How did a poor boy from a tiny flat in St Petersburg become one of the world’s most powerful leaders?
Admired by Trump and feared by his rivals, on the eve of his almost certain re-election as president of Russia, The New Tsar reveals the story of Vladimir Putin’s extraordinary rise to power – from a lowly KGB colonel to Boris Yeltsin’s right-hand man and ultimately his successor.
There are revelations from Putin’s inner circle at the Kremlin, including former confidante Sergei Pugachev, who helped Putin to power before falling from favour. Chess master Gary Kasparov recounts his failed attempt to stand against him and oligarch Mikhail Khordokovsky, who was jailed and stripped of his wealth, speaks of the consequences of experiencing the wrath of Putin.
The programme also hears from former home secretary Jack Straw, who recalls Putin’s first encounter with Tony Blair – the leader Putin apparently attempted to model himself on and Straw wryly observes that the two are ‘very similar’. Former foreign secretary William Hagueentertained Putin during the London 2012 Olympic Games and bonded over a shared love of judo – but later found himself unable to influence the decision made to invade Crimea.