Russian film explains Putin’s popularity

Generation P is a popular independent Russian film based on a bestselling novel. It was released in 2011 with 40,000 followers on its Facebook page, with English subtitles. It takes place in the 1990s when Yeltsin was president, with few women characters. Generation P refers to the “Big Boys” the oligarchs who control Russia behind the scenes with Mafia-like shootings. A character says, “Communism is out. The only idea left is money.” One of the characters reveals the resentment towards the US that “hates” Russians. He says Russians watch their films, ride in their cars, use English words, smoke their cigarettes, even eat their food (Pepsi and McDonalds). He wants to reclaim “the Russian spirit” and national pride, indicating why Putin later became so powerful. Others look to the West for hope. The hero is Babylen Tatarsky, who works in advertising. He gets involved in rigged elections and advertising so false he helps create a virtual politician shown on mass media, who looks like Putin, and gets elected president. He feels lost, turning to a Ouija board for guidance where he channels Che Guevara, tries cocaine and LSD, drinks vodka, prays to God, and tries a mantra given to him by a Buddhist friend. In the end of the film, virtual duplicates of him increasing his presence and power. Writer and director Victor Ginzburg explained, “I was interested in seeing the border between real and virtual in Babylen’s world gradually disappear, ultimately bringing the viewer to a place I hope they will recognize as the world we all live in today.”

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