Moscow 1996. Boris Yeltsin prepared to run for a second term as President of the Russian Federation. Polls were in the single digits.
A painful economic transition, war in Chechnya, and the rise of criminal groups have left the majority of Russians dissatisfied with Yeltsin… and willing to vote for the communist leader Gennady Zyuganov. Yeltsin nevertheless managed, against all expectations, to be re-elected with nearly 54% of the votes. How did that happen?
To win, Yeltsin embarked on a ruthless campaign with a colossal budget in which the Kremlin, the media, Russian businessmen and Western powers joined forces so that Russia would not "go back to the USSR ".
Between unlikely alliances and large-scale scams (openly admitted to here), the film by Madeleine Leroyer in collaboration with Tim B. Toidze (Khrushchev Does America) oscillates between film noir and Shakespearean tragicomedy.
Rare archives, animations and eye witness testimonies, in particular that of Tatyana Dyachenko, daughter and adviser of Yeltsin, or that of the former Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, or of the deposed oligarch Sergei Pugachev, oligarch Mikhail Fridman and the former President of the IMF, Michel Camdessus, take us behind the scenes of a crucial moment in history that sealed the fate of Russia and, by extension, that of the world.
* From those days, which now seem a long time ago ... the documentary admirably captures the singular frenzy and rigorously exposes power struggles, manipulations and financial arrangements.
(Etienne Bouche – Télérama (TT) 08/12/21)
* Madeleine Leroyer's documentary: Moscow 1996, Vote or Lose! is extraordinary in many ways! Who knew about the shenanigans that led to the re-election of Boris Yeltsin? If it weren't so pathetic, we'd be laughing about it ...
(Gérald Decoster – RTBF, 20/11/21)
Festivals and Awards:
2022: Received an "ETOILE DE LA SCAM" on the occasion of Sunny Side of the Doc (2022). SCAM is the French-speaking society of documentary authors.