Russia’s NTV television said on Friday it has moved a German documentary that portrays the “human side” of Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin to a slot after presidential elections set for March 4.
The film "I, Putin. Portrait" was initially scheduled to be shown in the night segment on NTV television on Friday, only a few hours before Russia goes into “election silence,” a day prior to Sunday's presidential elections when any form of election propaganda is prohibited.
“The original timing of the documentary a few hours before the 'period of silence' sparked criticism from the Central Election Commission and presidential candidates, who said that it would violate election campaign rules,” NTV's press service said in a statement.
“In response to criticism, the company's leadership decided to postpone the airing of the film until after the election,” the statement said.
According to Der Spiegel, the documentary, directed by award-winning German filmmaker Hubert Seipel, tends to portray Putin as “a lonely, aging and surprisingly likeable man.”
“The documentary itself is a departure from the official images we are all too familiar with. Instead, it offers a look behind the scenes of power and addresses the question of what exactly it is like to be Vladimir Putin,” Der Spiegel said.
It took Seipel over two years to convince Putin to accept his idea of the documentary, but in the end the Russian prime minister granted unprecedented access to the foreign filmmaker, “giving interviews in which nothing was off-limits except Putin's private life.
The documentary premiered in February on German television.