted as a tool of Russian propaganda through the film, which focused on showing Putin's views outside a usually critical Western context. Speaking to the BBC about Putin, Stone said "perhaps he is" seeking to send a message to the West but doubted it was an untruthful one.

"It is certainly an elaborate ruse, but he knows that I am not going to change American policy but what I'd like to do is contribute to a consciousness of what he's saying," Stone said.

"I hope it would lead to a serious, interesting discussion about world affairs, particularly U.S. and Russia," Stone said. "He lays out a world we don't know."

The series of interviews that frame the documentary revolve around Putin giving Stone a number of tours in opulent settings, as Putin reiterates the attitudes propagated regularly via Russia's vast state media environment, spanning Russian foreign and domestic policy. The pair share a few laughs, while Putin gives some more informal insight into his mindset, making a joke about bad days and women's periods - neither of which he claims to experience.

Stone's interview style breaks from the more combative stance many take with politicians and instead lightly and amicably raises critical points in the form of media reports for Putin to smilingly bat away. Asked if he considers the danger that Putin, a potentially untrustworthy narrator of the Russian government's actions and intentions, could be using Stone's fascination as "a tool of propaganda," the director dismisses it.

"If I was then, you know, it is certainly an adventure but I don't buy those spy wars," Stone said. "You know, the English are great at inventing James Bond sort of scenarios. I didn't see him as Doctor No. He is a very rational man."

The filmmaker, whose camera close ups and dutch angles repeatedly flaunt close access and promise unique insight and tense conversation, said he found himself largely agreeing with Putin.

Stone said "absolutely believed" Putin that the U.S. senate and intelligence community's belief Russia interfered in the presidential election was "all smoke and no fire."

In a rare turn for Stone's career, he sided with a U.S. president on an ongoing White House controversy, saying he "definitely" believed President Donald Trump was right to dismiss ongoing Russia controversies as a fabrication.

When asked if he felt Putin genuinely wants a good relationship with the West, Stone was equally adamant. "Absolutely, there's just no doubt in my mind."

"He consistently referred to the United States as 'our partner'," Stone noted. "I never heard a bad word."

"So I have to wonder where is the threat that we talk about, that NATO are commanders perhaps exaggerating this to make sure the alliance stays together," he said.