As Russia’s president wages war on Ukraine, revisit FRONTLINE’S in-depth reporting, March 15 at 9 & 10 pm

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“Putin’s Road to War”
Tuesday, March 15 at 9:00 pm

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, it has met with fierce resistance from Ukrainians, turned a million people into refugees, killed an unknown number of others, prompted unprecedented sanctions, sparked an International Criminal Court investigation into potential war crimes, and revived fears of nuclear war.

Close up on face of Russian president PutinWhat brought Putin — and the world — to this point?

For years, FRONTLINE has been reporting on Putin’s path to power and how he has wielded it, as well as on Russia and Ukraine’s fraught relationship. As Putin wages war on Ukraine, revisit our earlier coverage, below, to explore Putin’s rise and motivations, his history and grievances with the West, and events that presaged this moment. And stay tuned for the upcoming FRONTLINE documentary Putin’s Road to War, premiering at 9 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, March 15.


“Putin’s Way”
Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00 pm

In this documentary with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, FRONTLINE traced Putin’s journey from unemployed spy to modern-day czar, investigating accusations of criminality and corruption that surrounded his ascent. The film examined how Putin accumulated wealth and power, leading to autocratic rule and the specter of a new Cold War. Key players — from a senior police officer who wanted to arrest Putin on corruption charges, to an investigator looking into a series of deadly apartment bombings in 1999 — shed light on unsettled questions about Putin’s rise and reign. “Instead of seeing Russia as a democracy in the process of failing, we should see it as an authoritarian system in the process of succeeding,” Putin’s Kleptocracy author Karen Dawisha, who died in 2018, told FRONTLINE.
Syrian conflict

black and white of russian president vladimir putinAccording to Nataliya Gevorkyan, who was commissioned to write a 2000 biography of Putin in the lead-up to his first term as president, Putin was fond of a story about a rat he encountered in the one-room apartment he shared with his parents. “‘I learned very good. I learned forever: Don’t try to push somebody into the corner. They will jump. Because when you don’t have what to lose, you just — you attack,’” Gevorkyan recalled Putin saying. “I think it’s absolutely true about himself. When he’s in a corner, that’s why he’s dangerous. He can jump. He will not say, ‘OK, let’s talk.’ He will jump.”