LEONID BERSHIDSKY: What a television series tells us about Putin's Russia
'Unlike the U.S. sleeper agent series "The Americans," which is set in the Reagan era, "The Sleepers" is very much about the present'
While the U.S. gets accustomed to Russia's potential to make or break its presidential candidates, Russia is living in a dreamlike haze of its own. A good way to understand it is through a television series about U.S. meddling in Russia that recently hit the country's main state-owned channel.The series (now available on YouTube, but only in Russian) is called "The Sleepers." The eight-part first season is addictive viewing to anyone who has watched Moscow elites up close during the Vladimir Putin era. It has characters based on Putin's top political opponent Alexei Navalny, "system liberals" in the government, muckracking journalists, a troll factory owner, even former U.S. ambassador Michael McFaul (who managed to express delight at the portrayal). The recognition effect is uncanny -- and almost everyone in this Moscow society who doesn't work for Russia's domestic intelligence service, known as the FSB, is either corrupted by U.S. influence or is a Central Intelligence Agency age...
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