Vladimir Putin began his career as a KGB spy, but when he became president he made himself a valued ally of the west. How did he do it? And what made Washington and London turn against him?
In this four-part series Putin’s top colleagues – and the western statesmen who eventually clashed with him – tell the inside story of one of the world’s most powerful men.
In this opening episode, George W Bush meets Putin in June 2001 and declares he looked him in the eye and ‘got a sense of his soul’. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice recall their discomfort. But Rice, the only Bush adviser in the private talks, reveals that, three months before 9/11, Putin gave Bush a prophetic warning about Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban. After 9/11, Putin describes how he convinced his shocked colleagues that Russia should align with the West. Sergei Ivanov, Russian’s defence minister, tells how the Taliban secretly offered to join forces with Russia against America.