Olliver Stone, true to his past performances, appeared at the Cannes Film Festival this week, denouncing his colleagues as creatures of their respective political regimes. His own credentials of opposition to his government – and the politics of most of his American public – were enhanced as he came bearing his own new film on Edward Snowden, the CIA defector who has taken refuge in Moscow. Stone went on a not unusual tirade with a fiery denunciation of both presumptive candidates for president, and then even took a swipe at his former favorite politician Barrack Obama, saying “I don’t know that he’s a man of conviction.”
Stone’s Tinseltown is not only a geographic location in Southern California, but it is a state of mind by a group of gifted artists who often traffic not only in bizarre interpretations of reality but pure fiction. No one excels more at it than Olliver Stone. If something is conventional wisdom, no matter its history and proven validity, Stone takes exception to it. That leads him into strange interpretations of modern life, even if they are often dramatically talented and effective cinema.
One of Stone’s latest flirtations with reality is a series of interpretations of modern Russian history. It reminds us all too bitterly of a time when many of Hollywood’s favorite stars admired and adopted the international Communist interpretation of life and events then flowing out of Moscow. When they came under censure in Washington, they often denied their official political agenda or took the way out through the guarantee of American civil liberties which most denied existed.
Stone appears now convinced that Vladimir Putin, the ruthless authoritarian leader of the Russian Federation, is somehow a misunderstood figure in American eyes. Stone is prepared to forgive Putin’s steady erosion of the Russian civil society. But he goes further to suggest that the widely accepted belief that Moscow’s seizure of the Crimea was an instance of pure international aggression. And the Russians’ continued infiltration and attempt to overthrow the Ukrainian regime in its eastern provinces is really an American plot.
As the old saying goes, Stone certainly has a right to his own opinion of these and other political matters, but he does not have a right to his own facts. For example, Stone has become an ardent supporter of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych And he was reportedly working on a so-called documentary that will tell what he calls “the dirty story” of Yanukovych’a overthrow in what he sees as a “coup” organized with the help of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency. Stone reported he had spent hours interviewing Yanukovych in Moscow for the project, in addition to digging up several [Russian?] “police officials,” all of whom believe “foreign elements” were responsible for the violent Maidan protests in Kiev that culminated in last February’s overthrow of the Russia-backed president.
The pitch of this and other such scenarios is not exactly a new one. Stone has attributed prowess to the CIA for any number of revolutions and overthrows of regimes, more than even some of its most stalwart supporters might wish it actually had had the ability to pull off. Not the least of his plots is one which has a group of American opponents of John J. Kennedy plotting his assassination with the help of the CIA.
The Ukrainian plot’s plot which Stone has peddled is that the overthrow of an ugly, oppressive and corrupt and intensely unpopular Ukrainian regime was really the work of foreign agents, notably, of course those of the CIA. “The Maidan Revolution” which has become the envy and a potential model for many of the world’s oppressed peoples, is for him just another of those bad American-led adventures which have dominated the post-World War II era, whether in Chile or elsewhere. Stone appears to accept the Russian government’s suggestions that the regime change was a “color revolution” funded by foreign governments, notably the U.S., and Putin’s publicly expressed concern that something like it might come to his own authoritarian regime.
Stone has found support in the most obvious place. He has become a great admirer of Putin after the two met in Moscow last fall. Putin, Stone has said, “represents a different point of view that Americans don’t want to hear”. That seems more than an understatement of what is a rather well known geopolitical fact, but apparently news to anyone north of Hollywood Boulevard.